I warned them. I really, really did warn them. They didn’t listen. Their mistake. Seriously, it was their mistake. You can’t fix stupid.
I’ve blogged in the past about the overwhelming harassment from telemarketers, robocallers, spamcalls and cold callers. It got so bad, in fact, that I eventually ordered a telephone recording system and integrated it with my BlackBerry PRIV smartphone. (Have I mentioned how much I love this BlackBerry PRIV smart phone?)
And sure enough, a couple of months ago, I got “that call.”
You know … the one in which someone wants to sell me an extended vehicle service contract for my 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt SS?
Yeah, I chased that person off the first time when I told them that I had driven approximately 400,000 miles in that car.
Apparently they didn’t get the hint, they called back the next day.
The next freakin’ day.
First off, my caller ID reports that the call came from the 720 area code. Colorado. The woman claims to be calling from “Vehicle Service Department.” Can’t get any more generic than that. I ask where their company is located. “Umm… we’re all over,” she said.
She then wants to find out how many miles are on my car. I’m not doing the “I’ve got 400,000 miles” story again. This time, I’m going to list my mileage on the low side, and see where this goes. I tell her the car has “at least 50,000 miles.”
That’s more than enough for her to continue on. A brief snippet of Fur Elise, a “your call is very important to us, please stay on the line,” and I’m connected with Tina, who claims to be a vehicle protection specialist. I don’t know if we’re still with Vehicle Service Department, who claims that “we’re all over.” But I play along.
Tina immediately corrects me and says that she’s with a company called Palmer Administrative Services. And she starts going over the coverage options for the extended vehicle service contract with me. And if this was a legitimate organization, this plan would cover nearly every facet of my car’s operations. And she also let out that Palmer Administrative Services is a California-based company … which doesn’t explain why a Colorado telephone number popped up on my Caller ID. Well, I guess a legitimate company wouldn’t DARE try to fool a potential customer by listing a spurious phone number from Colorado on their Caller ID, now would they? #notachance #fingerscrossedbehindback
So let’s see if the policy covers some other – shall we say – rare components that a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt SS might possess. Especially if the car was ready for the next Fast and Furious movie.
Tina is a little confused, she thinks I use my car for racing. No, I tell her. I have an SS model, and I gush about the car’s high-performance package.
And now it’s time to have some fun.
“Because of the high performance transmission, there’s a special tube that goes on the transmission, on the drive shaft, a Fallops Tube, does your company cover that?”
“Yes, the driveshaft, yes.”
“You cover the Fallops tube that covers it?”
“Yes, Fallops, Fallopian.”
“But it’s from the transmission, correct?”
“It covers the driveshaft, it’s a very special performance part. It was made by a gentleman named Fallops, and it’s on the high performance versions of the SS models of Chevrolet. It’s known as – a Fallopian model.”
I’ve just blown Tina’s mind to smithereens. She has to get her supervisor. Good. Plan is working.
Now I’m speaking with Tony, who apparently is Tina’s supervisor. Somewhere there’s an off-Broadway wedding taking place.
Tony deflects my question about the Fallops tube, saying that the tube isn’t covered. Then he starts giving me some schmutz about what is covered and what isn’t covered on my car. “Now, it does have an asterisk here, and it has to do with what you just asked about, it says the case covered if damaged by any of the above-covered components. So the case is covered if damaged by any of the above-covered components.”
Hot dog. If I get this extended vehicle service contract from Palmer Administrative Services, then by goofy gosh my Fallops Tube will be covered. Nice and tight.
Okay, time to let Tony off the hook. Well, that is, until he told me that I wasn’t talking to Palmer Administrative Services any more, and that in fact I was now in the tendrils of Empire Consumer Services, who apparently are the underwriter for Palmer Administrative Services. Wow. This couldn’t get any more tangled if someone threw a dozen shoelaces in the washing machine.
I then inform Tony that I’ve been part of the Do Not Call Registry for the past twelve years. And that my number should NEVER have come up as part of their cold-calling scheme. Tony now knows he’s lost a sale and he’s backpedaling like crazy. He can’t get off the phone fast enough. He swears to me that his company won’t ever call me again.
Right. And monkeys might fly out of my tush.
Hmm… Palmer Administrative Services. Better give them a call. I can’t kill one snake and have five show up at the funeral.
Dialing. I get a recording. “Thank you for calling the administrative offices of your vehicle service agreement. Please note, this call may be recorded for quality assurance. If you know your party’s extension, you may enter it at any time…”
“The call may be recorded for quality assurance…” Of course I am. Oh, you meant YOU were recording the call? Ha ha… you think…
Now I’m speaking with someone named Joe. I tell Joe that I’ve been receiving phone cold call telemarketing from spoofed phone numbers for the past two days.
Joe says he’ll manually put my number on Palmer Administrative Service’s Do Not Call list. He swears he’ll do it. I’ll never receive another call from Palmer Administrative Services, or any company associated with them.
Okay. And I take him at his word.
That was back in March.
Let’s now travel in time to May 10, 2016.
My phone is ringing. And there’s a call from Saratoga Springs. I don’t know who’s calling me from Saratoga Springs… “Hello?”
Line is dead.
Must have missed the call. One quick redial and –
“Thank you for returning our call. If you would no longer like to receive updates or special offers, press 2 now to be removed from our list. If you would like to speak with a specialist, please press 1. Thank you and have a great day.”
Damn it. It’s the old “We’ll call you and hang up, and when you call us back, we’ve got you snagged” trick.
Okay. Let’s see who’s on the other end of this little phone call.
“Thank you for calling Auto Protection Department, this is Jerome, how may I help you?”
I just received a phone call from this number – ”
“2006 Chevy Cobalt, do you still own it, Mr. Miller?”
Seriously? This guy’s more aggressive than a cornered skunk.
Oh, and by the way, you think that what they’re offering are warranties. They’re not. Companies like Palmer Administrative Services call these little treasures “Vehicle Service Contracts,” which really don’t do anything more than sound important. Heck, I can have a Vehicle Service Contract with my gas station to make sure that the gasoline at the pumps isn’t filled with bubble bath or chocolate sauce.
But Jerome puts me in touch with a Chevy specialist. Right. Even money says this Chevy specialist probably drives a Hyundai.
I am put in touch with Evan. He’s already got the hard-sell on. I ask what company he’s with.
Phone hangs up. One question and he cuts bait.
Oh no you don’t. You ain’t dropping me like burnt noodles. Hell to the no!
I immediately call back. I wonder how the Fallops tube on my Cobalt is doing these days… I hear that the Fallops Tube makes a vas deferens in my car’s performance.
I hear another snippet of Fur Elise, and a bwoop sound effect that alerts me to my call going over some VoIP conduit. Jerome is back. He apologizes for the call ending earlier, and promises to connect me to the best Chevrolet specialist in his company.
I ask who is the company that is involved in this cold call.
“What company are you with?”
This is for extensions, but it’s the high quality vehicle protection call center, the actual administrator would be Palmer Administration.”
Okay, so long as it’s – Palmer Administrative Services? I’m still on the calling list? But Joe swore to me I would be removed from the list! He swore to me! I took him at his word!! If you can’t trust a telemarketer, who can you trust these days? Quel Courage!!
All right, sunshine… one final test to see if this still holds up. I just want to see if your company covers that Fallops tube that encases my drive shaft. Again.
I tell them, “This is a tube that encases the drive shaft to avoid things like temperature fluctuations.”
“Yes, that should be covered …”
He puts me on hold to check. A new person comes back and introduces himself as James. And the discussion turns toward me signing up for the vehicle service contract. I continue to steer it towards the Fallops tube. I describe the Fallops tube’s workings and necessities… I describe it so well, I could actually steer the car into Gas Monkey Garage and Richard Rawlings would be paying me top dollar for a car with an intact Fallops Tube.
“Will the Fallops Tube be covered?” I ask.
“Yeah,” he says. Got him.
I ask him if this vehicle service contract is honored at any repair shop. He tells me I can take it to any GM certified repair shop. This is interesting, since a couple of weeks ago, I called DePaula Chevrolet and asked if they honored these vehicle service contracts. They said they did not.
Yeah. I’m not paying good money for bad coverage.
At this point, I’m just going to ask stupid questions until he gets frustrated and hangs up. Because the longer he stays on this call with me, the less likely he will be able to siphon someone else’s hard-earned cash. And when I get to the part about asking for a sportscar rental when my Cobalt is in the shop… and I ask how Palmer Administrative Services got my number… he must have had other things to take care of. He hung up.
Aww, and he was being such a good sport…
Now, before any of you say, “Yeah, right, Chuck, this is all a bunch of fiction, NOBODY would be that clueless as to take you off their Do Not Call list and then call you again. You must have made it up. Audio or it didn’t happen.”
Ask and you shall receive. Here’s both sets of calls – the one in March and the one on May 10. Obviously Palmer Administrative Services has no concept of the “do not call” list, and their people would sell me a vehicle service contract to something that sounds like the punchline to a sixth grade dirty joke if it meant signing me up for a rapacious vehicle service contract – a contract that provides very little service.
That’s right, kids. Thirty minutes and four phone calls, all stitched together for your listening entertainment. Bring the popcorn.
So here’s the deal. Palmer Administrative Services. Pay attention.
Do not call me ever again.
Do not have any of your associated companies call me ever again.
Because if you do call me again…
A few things.
First, I will record the conversation, using the proprietary recording software on my BlackBerry PRIV smart phone. You can see from above … I’m very capable of doing this. In New York State, it is legal to record a telephone conversation so long as one party is aware that the call is recorded. Guess what. I’m aware. Don’t go down that route with me about privacy… you’ve already invaded MY privacy by calling me and trying to suck money out of my wallet.
Next, I will keep your telemarketers on the phone for as long as possible; I know that if you can’t clear a call within eight minutes, that’s some other customer that you can’t scam or swindle.
Next, I will ask if your company insures made-up phony parts. I will bamboozle you with baffling bull, just to prove that your telemarketers can’t navigate past a script, and wouldn’t know a crankshaft from a gearshift, or a MacPherson Strut from a Ric Flair Strut.
And finally, I will post the audio from our conversation on YouTube and on my blog, just to shine the light on you little cockroaches. And a link to the Better Business Bureau and to the Ripoff Report will also be forthcoming. They would be THRILLED to hear that companies willingly and admittedly violate the Do Not Call Registry. It might be fine for them – bit it will definitely be FINES for you.
I will do this. And don’t think I won’t.
It is a very bad idea to call Chuck Miller’s bluff.
So make like Tiger Woods’ secret girlfriend and take my name out of your phone.