Monday, 1 September 2014

Cold calling update

I blogged about The Cold Call Elimination Team a while back. It's an outfit that makes telephone cold calls, then paradoxically tries to sell the callee an almost useless electronic gizmo which purports to block telephone cold calls (called "Call Blocker Pro"), along with an alleged listing on a suspect-sounding unregulated register of people who'd prefer not be cold called by telephone salespeople (without mentioning that a perfectly legitimate, regulated, free register called the Telephone Preference Service exists).

Turns out they're every bit as dodgy as they sound.

I've just witnessed The Cold Call Elimination Team in action for myself. They rang an elderly person and took a debit card payment in return for their useless gadget n' listing combo. Family members then alerted the victim to the existence of the free Telephone Preference Service and to the fact that signing up with The Cold Call Elimination Team is almost certainly a complete waste of money. The victim, who had no idea what to do with the electronic doohickey anyway, returned it with a note saying that it was too difficult to operate, and asked for a refund.

A less dedicated team of shysters would have simply ignored the request for a refund and hoped the complainer would eventually give up. But the enterprising scumbags at the Cold Call Elimination Team decided to go the extra mile.

Having retained the victim's debit card details, they decided to offer some unsolicited "help" by "upgrading" the victim to their "platinum" service, which is the same widget-plus-listing deal as before, except that "platinum" customers get a "pre-programed" Call Blocker Pro device. They seem to have used the retained debit card details to charge the victim an additional eighty-odd quid for the "upgrade" (although merchants can't legally retain the 3 digit security number on the back of a debit card, which would have been needed to process the new transaction), before sending out a confirmation letter with a new, "pre-programmed" Call Blocker Pro.

On the further advice of family members, the victim has now told the Cold Call Elimination Team that a refund, not an upgrade, was clearly requested. The Cold Call Elimination Team have promised to process a refund (at least of the "upgrade"), although, at the time of writing, the victim's bank account still needs checking to make sure that the refund is forthcoming.