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March 7, 2006 12:50 PM

Broken: Misleading political telemarketers

I got this voice mail today from a telemarketer who says that a congressman wants to "recognize you with a national leadership award," and would I contact his call cent-- uhh, his office, to get the details.

If by "national leadership award" you mean "invoice for a large political donation," wow! I really don't feel honored! In fact you wasted my time with a misleading spam message!

I try to steer away from politics on this site, so I'll give the caveat that, to me, this has nothing to do with his party; rather, it's this duplicitous style of fundraising - whatever party uses it - that is broken.

Download audio file (Quicktime .mov, 150kb)


I never really understood the purpose of the misleading spam. If it gets you to call under false pretenses, what makes them think you'd be in the mood to give them money after they just lied to you.

It's like this "magazine company" that frequently calls me saying I've "won a free subscription as a thank you for being a Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover Card holder. Do you still carry one of those?" I say no and hang up...I fell for that once and no matter how many times I say "Take me of your %$*# calling list!!!" they just keep calling every few months...

Posted by: SillyGirl at March 7, 2006 12:58 PM

_@_v - well if they offer to send dick cheney to hand you your award. RUUUUUUUNNNNNN!

Posted by: shesnailie_@_v at March 7, 2006 02:39 PM

You should post their phone number so we can overload their call center with dumb questions.

Posted by: Mikey at March 7, 2006 04:55 PM

They should've just said, "Please call this number to purchase your under-the-table political favors"? Can't imagine why they didn't.

Posted by: Ron Mexico at March 7, 2006 05:22 PM

To SillyGirl: assuming you're in the US, the National Do Not Call Registry is your friend.

I get "Opinion Surveys" from the Democratic Party in the mail. They always come with a donation form. Odd, that.

At the top of my piquing order, however, are the mail solicitations from mortgage brokers that attempt to look like tax refund or other government checks, communications from the current mortgage company, or just blind with no return address.

Someday, I'm going to go to the effort of filing a USPS Form 2150 or 1500 against some of these slimeballs.

Why they would think I'd do business with someone that just deliberately tried to deceive me into opening their trash mail is something I've never been able to figure.

Junk mail, junk phone calls, and junk FAXes. Definitely and irrevocably broken.

Posted by: Steve at March 7, 2006 07:38 PM

That is so monstrously sleazy. I feel dirty just having listened to that clip. [shudder]

Posted by: abcdario at March 7, 2006 08:31 PM

Silly Girl! You need to tell them to put you on their do not call list, not take you off their call list! The reason is that they will take you off the list, only to have you end up on the next one, because they don't keep those lists past the end of a campaign. The do not clal list, though, has to be kept.

...or you can put yourself on the national do not call list.

As for loaded political messages, I answered the phone one day to hear a recording saying that I should press 1 if I agreed with a carefully worded, possibly misleading statement. Press 1 if you think (insert a rewording of the statement). Press 1 if you would like Governor Pataki to do something about (insert another rewording of the statment). Press 1 if ....

Never did it offer any opportunity to choose other options, nor to get more information, so I hung up.

Posted by: Glenn Lasher at March 8, 2006 06:49 AM

For a second I thought she said Tom Riddle.

Posted by: Matt at March 8, 2006 09:11 AM

Telemarketers are broken. Politicians are broken. Leadership awards are broken.

Posted by: rockers at March 8, 2006 09:36 AM

I used to be a *choke* Telemarker */choke* for one of these political call centers, absolutely the worst job I ever had (worse than working at Walmart for a peon's wage). I didn't really know what I was getting into and was told the people I called were already expecting the phone call.

Ironically, most of the people that worked there would vote for the other party. We would call for dozens of campaigns, national and local. It's weird to call from Texas to tell someone in Nevada or California who would make the best Governor and that a small donation of $75 would go a long way to keep the other guy out of the position.

Our calls were constantly monitored and we would get in trouble if we didn't ask for a donation at least three times, regardless of how clearly a prospect would say "absolutely no way" or "did you not hear me when I said absolutely no way".

I only did this for two and a half months during a summer between college semesters, but I still hate the memory I have of ever working there.

As for avoiding these calls, I think the National Do Not Call List provides an exemption for surveys, charity, and political fundraising calls. If they call you, you must say "Put me on your do not call list." If you say, "don't call me again," they WILL call you again, and again, and again.

Oh, and by the way, Bob in Nevada, I have your name, address, and phone number, so if I'm ever passing through your hood, expect to wake up in the morning to find your car keyed and your mailbox smashed for calling my mother a ****.

Just kidding, but seriously, don't piss off the telemarketers because they know about you and you know nothing about them (I never used my real name on a call). Some of the other telemarketers were ex-cons and there really were no safeguards to keep "the wrong people" from calling you up. There was no real drug policy either, as long as you aren't high or drunk when you come to work (though I swear some of them were). Many of the callers were still in high school.

As for telemarketing, spam, and deceptive direct mail, I have become a personal advocate against this sort of thing, but as long as our society tolerates it and someone can make money with it, it will never end. Technology can help, but the scammers and spammers always stay one step ahead.

Posted by: Avocado at March 8, 2006 12:59 PM

dudes i am 12 and my dad got a national leadership award over the phone. And of course they want a donation and about 2 million people get it.

Posted by: Gil at March 8, 2006 03:45 PM

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