It’s been four months since the Albany Times Union and I parted company, and I left their blogging portal. In those four months, I’ve continued to write and blog and photograph, and I’ve moved toward new goals and new pursuits – as well as a new audience.
But lately I’ve received several phone calls from the Times Union.
And I’m not happy with the calls.
Let me explain.
Last week, the caller ID on my phone registered a 518-776-1010 telephone number. Local call. Didn’t recognize it. Picked up the phone.
Oh crap. I know that sound. Another telemarketer. Okay, I get it, what’s it going to be this time, the IRS has a faux judgment on me, Windows Technical Support found a faux virus on my computer, I just won a faux vacation to a timeshare, someone wants to offer a faux after-market vehicle service contract to a car I used to own, a lot of phony phone folks trying to faux me over… wish I could just tell them all to go faux themselves…
“Hi, I’m calling from the Albany Times Union, and we’re conducting a survey and would like to ask you a few questions.”
What? Fine, fine, wasn’t expecting an exit interview four months after we parted ways … okay. Go ahead and ask me the questions.
“Okay, first question, how do you prefer to receive your news, in print or digitally?”
“And do you own an iPad or tablet device?”
“That’s great, and for participating in our survey, we’d like to provide you with a 13-week subscription to the Sunday edition of the Times Union.”
“No thanks. Give it to someone else. Please don’t call me any more.” I hung up.
Yeah, I know they were going to offer it for free for 13 weeks, but I know this game. I used to be a member of the Columbia Record and Tape Club back in the day, so I know that you get NOTHING for free. And even if you think you can cancel the subscription after 13 weeks, there’s always a way that these companies can suck you in and never let you go.
I figured the call was done and over.
A few days later, I received another phone call from that number. I picked up. Same schpiel. I didn’t have time for this. I hung up.
Last Tuesday, I received another phone call from that number. I picked up. Yep. Another survey. Same two questions. Same offer for a voucher for 13 free weeks of the Times Union’s Sunday edition.
I said I wasn’t interested.
The response back from the telemaketer? “Well, if you weren’t interested, you should have told me before taking the survey, it’s not polite for you to waste my time.”
Um… you called me and you say I wasted YOUR time? After I told your telemarketing company to STOP CALLING ME??
And before someone says to me, “Hey Chuck, pics or it didn’t happen…”
Here’s a screenshot from my cell phone. There’s your pic.
See? Three calls in a week’s time from that (518-776-1010) telephone number. And after I told them not to call me any more. In fact, I had to program the name “Times Union Telemarketer” into my BlackBerry Caller ID just to warn me of their presence.
Right now, the Times Union – or whatever telemarketing company they’re contracting their work out to – made several mistakes.
- They called my cell phone to try to sell me something, which is a violation of 47 U.S.C. 227(b)(1)(A)(iii) of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
- They called me while I was on the Do Not Call Registry, which is a violation of 47 C.F.R. 64.1200(c)(2), and be aware that once my number is on the Do Not Call Registry, my appearance on that list does not expire.
- I also asked the telemarketing company not to call me the first time, and they continued to call, which is a violation of 16 C.F.R 310.4(b)(iii)(A).
And if I wanted to, I could sue and claim up to $500 per violation. There’s three phone calls right on that screenshot, at up to $500 per call.
So take a listen, Times Union. And I know you can see this post, your IP address has shown up in my stat-metrics program, so someone from your organization has been lurking and viewing my blog.
Please have your telemarketing companies remove my name from your telemarketing calls. Scrub my phone number off your lists. You have my number already, so let your telemarketing company know that I am not interested in buying a subscription to your newspaper. If I’m that desperate to get a print copy of the TU, I’ll go to the local convenience store and buy a copy off the rack.
Because if I continue to receive telemarketing calls from your company, I will chronicle these calls – including recording them – and repost them on this blog. This is not an idle threat. Regular readers of my blog know that I’ve recorded telemarketer calls and spammer calls and swindler calls and clowned them on this blog.
I don’t need a subscription to the Times Union. No thank you. And continuing to call me over and over again isn’t going to change my mind.
You go your way, and I’ll go mine. Vaya con dios.