Score One for the Good Guys!

March 12, 2014

One of the most consistent complaints we receive at BBB is from frustrated consumers who receive repeated annoying calls from sales organizations despite being registered on the Do Not Call list. There are so many violations of those rules, particularly targeting seniors, it is difficult to track down and stop.  It is reassuring when the Federal Trade Commission successfully deals with a company that violates the Do Not Call Registry rules on a large scale.  Versatile Marketing Solutions, a seller of home security and monitoring systems,made more than two million calls to consumers to try to sell home security goods and services. Of those calls, at least one million were to phone numbers listed on the DNC Registry, and more than 100,000 were to consumers who had previously told VMS not to call them again.

The Court Order as a result of FTC enforcement, imposes a $3.4 million penalty judgment against the defendants, however they could only find $320,700 in assets to collect. The entire amount will become due if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.  VMS has been ordered to avoid further violations of the Do Not Call rules or face further enforcement actions.

VMS bought phone numbers from "lead" generator companies that blasted illegal robocalls and fake home security survey calls to identify homeowners who didn't already have a security system installed in their homes. The sales leads were obtained by illegal means through rampant use of robocalls from "Tom with Home Protection," fake survey calls, and calls to phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry.

BBB Advice When You Receive Unwanted Calls:  File a complaint with the National Do Not Call Registry.

  • If you get a sales call after your number has been on the list for 31 days, complain to, or call 1-888-382-1222.
  • If you answer a telemarketing call, don't give out your personal or financial information. Don't divulge information about whether you own your home, what you have in your home, alternate phone numbers, your birth date, social security number, or credit card or bank account information.
  • Hang up on any robocalls. If you answer a robocall, don't respond to any automated instructions. In particular, don't press any numbers, even if they say it is to get more information. Doing so may be taken as "consent" to use and sell your phone number to another company.