BBB offers tips on dealing with marketing calls and mail

  
     
September 04, 2013

 

The Better Business Bureau of Acadiana receives thousands of phone calls and emails each month, with many of them concerning telemarketing or direct mail of some sort. Not all telemarketing is bogus or a fraud; many legitimate businesses make sales presentations over the phone.

The Direct Marketing Association — a trade association for businesses and nonprofit organizations that send direct mail — wants to advance and protect the responsible use of data-driven marketing wherever it is practiced, in the U.S. and around the world.

DMA member companies must follow the DMA member guidelines, including honoring a consumer’s request to be removed from future mailings.

According to the company last year, more than 70 percent of Americans shopped direct. More than 80 percent of U.S. households read some or all of their advertising mail. And nonprofit organizations raised nearly $200 billion from generous donors through direct mail.

Direct mail is only successful if you’re interested in the types of mail you’re receiving. The company provides “DMAchoice” to help you get more of the mail you want and less of what you don’t. For more information go to dmachoice.org.

Lately, we have been receiving numerous calls concerning a telemarketing “pitch” concerning the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles. The Better Business Bureau of Acadiana is warning residents of the telephone marketing scheme from callers claiming to be from the state agency.

BBB has received several calls from consumers as well as two local insurance agencies on the calls, which are originating from an Internet (VOIP) phone number that consumers report is originating from New Iberia.

Some consumers have reported the callers claim to be from the “Insurance Placement Center” after claiming affiliation with the Office of Motor Vehicles

One local insurance agency reported Friday that their customers are also being told that their premiums are past due and the callers are requesting financial information.

This telephone call is not affiliated with the Office of Motor Vehicles or the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections.

The Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles does require residents have vehicles insured before completing many transactions but does not call anyone to offer assistance with lower insurance rates.

BBB is recommending that consumers receiving this call ask to be removed from their call list and not provide any personal information such as addresses, alternate phone numbers, banking information or driver’s license numbers.

Although there is currently no sure way for consumers to stop these calls, Better Business Bureau recommends:

 

          Keep your number to yourself. Any time you divulge your telephone number to a retailer, financial institution or other business, it is a tacit invitation for them to call that number or sell it to a third party.

          By law, telemarketers must tell you if it’s a sales call, the name of the seller and what they are selling before they make their pitch. It’s illegal for telemarketers to misrepresent any information or facts about their goods or services. Unfortunately unscrupulous business frequently do not follow the law.

          Hang up right away. Recorded marketing (robo) calls typically begin with a second or two of silence. There is nothing to gain from attempting to reason with the people behind the calls.

          Speak with your telephone provider to see if it can provide free blocking services for annoying telemarketing calls. Unfortunately, the telephone number displayed on caller ID may not always be legitimate. It may be spoofed or cloned by the caller.

          If the call is a recording, do not press 1 or any other numerals to “get yourself off the list.” By pressing a number, you are confirming that someone is actually responding to the call and you will likely receive more of them and it is possible that name will be sold to other telemarketing companies.

          Consider registering your home and cellphone numbers with the National Do Not Call Registry. The web address is donotcall.gov and the phone number is (888)-382-1222.

          Start with Trust®. Check with the BBB before doing business.

 

The BBB of Acadiana works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.

 

The BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.

 

Acadiana residents can now have BBB information in the palm of their hand with the official BBB Search app, a convenient, mobile BBB solution available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The app can be found at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bbb-search-find-local-businesses/id440014505?mt=8.

 

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