New sleazy telemarketer technique?

I got a call from a telemarketer for some charity I’d never heard of. Told her I don’t make donations over the phone (I don’t want 90% of my donation money going to a telemarketer).

She followed the script, “We understand, as many people have the same concern.”

But then she said (I think, she was a little hard to understand), “We’ll mail information out to you. We’re just going to record your voice to verify your address.”

I asked why that was necessary, but I couldn’t understand what she mumbled. I said I wouldn’t consent to having my voice recorded, if they had my address, just send me the shit. I promptly hung up and had a case of the willies.

Did they slip some “fine print” in that my voice was going to be confimation of? Why else would a telemarketer need to record someone’s voice saying their address?

I don’t know about the recording, but it should be pointed out to Ms. Telemarketer that “mailing the information” after a phone call means you still got the phone call, and that the telemarketer is still calling you, and being paid by the charity. She is doing nothing to address the objection you stated.

I tell phone fundraisers that I will not give to the organization ever again once they phone me, even if future requests come in less intrusive ways. As I see it (and I realize this belongs in its own thread by now) the only way we’ll get telemarketers to stop without legislation would be if 90% of the country made the same declaration. If phone calls burned donor bridges (instead of just irritating people briefly) no organization would choose telemarketing.

When I sold stuff over the phone (yeah, yeah… I did it about two months and then couldn’t take it anymore) we had to record the person as they agreed to buy the product and have us ship it to them, and also as they gave us their credit card number or bank account number.

I believe the idea is that you can’t turn around and try to sue them or take legal action for sending and billing you a product (or in your case, mailing you information) that you didn’t want or ask for.

By recording YOU saying your address, they’re making you liable for anything they mail there (like if you gave them a fake address, or the address of the neighbour you hate, or something.)

But I could be wrong.

Off topic, sorry… Cranky, I think I’m too poor (and not a homeowner) to have charities calling for me, but I tell the credit card companies after one “courtesy call” that if they ever phone me again trying to sell me any additional services I will pay off my balance and cancel my account immediately. So I’m doing my part. (And so far it’s worked pretty well.)

You know how sometimes you call an 800 number to find the store nearest you, or whatever, and it has an option to leave them your address to get a catalog mailed to your house, or whatever? You know?

Okay, I used to work for that company, transcribing people’s addresses. (And more–we had what seems like billions and billions of 800 numbers, including ones to get information about joining certain class-action consumer lawsuits. So sometimes we’d transcribe people’s stories about how their siding rotted off their house, or other mishaps.)

Is it possible that it’s more cost-effficient for the telemarketing company to send their tapes out to be transcribed? That way the people making calls would be doing nothing but making calls during their shifts, and entering all the addresses into their database could be done later?

This might actually be more trouble than it’s worth, but it’s less alarming than the alternative.

I don’t think they were recording my address to avoid bing dinged for unsoliceted mail–I get junk mail all the time. If I got information about a charity that I didn’t want, I wouldn’t have much grounds to sue on. I haven’t lost anything. I think recording is usually done in cases where the risk is high to the seller. Long distance companies do it so that they can’t be accused by the FCC of slamming.

I also doubt they do it to in order to get partially paid for two reasons: 1) I doubt they get paid for getting addresses. Those can be come by very cheaply, and the telemarketing joint my sister worked at for a few weeks didn’t get money for addresses. 2) Audiotaped addresses would be a severe pain to verify by the charity – they’d actually have to LISTEN to them. Again, it’d be cheaper to just go buy a gross for a fraction of a cent.

The most plausible (non-sleazy) explanation so far is Yersinia’s that someone else will transcribe. But if so, 1) how much money are they saving? Do transcribers cost less than telemarketers, especially if you consider you now need extra equipment (recorders, workstations, etc.), and 2) how many people do they lose by scaring them off (like me)? Is it worth it?

I just associate being recorded with proof-of-purchase to be used in court. If not being done for transcription, why would they need to defend themselves in court unless I was going to be out something?

Yeah, I would definitely stay away from that. It sounds like fraud to me. i once got dinged by a phone scammer who asked me to say my organization’s telephone numbers. I figured they were a matter of public record, so I gave the person all our phone lines – and sure enough, on the next phone bill we were switched to a new, horribly expensive company.


I got a call the other day from a charity, and I just said “We don’t donate to charities who solicit by phone”. The caller said “Thank you, goodbye” and hung up. Mission accomplished.

I like my wording better because it states that they’ve got no chance of a donation because they did contact me by phone. You really can’t argue with that (I’m sure some will try, but by then they’ll be talking to the dial tone).

Some states have wiretapping laws which require mutual consent for recording the call. You may recall that the state of Maryland indicted Linda Tripp for recording her conversations with Monica Lewinsky without her consent.

You may live in a state which has such a wiretapping law, and the telemarketer therefore had to inform you of the recording. If you’ve ever had to call a technical help line, you’ll also be informed that your call may be recorded for “quality control purposes.” Bullshit. It’s a legal provision.

Chances are that the organization calling you is a dedicated telemarketing firm. They are not the charity. Telling the telemarketer that you will not support the charity will probably go no farther than the telemarketer’s ear.

Often the telemarketing company gets 90% of your donation. If you want to support the charity, send your money directly to them and don’t involve the telemarketers.

Another pet peeve of mine is when a company sells a product and says “a portion of the proceeds will be donated to charity.” That statement should actually read “almost nothing will be donated to charity.” There is no legal requirement on how much they need to give to the charity. They could raise a million dollars and only donate one dollar.

The only way to make sure 100% of your donation goes to the charity is to send it there yourself.

This is essentially the same thing as when a kid with a clipboard stops you on the street and askes you to give a few dollars to help his school get new baseball uniforms, or whatever. In the intrest of making sure the money actually gets to the school, I always ask for the name of the school & the name of a faculty member to whom I can send my donation.

Never give money to an anonymous middle man.