Here’s the deal. Last week, I received a call from a spoofed phone number. Yep, you guessed it, it was a telemarketer trying to sell me another vehicle service contract for my 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt SS. You know … the one that was destroyed in a car crash the week prior. I was not in any mood to deal with that clown, and I told him and his agency to stop calling me or I would send them a bill for every time they called me – AND I would forward these messages to my New York State Senator, Charles Schumer, who would be VERY interested in hearing about companies that violate the Do Not Call Registry. I received verbal confirmation and affirmation from this telemarketer that my number would be scrubbed out of the system and I would never receive a call from them again.
That was last Thursday.
I guess “never” doesn’t even last a week.
It’s around 4:30p.m. on Tuesday, June 21st. And sure enough, I’m trying to take care of things at my day job when –
Phone call. Caller ID says it’s from Colorado.
Nah, it couldn’t be.
Nah, it wouldn’t be.
“Hi, is this Chuck Miller?”
“This is he…”
“Hi Chuck, I’m calling from the Vehicle Service Department, and I’m calling regarding your Chev-rouwgh-lette vehicle…”
Oh great. Another vehicle service contract cold call. And this dingbat can’t even properly pronounce the name of my car.
I’m not in the mood for this. I don’t want to be constantly reminded about my car being destroyed in a car crash any more than my blog readers want to be reminded about my car being destroyed in a car crash. Maybe if I can talk to someone who can actually pronounce the name of my car as a “Chev-ro-lay,” we can make some progress.
“Your 2006 Chevrolet Commode, I think it’s called…”
Oh you’re calling my car a toilet? Nice way to get me to give you any of my hard earned dough…
Anyways, I went along with this dingbat, who wanted to know how many miles were on my car. And after I told her, she transferred me to some meathead named Ricky, who quizzed me on how long I’ve had the car (I said for a good few years). Ricky says he can authorize multiple years of coverage on my car. And he says he can offer various discounts and deductibles and whatnot.
Ricky asks me if I’ve owned Chevrolets in the past. I say that I’ve owned GM cars, I didn’t say any of them were bowtie brands.
Ricky asks me if I’m 55 years or older. I tell him the truth, that I’m only 52.
Ricky asks me if I’ve ever served. I say that my family has some military background.
Ricky asks me if I’m a homeowner or do I rent. I tell him that I rent.
Apparently I’ve hit two out of the four goals of Ricky’s questionnaire, and now he’s going to transfer me to a specialist.
I’ve been through this dance before. The first person sounds like they’re talking with forty other telephone callers in the distance. The second person sound clearer, and the third person sounds like a used car salesman.
And sure enough, I’m connected with Judy. Judy decides to go over all the options with me – and decides to add, just out of the kindness of her heart, an additional year and 100,000 miles of coverage. Bless her cactus-coated heart. Oh, and she knocked $500 off the retail price of the coverage for the vehicle service contract.
Now Judy offers two different payment packages for my perusal. First she offers a Budget Friendly Plan, with a one-time activation deposit of $260.00 down, then 18 monthly payments of $129.06 (for a grand total of $2,583.08). The second payment option is the Accelerated Plan, which requires a deposit of $495.00 and then twelve monthly payments of $174.00 (for a grand total of $2,583.00). So if I use the Accelerated Plan, I can save a whopping eight cents on my coverage. Wowie.
Now folks, this is the first time one of these companies has actually quoted me some figures. And I think back to any major repairs I’ve ever had to do with any of my cars, and even at the worst, I never spent more than $1,500 to have the engine rebuilt in the Pontiac 6000 way back in my pre-Times Union blog days. So $2,583.00 (or $2,583.08, if I use the Budget Friendly Plan) seems a helluva lot of investment for a diminishing return.
Judy wants me to tell her which plan I wish to use. I counter and ask her which company is contacting me. She says that she is with Empire Consumer Services. Oh great. Empire Consumer Services. This outfit – and Palmer Administrative Services, a similar company – have had my phone on blast, even after I’ve told them that I’m on the Do Not Call Registry and that I’ve asked each company each time to stop hassling me.
As soon as she mentioned what company she works with (and threw another company, Allegiance Administrators LLC, into the mix), I waited for that moment. She thinks she’s got me on the hook. Silly her. I ask her if her company is from Colorado, as that is where the Caller ID on my phone says this call is coming from. She says no, her company is in Pomona, California.
“It seems odd that my Caller ID would come up as something from Colorado.”
“That’s possibly the dialer, it’s an automated dialer that dials out these numbers.”
Congratulations, Judy, you just admitted that not only do you use a spoofed phone number to fool consumers into picking up the phone, but that you use an automated dialer to target callers.
Ten minutes are up. My rule is that if I have the time to deal with this crap, I give them ten minutes to make their pitch, just so that I can take ten minutes away from them hassling someone else. Now I immediately go from “interested customer” to “Chuck Miller is pissed” mode. My Blackbird is dead. And I don’t need Empire Consumer Services to keep killing it.
I take Judy to task. I gripe about the fact that her company has called me in the past, even when I’ve been on the Do Not Call Registry longer than Barack Obama has been President; and that I’ve politely requested that Empire and other telemarketers stop calling me immediately and to scrub my number out of their directories.
And I drop another trump card. I tell Judy that because her company has refused to cease calling me even when I’ve asked them to stop, I am now billing Empire the sum of $1,000 per phone call. And I tell her that I’m also forwarding this call to Senator Charles Schumer, who has tried to shut down these invasive telemarketers and robocallers and phonebots ever since one of them started calling him on his PERSONAL cell phone.
I’m done. I hang up on Judy. I don’t want to talk to her at all. Not any more.
I’m seething. Furious. This bonkbrain company keeps calling even when I’ve asked them to cease.
Only one thing to do.
Look up Empire Consumer Services on the Internet, find their telephone number, and give them a call.
I dial. I get a recording and a series of connection choices. Press 4 to speak to a customer service representative. I press 4. I’m now trapped in phone jail, with hold music that sounds like a bad knockoff of the Melachrino Strings.
Man oh man, what I wouldn’t do to give these chiselfaces a piece of my mind. Deep breath, Miller. Deep breath. Don’t let this get out of hand. You’re calmer than this. Have respect. Talk to them like adult to adult. Even if they are acting like petulant little pieces of –
Wait. Call coming in. I check the Caller ID on my phone.
No. They wouldn’t. Not twice in one day. Not twice in an hour. Nobody would be that classless and condescending.
“Hello, Mr. Miller, my name is Charlotte with the Vehicle Services Department regarding your 2006 Chevrolet, do you still own the Cobalt?”
I was definitely wrong. These people are truly dumber than a sack of wet mice.
I go through the same chitter-chatter with Charlotte, who passes me off to a second person. During the hand-off, I hear some cross-chatter between another telemarketer and a customer, who clearly also has issues with Empire ignoring the Do Not Call list. I try to eavesdrop on the cross-chatter – until I hear my next contact person.
Man, you would think these people would have figured out that they’ve already called me today and I said no. Apparently telemarketers don’t subscribe to “no means no.”
My new contact person calls himself Martin, and he tells me that if I don’t accept the offer he gives me today and my car breaks down tomorrow, then I won’t have an opportunity to receive this wonderful benefit. Yeah, like my car wouldn’t get destroyed on a North Carolina highway between now and tomorrow… Oh, wait…
Martin asks me if I’m over 55, he says I don’t sound like it. I tell him that I’m over 55. Hey, they’re lying to me, why shouldn’t I return the favor?
Martin asks if any of my family has been in the military. I tell him, “I did a tour.” Didn’t say that it was a tour of Daytona International Speedway, but hey if he wants to think I served in the military, that’s on him.
Martin asks if I own or rent my home. I tell him I own. Hey, it’s not like he’s asking for a proof of mortgage.
He asks if I’ve ever had Chevrolets before. I say sure. What am I going to tell him? I’ve owned a Chevy Vega? A Chevy Corvair? A Chevy Bel Air? What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.
Now I’m transferred to Greg. At this point, I’ve gone through six different humans in two phone calls. Greg offers the same “bonus” coverage that Judy offered in the previous call. Amazing. He even takes off another $500 from the cost.
The first option is the Accelerated program, this is for customers who like to pay things off as quickly as possible. This requires a down payment of $595 down, and 12 payments at $165.67 (for a total of $2,583.04). The other option is the Budget Friendly option, with a down payment of only $260, and you have 18 payments at $129.06 (for $2,583.08).
Sweet jumpin’ Jesus on a pogo stick, I missed out on saving four cents from the first offer I received half an hour ago!! Hey wait… I told Greg four different options on the checklist that I told the other spongebrain earlier… and there were no discounts or variances in the price? So all that “age” and “military” and “previous Chevy ownership” and “rent versus own” means nothing except to make you think you’ve received a discount based on certain parameters? Talk about a case study in hubris…
After securing from Greg that yes, the call is coming from Empire Consumer Services, and is working with Allegiance Administrators LLC, it just goes to show that not only does Empire NOT care about respecting the Do Not Call Registry, they’re more determined than ever in gouging good people out of $2,583, give or take about eight cents.
And I’ve had it. I let into this guy, letting him know that I am not only upset and annoyed and disturbed by this continued harassment by his company, that I also feel that they’ve used illegal tactics to circumvent the Do Not Call Registry. I’m so pissed, I start calling him Martin, because I’ve lost track of how many people I’ve been transferred to in this whole pas de deuxfus.
The last words from him? Another recording. “You have been kicked from this conference.”
That’s right, folks. When confronted with information on their dirty deeds, Empire Consumer Services runs like the kid who threw a rock through a store window and, when caught, says, “It’s not me.”
Well, guess what. It IS you. And twice in one day? Your computers are smart enough to call me, but they’re not smart enough to know that they’ve already called? What kind of chip you running on those computers, Fritos?
And you’re asking me … I know you’re asking me … Chuck, please tell me you’ve recorded these phone calls. Please tell me you’ve got them right here.
Of course I do. Take a listen.
Oh, and Empire Consumer Services … just a note. I don’t own the 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt any more. And even if I did, your “vehicle service contract” doesn’t cover collision damage or rear-end damage or bicycles that fall off the rack of the car in front of me.
Stop calling my number.
Because at this point, all you’re doing is giving me free blog posts, and giving my readers an open window into your harassing actions.
Oh, and one last thing. If you’re out there, Empire Consumer Services, and you see this blog post, and you don’t want people finding out that you engage in practices like this…
Let me know, and I’ll take the post down.
It’ll only cost you a “blog administration takedown fee” of $2,583, certified check only.
Give or take eight cents, clowns.