Sneaky telecom phone calls -- is this legal?

So, one of my elderly disabled clients gets a phone call today, ostensibly from her cable/internet/phone provider, one of the Big 2, although I suspect the caller was actually working for some third party who has “partnered” with the telecom company to try and sell very invasive “security systems” to their existing customers.

My client, because she is old, disabled, and not remotely technology-competent, thinks that this caller is someone from the telecom’s billing department, trying to be nice and help her lower her bill. (As if THEY ever call YOU to do that!)

The shtick is that they want to help her “streamline her service” to help her save money on her bill. Oh, yeah, just a minor thing here, you also need to sign up for this security service here which will eventually cost $40 a month.

What they are actually trying to do is reduce her cable TV service by taking out enough channels to make it LOOK LIKE the service is free, and they actually lowered your bill to boot!

They apparently never came out and said that, however. Just how sneaky are telephone salespeople allowed to be these days?

It’s a scam. Period.

No, on second thought, it’s probably not a third party. It’s probably a security company that the telecom bought, because they would never put up with people cutting their service otherwise.

Whoops,** Frank**, wasn’t answering you there – simulpost. I agree.

Telcom companies only call if they are trying to RAISE your bill, usually with incomprehensible provisions and options. If you want to LOWER your bill, you have to call them. It’s a one-way street.

This has been true for at least 50 years, mark my words.

Musicat: Exactly.

It’s probably got nothing to do with the telecom. It’s simply a scammer dialing a series of numbers.

When ever someone says “Hi, I work with (or ‘for’) Time Warner Cable/AT&T/etc” I’ll stop them dead in their tracks and say “you work with or you for them, I mean, are you an actual AT&T employee?”. Usually I can get them to say that they’re a reseller of their services, at which point I hang up. If I can’t get them to admit it, I know the next question from them is going to be about how many lines I have so I just say 'you just said you your for them…why don’t you tell me how many lines I have (and what the numbers are (and, no, I’m not going to give you the little security code on my bill and bite me for asking))?. It’s funny how often they’ll tell me they don’t have access to that information. Waitaminute…you just told me you can get me a better deal than what I already have, you promised it, but you have no idea of what I have, not even the basics, if you don’t know how many lines I have (or even the numbers), you couldn’t possible know what services I have, call waiting, hunting, blocking, long distance (and on which lines), DSL etc…
To be fair, I do believe these people aren’t scammers, I think they’re buying numbers/services in bulk and reselling them, maybe even cheaper than what I can get direct, but I’m not interested. I’ll nearly always hang up and block cold callers and I’d rather go direct. If I have a problem with my phone/internet, I want to deal with the ISP, not a third party.
Besides, it comes off as really skeevy when they pretend like they work for AT&T, never mentioning that their actual company in the opening monologue and imply that they just want to rejigger my services to save some money.

Glad I switched over to TWC for internet and phone. OTOH, I never got a cold call until I switched. Then I started getting them left and right, they wanted to come down and do a site survey and see if they could save me some money. I finally told myself the next person to call (it was like once a week) could waste his time. I’d let him come down, let him do a ‘site survey’, talk to him about what I currently have and need, then when it was time to show him the bills…he’d get to see his own bills.
That was fun, his supervisor was riding with him that day. On the one hand, I told him what my beef was and why I did that and asked him to take me off whatever list of leads he was working from. He told me all the sales people work independently making cold calls, no list. I told him that was obnoxious, stupid and annoying to their current and potential customers.
OTOH, I never got another cold call again after that.

To be fair, before that I probably got 30 cold calls, I told each and every one of them, before they even launched into their spiel that I already had TWC and asked them to stop calling.

I’ve tried something similar with the guys from “Vindows” who call to tell me there’s a problem with my computer. I ask them if they are a Microsoft employee. They nearly always answer yes. Scammers aren’t big on telling the truth.

I had an (older) cousin fall for that, she was livid with “TWC” until the day she died for disabling her computer over that one. I could not convince her that she had been duped. The best I could do is tell her to not call them back, don’t answer when they call and either have a pro clean her computer (and all would be fine) or just toss her 5 year old laptop and get a new one.
However, as I said, other than a bit of deception, I don’t think these resellers are scammers. I think if you were to go with them, they’ll move you from your current service to them and probably do what they say (at least initially). This is totally different than a fake MS or Windows employee who tricks you into downloading ransomware onto your computer.

Doing some googling, you’ll see that resellers are mentioned online and not in a ‘scam warning, don’t touch these guys’ way.

Joey P: Well yeah, actually I went to the telecom’s website while she was still on the phone with whoever the caller was; according to the site they are in fact offering a new security service. What I’m pondering now is why they would be cool with people reducing their cable service, thereby paying less for that, in order to subscribe to the security service, which works out to more service for a little less money.

Cable companies being the way they are, I have two potential theories:

Either A) They figure people will get fed up with the reduced number of channels and switch back to a higher tier right around the same time that they have to start paying for the security service. Or else they are planning to raise cable rates again anyway; or

B) (the conspiracy-theorist option, but one I wouldn’t put past them) There is some as yet undisclosed reason why they are interested in getting multiple, always-on cameras to which they are hooked up into as many homes as possible. (Here is one possible real-world motive for that.

This has to be a scam. Crooks prey on telemarketing the elderly.

There was a thread about that not too long ago (within the last year, I think). IIRC the best guess was that they were getting a big kick back from the third party alarm company that they would pass along to you as a savings. Then after an introductory period everything goes back to normal, but by that point you’re happy…or at least used to…you’re alarm and want to keep it.