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Telemarketer Blows Whistle on Tape-Altering Scam

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the sir-just-answer-the-question dept.

Privacy 371

Recently, Florida-based telemarketing firm Epixtar is frequently accused of cramming an extra $30 onto phone charges of small businesses, yet has proof of legality by recording their calls. Until they laid off some people, one of whom has blown the whistle. The companies' cramming tactics become "legal" by altering those taped recordings to include a quick statement about the $30 charge. MSNBC has the article, including a short audio clip of a sample call.

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what's the obsession with spam? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822728)

why are the editors so obsessed with direct marketting?

are microsoft rumors not sufficient to keep page hits high anymore?

Re:what's the obsession with spam? (1)

GnarlyNome (660878) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822741)

This is more common than you may think. I've been spammed jammed hacked slammed the only reason I stick around is to see what con comes next

Re:what's the obsession with spam? (2, Interesting)

Technician (215283) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822896)

It almost is a good enough reason to drop the landline entirely. It adds to the TCO of a landline.

Somehow I see E-mail dying (replaced by online feedback forms) and Landlines dying (replaced by VoIP and wireless).

Any good technology can be turned into trash with the right tools.

NO SPAM FOR YOU!! (-1, Offtopic)

ModeratorNazi (668392) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822959)

Come back one year!

first ghost (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822729)

first ghost

oooHhoooHHHoooOoooOooh!!

Screwed-over employees (5, Funny)

paranoid.android (71379) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822731)

Until they laid some people

Well, I guess they really screwed their employees over, too.

Re:Screwed-over employees (5, Funny)

Workpad z50 User (204152) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822796)

They screw the public and lay their employees. Sounds like one Fucked Company [fuckedcompany]

Re:Screwed-over employees (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822856)

Maybe you meant this: working link [fuckedcompany.com]

Re:Screwed-over employees (2, Funny)

pheared (446683) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822819)

After being laid they couldn't wait to start blowing "whistles".

The telemarketing biz doesn't sound so bad after all.

Blown the whistle (4, Funny)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822845)

Until they laid some people

Hey timothy! It's 12:49 AM. Do you know where your porn in another browser window innuendos are?

Seriously though, if you are at work on monday morning, do you really click through to a link about employees getting laid and "blowing the whitsle" *wink* wink*.

Re:Screwed-over employees (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822949)

The boss called Pam into his office. He told Pam, "Things are getting hard and I am either going to have to lay you or Jack off." Pam replied "You are just going to have to jack off, because you are not going to lay me."

They WHA?! (3, Funny)

Your_Mom (94238) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822732)

...Until they laid some people...

Damn, say what you want about telemarketers, but I think I want to work for this company.
The whistleblower obviously was a person that was not laid.

Re:They WHA?! (2, Funny)

switched4OSX (668686) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822805)

or, perhaps, was one who was forced to blow the bosses "whistle"

I hope that's laid off (0)

cigarky (89075) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822733)

:P

That Synopsis (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822734)

Makes my head hurt.

What? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822735)

If people agreed to pay the $30 fee, why do they think they can not pay it if they complain now?

"Laid" some people? (-1, Redundant)

texwtf (558874) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822738)

Seems like the ones not getting layed would be the ones to blow the whistle

Re:"Laid" some people? (0, Offtopic)

Barbarian (9467) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822747)

Seems like the ones not getting layed would be the ones to blow the whistle

Well that really depends on who was playing the "girl", the employer or the employee.

Until they laid some people... (1, Offtopic)

jhoffoss (73895) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822742)

How exactly does a business of any kind "lay" you? I've heard of getting screwed...but never getting laid.

Re:Until they laid some people... (0, Offtopic)

rune2 (547599) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822750)

And hell, if getting fired meant getting laid you might actually look forward it! Hot sexy female Boss: "Your fired!" You: "Woohoo!"

Re:Until they laid some people... (0, Offtopic)

thynk (653762) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822782)

Hot sexy female Boss: "Your fired!" You: "Woohoo!"

Oh dear, I have a fat ugly boss... ::shudder::

Re:Until they laid some people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822813)

worse.

I'm male, so is my boss.

Re:Until they laid some people... (4, Funny)

switched4OSX (668686) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822822)

not to mention the size of the severance "package" the boss gives ya.

Re:Until they laid some people... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822911)

"severance" and "package" are two words that make me cringe when used together

Re:Until they laid some people... (0, Offtopic)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822917)

Big deal; I work in the family business.

they only lay some people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822763)

they lay some people and "blow" others, apparently.

Re:Until they laid some people... (1)

Metallic Matty (579124) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822776)

How exactly does a business of any kind "lay" you? I've heard of getting screwed...but never getting laid.

Well, if in fact the business was laying them, they were getting screwed, and therefore it seems logical that they would report the person screwing them.

Morality? (5, Interesting)

dogbox (657658) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822751)

What happened to people reporting this sort of stuff before they had a grudge against the company? Why do only former employees report this sort of thing?

Re:Morality? (4, Insightful)

Jason1729 (561790) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822769)

As long as the employees were getting a big enough piece of the pie, they kept quiet. They should be charged with aiding in the crime.

Jason
ProfQuotes [profquotes.com]

Re:Morality? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822788)

Remember, these are people that formerly worked at a telemarking company. Therefore, you can conclude that either (a) they are soul-less, amoral creatures that sometimes can pass for human beings, or (b) they were really, really desperate for a job and had a family to feed. Either way, they're not likely to rat out the boss, are they?

The answer is A (1, Flamebait)

GnarlyNome (660878) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822834)

because no one should let telemarketers breed

Re:Morality? (4, Insightful)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822795)

Because once you air this sort of thing, it sort of kills your career.

It's often better to voice your concerns internally, and work to improve the system from within.

I find it very moral to give a company a chance to improve itself. (How long a chance? About as long as it takes for the would-be-whistleblower to find a better job.)

Re:Morality? (1)

bscott (460706) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822830)

> What happened to people reporting this sort of stuff before they had a grudge

What "happened"? Did that ever exist? Why rat out a company you like?

Reality (3, Insightful)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822850)

If you're working at one of these places you're doing it for the money, not for a warm feeling. Morality is a luxury many people can not afford.

Re:Morality? (4, Insightful)

rodgerd (402) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822861)

People don't do telemarketing jobs because they have in-demand skills and a big pile-o-cash to fall back on if they get laid off and can't find another job once word gets out they rat on the boss.

It may be the right thing to do, but being in the right doesn't keep you off the streets, unfortunately.

Re:Morality? (3, Informative)

mark-t (151149) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822878)

People who work for telemarketers are often fairly hard up for work as it is. If they do something to rock the boat before they've secured employment elsewhere, they can find themselves without any job at all. It's not easy to make waves when whether or not you're going to be able to pay rent next month depends on keeping your mouth shut.

Re:Morality? (4, Insightful)

RWarrior(fobw) (448405) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822904)

> Why do only former employees report this sort of
> thing?

I worked at a newspaper [fwst.com] once. In my state, it is legal to carry a concealed firearm if you are licensed to do so. An employer or business may prohibit even licenced holders from carrying their weapons on the premises, and this newspaper does.

My supervisor didn't have such a license, because she found it too restrictive to bother with, in part because she couldn't take her weapon into bars. Instead, she worked a couple of nights a month as a volunteer patrol officer and was certified and licensed as a peace officer in Texas (having had a previous career as a full-time police officer). As a peace officer, she could carry her weapon anywhere, anytime she wanted to. That included bars, restaurants, and her place of regular employment, despite the no-guns policy.

The employer's representative had a meeting with her and they let her know in no uncertain terms that, under the law, while they couldn't prevent her from bringing her weapon to work, there were lots of reasons to fire people.

As a consequence, she left her weapon in the car when she came to work.

People who work for telemarketers typically aren't well paid, aren't in it because they love it, and do have families to support and bills that way outstrip their meager incomes, especially in bust economies where unemployment is rising.

It is illegal to fire people for whistle-blowing under state and federal whistle-blowing statues. A person so terminated can recover in a number of ways. Regrettably, most people aren't aware of their rights and even if they are aware of them, do not know how or do not have the money to invoke and protect them.

Besides, there are lots of reasons to fire people.

Re:Morality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822942)

>>>under the law, while they couldn't prevent her from bringing her weapon to work, there were lots of reasons to fire people.

Of course, the standard threat. Works, unless there's a bug.

>>>It is illegal to fire people for whistle-blowing under state and federal whistle-blowing statues. A person so terminated can recover in a number of ways. Regrettably, most people aren't aware of their rights and even if they are aware of them, do not know how or do not have the money to invoke and protect them.

Yeah, and when you DO invoke your rights, Nexis/Lexis invokes theirs and copies your public court transcripts to their pay service. You might be able to get away with one Whistle-blow if it's very ethically wrong. Once you hit 2, forget getting a job in your field.

Re:Morality? (1)

Jason1729 (561790) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822946)

Sure, but do you want to work at a company where you've blown the whistle? Management can make life very miserable for you. They can't fire you, but they can re-assign you to scrub toilets with a toothbrush.

Jason
ProfQuotes [profquotes.com]

Re:Morality? (3, Informative)

mark-t (151149) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822974)

Actually, if they do that, it's even better for you. It gives you proof of "constructive dismissal". It would be better if they found some reason that they could substantiate and you couldn't disprove, and fire you for that.

Re:Morality? (3, Interesting)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822977)

As a consequence, she left her weapon in the car when she came to work.

Yeah, that makes your company a lot safer. Instead of having the gun in the hands of a female -- trained at its use, at that -- it's out in the parking lot. The first person to break into that car and find it will present a million (actually far more) times the threat that woman did. And the gun won't be there -- again, in the hands of a woman trained in its use -- in case it is ever needed.

I don't know how you feel about the whole situation -- you probably aren't responsible for the decision -- but I think it stinks.

Re:Morality? (3, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822975)

If you had bills to pay and a wife and a kid to support, what kind of morality would it be to scew them and yourself?

Unfortunatly we live under capitalism and we need to bendover when necessary to support ourselves and our families. If you are already canned then why not. But it will kill your career if you can not get a reference from a former employer if you do it while on the job.

I had a friend who was pissed off at a verbally abusive boss and he almost quit. His wife threatened to divorce him if he left and forced him to bend over. He eventually found another job and then quit to satisfy his wife and daughter. They recently just bought a house and had trouble selling the old one and they both had college loans to pay off. This was why his wife was frantic.

Its not fair and I believe it sucks but this is the way the system works. If I had kids they would be more important to me then a few pissed off people at my employer.

Also you need a good credit report for further employment and a future house or college loan. Even if your single and have no family. Which was the case with my friend since he was close to the edge. Otherwise his wife would of been more lenient.

Infact I was turned down from a job about a month ago because I forgot to mail a check to Linuxmagazine back in 1999 after subscribing. It came 2 months late. With a poor economy, HR can do whatever it is they want to filter you out. It sucks but if you have no job you still need to pay the bills or yourself and others in your family will be screwed.

I know I make an ass of u and me (0, Redundant)

aztektum (170569) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822752)

But I'm assuming it's suppose to say "laid some people off" and not "laid some people". Otherwise, where's the problem?

MODERATE THIS DOWN (unfunny, uninformative) (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822932)

redundant, overrated

Been away for a week (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822758)

Tropical reefs, and reefers, fun in the sun, son.

Like to say a big WHUT! WHUT! to all my fellow anon homies and homo's.

Ollie dude, and suck me nude.

umm.. that's some good engrish (-1, Troll)

ybmug (237378) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822762)

all your base
are belong
to us

'nuff said

Novice Apache Permmisions question (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822764)

I believe there are two (if not more) levels of permission to run apache under. I think one is equivalent to anonymous or a very restricted user. I think the other is equivalent to root, running under sudo possibily? What benefits are there to running under root, what benefits there are to running under anonymous and why you would choose one or the other?

Re:Novice Apache Permmisions question (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822863)

I'd say, use the anonymous, because you are gay and offtopic! bitch!

Re:Novice Apache Permmisions question (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822880)

Always run as root. That user stuff is gay MS ideas from win2000 ! Haven't you noticed how MS invented accounts ? Anyway, for handy maintainance also have a cgi script that reads a text input form exec's whatever is there.

Re:Novice Apache Permmisions question (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822890)

Hey way to go you justed reinforced the stereotype of Linux users being dicks!

Telemarketing's Penalty.. (1)

Metallic Matty (579124) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822766)

Telemarketing in general pisses me off; but this kind of unethical crap is the worst.

Telemarketing should be against the law as an invasion of privacy, or at the very least, a public annoyance. With fair penalties of course. Nothing insane; although sometimes I think death would be appropriate, such as at 6pm when I'm eating dinner and they bother me to try and sell me some new windows..

Re:Telemarketing's Penalty.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822821)

My theory of telemarketing: Be as mean and nasty as possible. By doing so, you make people hate their job more, thereby quitting, thereby increasing the money you have to pay telemarketers, thereby helping out the remaining telemarketers so now they get more money.

And hey, eventually, maybe it will be such an undesireable position that it will cost more to hire a telemarketers than they make in return. We can only hope.

So do your part. Have you yelled at a telemarketer today?

To Hell with fair penalties. (4, Funny)

Rai (524476) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822847)

I want one of two things: Either the company responsible for telemarketing fraud is fined the entire dollar amount of all assets plus 50% and all employees directly involved in the particular incident receive no less that 10 years in prison and a fine of no less than $25,000 per instance with all fines being equally disputed among those victims of this company's fraudulant operations.

Or I want button installed on my phone that will kill whoever is on the other line.

"You just put your lips together and blow." (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822767)

Lends a different connotation to "blowing the whistle," doesn't it?

Fun things to say to Telemarketers (3, Funny)

Michael's a Jerk! (668185) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822773)

Here [totse.com] Enjoy.

More of the Classics (5, Funny)

Michael's a Jerk! (668185) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822811)

How to piss off AT&T [ahajokes.com]

A Nice List [funmansion.com]
Another Good List [aaronscollection.com]

50 Stupid things to Say [lifeisajoke.com]

These bastards are a pet hate of mine. I've tried most of these at one stage or another. If you can keep from laughing, it's fun to string them along :-)

Re:Fun things to say to Telemarketers (-1)

Seth Finklestein (582901) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822843)

I enjoy and support your karma-whoring. Please continue to do so until Michael Sims is dead in the cold, cold ground.

Re:Fun things to say to Telemarketers (2, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822940)

That may be stuff that is amusing to individuals, but it isn't exactly legally binding material. When they ask you if you want to order something, and you say "yeah, just in time, the bank hates bounced checks", you still gave a positive answer to the question.

I find it much better to know the laws, and ask them a million and one questions that they legally have to answer.

"What's the name of your boss??? And how do you spell 'Bob'? Slower! Again! Didn't quite catch that... Okay, and his last name? How do you spell that?" etc.

Waste enough of their time, and you'll feel much better, partly because they'll never be stupid enough to call you again.

Of course, with the federal do-not-call list, we may just see the end of telemarketers.

Re:Fun things to say to Telemarketers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822953)

i had a friend who would talk just plain nonsense to telemarketers. it would be just meaningless. e.g.


telemarketer: my name is ... and i am calling on behalf of ... how are you doing sir?

callee: well my sister doesn't play violin.

telemarketer: excuse me sir...

callee: what! moon doesn't have green stripes?


This really drives crazy to many people.

cramming (1)

conrad1 (447714) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822774)

Another perfect reason to hang up on telemarketers!

But seriously you can imagine some people/businesses either missing the charge (especially if it is a long bill) or just not bothering about it if it is a once of charge. Especially when you consider the big run-around that customers get when trying to obtain a refund.

Uh oh, here come the elitist zealots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822779)

OMG!!1 It's M$NBC!!1 and it's SHOCKWAVE! I can't use that closed sores crap!

Grow up assholes

OVERRATED!? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822852)

WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF GAY SHIT IS THAT? WHY ARE ALL YOU FUCKING MODERATORS SO GODDAMN FUCKING STUPID. FUCK OFF BEFORE I FUCK ALL OF YOUR FUCKING MOMS.

FUCKERS.

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like FUCKING.
Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YOUR.
Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like SISTER.

Re:OVERRATED!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822862)

How many bottles of Mt. Dew have you chugged?? Don't you think it would be wise to lay off the caffeine??

Not Surprising (3, Funny)

Bruha (412869) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822780)

These tactics have been around in the industry for way too long. I had a roomate that used to make money off these cramming punks by telling them he had a better deal from X company and they'd give him 100 dollars to switch plus pay the switching fees and such. And he'd play all sides.

Man let me tell you his beer fund was funded :)

Different ethic standards? (2, Insightful)

WegianWarrior (649800) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822787)

"The company feels it operates ethically and has not done anything wrong," Nasca said.

If you're getting anrgy phonecalls from the people who are giving you money (more or less by voluntarely), you're probaly doing something wrong and / or unethically. Wether you give a damn is another matter entirely... many a sucxessfull business (spammers etc) depends on pissing people off.

on a similar note via snail mail (4, Interesting)

phantomlord (38815) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822790)

This week, I received a solicitation which was deceptively in the form of a bill from Internet Corporation Listing Service (ICLS). For $37.50, they offered to list my domain in a whopping 14 search engines.

The solicitation most definitely looked like a bill (front page [krwtech.com] and back page [krwtech.com] ). The bottom half of the page is a tear away bill stub and the solicitation notice on the top right hand corner is in a lighter font than the rest of the text (though it's harder to notice on the scan).

Fortunately, I'm in the habit of reading all of my bills when they come in, but some people aren't. They obviously got the information from the internet WHOIS database even though that database is explicitly protected by a clause saying you can't datamine from it.

The next morning, I filed a complaint with the United States Postal Inspectors because of the deceptiveness and the likelihood that others will be fooled by it. Here is the complaint I sent:

I received a solicitation from ICLS which deceptively looks like a bill. Located on it, is a tear-away payment stub with a customer number, due date and amount with no reference to the fact that it's actually a solicitation on the stub. On the upper right hand corner, it does state "THIS NOTICE IS A SOLICITATION AND RECEIPT OF PAYMENT WILL CONFIRM YOUR ANNUAL LISTING", however, it is a lighter font than the rest of the solicitation.

While I, fortunately, did not fall for the solicitation, I'm concerned that other people whom aren't as careful could easily be deceived as without close examination, it will appear as a bill.

I'm still waiting to hear back from the postal inspectors to see what they have to say.

Re:on a similar note via snail mail (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822842)

There are quite a number of the "order form that looks like a bill" scams. The trick seems to be to hit the right ammount, high enough that it *must* be real but not high enough that people try to track down who bought the thing.

A company I work for got hit for one that was a $400 bill to be listed in their directory of companies. Which they no doubt sold to other scammers as a "soft touch" book.

There is a flip side to this. If your telecom or ISP overbills you, consider sending them an official looking bill to Accts Payable for the ammount, just listed to "bill correction". If they pay up, then pay the full amount on your bill and go your merry way without the long 3 hour waits on the phone disputing everything.

Re:on a similar note via snail mail (1)

gid (5195) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822846)

I consider stuff like this an IQ test. If you fall for it, you fail. :) Kind of along the lines that the lottery is a tax on people who can't do math.

It's still wrong tho. I've received envelopes from Columbia House that make it look like some important credit card bill, until you start reading it. It's not as bad, but it's still deceptive marketing.

Re:on a similar note via snail mail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822892)

ya know - I recommend mailing a copy of that 'bill' to AT&T's legal dept - I looked at the logo on that and it looks like AT&T's famous globe emblem.

AT&T could go after them for trademark infringement, and with their deep pockets, put 'em out of business anyway!

Re:on a similar note via snail mail (1)

phantomlord (38815) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822902)

I recommend mailing a copy of that 'bill' to AT&T's legal dept actually, I was thinking the same thing

Re:on a similar note via snail mail (1)

Wakkow (52585) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822955)

I work for a web hosting company and it amazes me the number of people who get "bills" like this in the mail and by fax for renewing their domains. There's one that many get and fall for because the company name sounds professional (Worldwide Internet Registry or something like that). They end up paying for 5-10 years of renewal at very inflated prices. Oh well.. Buyer beware.

Ok? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822807)

So I listened to the sample on the MSNBC page, and from what it sounds like to me is someone talking very fast and some guy saying "OK" to everything. Now, i didn't have a clue what that woman was saying, and i'm assuming that guy didn't either. If he did he would have said "no". So i guess what puzzles me is:

Why didn't the man saying "OK" ever say "what?" or "can you repeat that, slower this time?" He just mindlessly said "OK". This is akin to signing a contract where a bunch of the text is smudged and unreadble.

There's no doubt the company is using some shady tactics, but it says right in the article

"While it is not possible to verify if the call had been altered, the consumer who received the call said the substance of the recording is accurate."

I think she was a darkie (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822818)

You can never understand those people.

Okay is NOT agreement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822916)

okay means "not bad, not good." It is not agreement. I doubt you'd find any court to uphold that as an oral contract, even as made.

I own a small business, (2, Funny)

Jin Wicked (317953) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822809)

And I've got a telephone, but I've not heard anything about this laying, blowing or cramming until now. Evidently I am in the wrong field.

All I ever get are wrong numbers.

How fast can you speak? (3, Interesting)

grungebox (578982) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822820)

So, I know Epixtar added their "lightning-quick" phone-bill-altering deal to the tapes after the fact. However, what I want to know is: Is there some sort of legal requirement for how slow/quickly such statements have to be said? I mean, car commercials/ads routinely have quickly-spoken disclaimers at the end of ads and such. If Epixtar had merely tacked on the "we can alter your bill" or whatever phrase, only spoken at a Micro Machines guy speed so it seemed like crackly phone noise, would that be legal?

Troll Tuesdays? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822831)

Hi,
I haven't visited Slashdot in almost a year and I was just wondering if Troll Tuesdays are still a tradition? I might be interested in taking part.
Someone please let me know if the next 5 posts. Or else.....[sinister laugh]

Troll Tuesdays are very much alive (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822858)

(Although everyday is a troll-day for me)

Trolls are a dying breed, they just aren't as good as they used to be.
Please contribute.

Advertising's future? (1)

johny_qst (623876) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822835)

Are we doomed to see something in the future along the lines of philip k dick's vision? I surely hope not. What can we do to limit it to realms that it currently holds its position in. There are enough billboards already please stop building new ones.

Re:Advertising's future? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822881)

There are enough billboards already please stop building new ones.

Not unless you know a better way to implant information into people heads.

explain this one away (0, Offtopic)

dzym (544085) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822836)

"laid some employees"

Can't even explain this one away by blaming the submitter of the story, eh, editors? I mean, seeing as you wrote it all. :)

Re:explain this one away (1)

MrP- (45616) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822870)

That was no mistake by the editors. The boss was just really bad in bed so the employee decided to leak the secrets to the public.

Let this be a lesson to all bosses out there, use viagra or something.

And if you're a female boss, bring your sister or girlfriend along, threesomes = company loyalty.

oh my! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822855)

haha, you forgot to type "off"...
now people are thinking sexy things, haha

very funny sir,
thank you

Let me guess... (1)

Associate (317603) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822864)

All the people who just had to comment on the ommision of the word 'off', as in 'laid off', they play CS, right?

Don't waste your breath with telemarketers. (4, Informative)

AnalogDiehard (199128) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822867)

First they try to twist your responses to indicate an affirmative response for a sale, now this. This is the kind of crap that made me stop talking to telemarketers altogether. Don't waste your precious time with these deceivers, people. Don't even pick up the phone. Get caller ID and ignore incoming calls with no caller ID.

Check out this answering machine for your PC [voicecallcentral.com] that deals with telemarketers who withhold their caller ID. The software can be configured to hang up on these cases and you will never hear the phone ring. It also implements white lists and black lists. Usual disclaimer applies.

Yes there is a risk of IDing legitimate calls as false positives. However, I've been monitoring my caller ID for over two years and can confirm that this is becoming less of a problem as more bell systems make their caller ID protocols compatible. So the risk is diminishing with time.

Yes this is a drastic move but until the law catches up this is how you have to deal with aggressive deceptive practices.

Caller ID is a godsend people - use it. Yes the telcos should be hung by their balls for extorting extra services out of the customers by selling personal information to scum telemarketers. In my next residence I will register my phone under an alias. If anyone calls asking for the alias, then they are immediately identified as a telemarketer and I will tell them there is no one here by that name. This crap has gone far enough.

"Anonymous Call Blocking" (2, Interesting)

exhilaration (587191) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822912)

Give your phone company a call and ask them to turn "Anonymous Call Blocking" on. It should be free. Then anyone blocking their caller ID will get a message like "This phone number does not accept anonymous calls. Thank you."

This will eliminate a small number of telemarketers - the rest will get through because they're calling from overseas and would have simply shown up as "out of area" or blank on your caller ID unit.

Re:Don't waste your breath with telemarketers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822913)

The software can be configured to hang up on these cases and you will never hear the phone ring.

I'd rather have the software talk to them.


Hello. My name is Dr. Sbaitso. I am here to help you. Say whatever is in your mind freely, our conversation will be kept in strict confidence.

First post! (0, Offtopic)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822876)

No wait...

100th laid joke!

Don't make joke of this (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822882)

Its serious business, this phone scam company. Billions are lost every year.

Saying people got laid is'n t funny. Con men can be violent and agressive (that is why they are criminals who should be shot), and it is a good thing some brave men and women turned them in.

Shame (3, Funny)

prostoalex (308614) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822888)

I am only afraid that an event like this would give telemarketing industry a negative image.

Keep trying Timmy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822893)

Maybe one day you'll be able to get a job as an editor at a school newspaper.

dear timothy... (0, Offtopic)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822897)

you're about to get laid. and by laid I mean fired.

This is NOT the whole story!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822903)

Okay, okay, so we've heard about the scam they were pulling. Let's get to the meat of the story though... The fact that this company was LAYING its employees!! How sweet is that?! Unfortunately there are no details. I want to know things like, was there any anal or oral sex, or just standard hetero-penis-in-vagina-sex? Who was this whistle blower, and was she a good at blowing? Why was she blowing the whistle? Was the sex unsatisfactory, or too infrequent? Answers, I want answers, dammit!!

Try cramming Epixtar (3, Funny)

iamacat (583406) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822914)

Hold on. Slashdot has so many people experiences in social engineering. Why not give Epixtar a call and sell them some choice beachfront property in Arizona? Then if they don't pay, present them with a recorded conversation. After defending their strategy in court they wouldn't be able to just back out of it.

Better yet, try it on the next telemarketer that calls you. Should be fun and legal, since they called your "business" to "inquire about your services" themselves.

Who is this? (1)

mosch (204) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822933)

Is this epixtar the one that has a url of http://www.epixtar.com/ [epixtar.com] ? I see that this epixtar is indeed located in Florida, as their name, address, and phone number are on nearly every page of their site, but I'm not sure if it's the same Epixtar.

Can anybody verify if these companies are one and the same?

can't screw your employees as well as customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5822936)

they should learn the lesson that they can screw either their employees or their customers, not both. Even lawyers don't do it.

Another low trick (5, Interesting)

bgeiger (42769) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822938)

This actually happened to my dad. Keep in mind my dad works nights, and typically sleeps all day.

Telemarketer: "Hi, my name is [somebody] and... excuse me, can you hear me?"
My dad (still groggy): "Yes."
Telemarketer: "I'm calling to offer you suchandsuch a service... [blah blah blah garbage]"
Dad: "I'm not interested. Goodbye. *click*"

Next month, he notices his long distance service has been changed to (I think) AT&T.

They used his "Yes" answer to an irrelevant question, and turned it into a "sale".

People like that should be thrown in jail.

laid? (1, Redundant)

InsaneCreator (209742) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822950)

Until they laid some people

This reminds me of a joke:
Jack & Mary's boss had to lay one of them off.
So he walks up to Mary and tells her: It's like this - I have to lay you or Jack off.
She replies: I'm affraid you'll have to jack off, because I'm late for my bus...

Man... (1, Offtopic)

SnakeEyes (123104) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822956)

Man, I *hate* it when the people I lay, blow the whistle on me. :)

'Opting in' (1)

Renraku (518261) | more than 11 years ago | (#5822961)

What ever happened to opting in for things like spam, services, etc. A few weeks ago, I saw an ad in the paper listing government jobs. I called the number, and it was just a company with a catalog of 'potential future' government jobs for an 'easy' payment of $59.99. Naturally, I wasn't interested. The guy on the other end assumed I would be paying for it, and skipped 'selling' it to me. Instead, he immediately started asking for my credit card, info, etc. Since I had already given him my name and address (for location-based positions, he said), he became increasingly pissed off as I didn't want to buy it. He even demanded that I go get the 'fucking card and pay for it, its not that expensive'. When I refused, he tried one more time. When I refused again, he said that he was going to send it to me anyway, and that I would be billed to my address. I asked for the name of the company and its location, but they refused to give it out. Or let me talk to a supervisor. Wish I still had the number, I'd deliver it to the BBB.
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