Jun 05

The end of Rachel at Cardholder Services’ road?

Editor’s note: This is the last of four parts about the annoying “Rachel” from Cardholder Services telemarketing calls. You can find part one here, part two here, and part three here.

So, by now we have a good understanding about what I suspect makes “Rachel” work, the players behind her, and how to fight back, but the question remains, what is it going to take to put her out of our misery once and for all?

Gavel

What is the Government doing with the ‘Do Not Call’ list reports?

Over the last several years, there are a number of things that has had a backlash against “Rachel”, although it doesn’t seem to slow her down too much.

  • As I stated in the first part, the Federal Communications Commission issued a citation against Cardholder Services, and effectively shut them down in March 2007.
  • North Carolina’s Attorney General won a permanent injunction in April 2009 against Possibilities Unlimited, with a $572,000 settlement.
  • The Federal Trade Commission adopted new rules on robocalls that went into effect on September 1st, 2009.
  • The FTC settled with Economic Relief Technologies for more than $25 million in July 2010.
  • JPM Accelerated Services met the wrath of the FTC in February 2011, to the tune of $5.9 Million
  • In June 2011, Dynamic Financial Resolutions reached a settlement with the FTC for $3.4 Million.
  • As I reported in January, Castle Rock Capital Management had a complaint issued by the FTC in December 2011. The case is still in district court, awaiting further dates.
  • The FCC issued updated “robocall” rules on February 15th, 2012 requiring that telemarketers must offer an automated “opt-out” mechanism during each call, eliminating the “established business relationship” exemption, and now requiring prior express written consent to allowing robocalls.
  • The FTC filed a Complaint and settled with VoiceBlaze on February 24th, 2012, resulting in a $1 Million fine for the company, and $10,000 fine against each owner.
  • February 2012 also brought a case against Voice Marketing by the FTC, settling with a $2 Million fine, as well as $10,000 fine for the owner.
  • SBN Peripherals and Asia-Pacific Telecom operations were closed by the FTC in March 2012, concluding a 21 month case with $5.3 million in fines.
  • Castle Rock Capital Management was also fined $945,000 by the Mississippi Public Service Commission on May 8th, 2012.

“Rachel” shows no signs of stopping though, based on the number of complaints found by a Google Search, or the number of hits on my story in January.

That is why I think there’s something more to “Rachel” than just a bunch of companies…

Medusa

Greek Mythology describes Medusa as having snakes for hair and a face that could turn mortals to stone.

MedusaIn the case of “Rachel”, we know there are multiple players identified as being the parties involved.  The problem is, using the estimates I gave in part two, is there enough money in this business to support all of them by the time the equipment costs, staff costs and recurring operating costs added in?

What if, each of these companies were just operating the boiler rooms, and a central company incurred the costs of the predictive dialer and VoIP services? Each of the boiler rooms would pay a small amount back to the central company for having the calls sent their way, which in turn pays the central company’s bills.

The central company could have formed out of the remains of the original “Cardholder Services” after the Federal Communications Commission shut them down in 2007.  The equipment was likely transferred into this new company, which explains the continuing use of “Rachel” and the name “Cardholder Services”

The fact that the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission have shut down some of these operations, yet it doesn’t seem to faze the call volume – much like they took and cut off one of the snakes on Medusa’s head.  Medusa is still alive, and there’s a potential that another snake will grow to replace the one we cut off.

If that is the case, the only way to stop “Rachel” would be to go for the predictive dialers and seize them – much like how Perseus beheaded Medusa to kill her. Without the predictive dialers, and the central company under an injunction, the players would have no way of surviving, and would die off naturally.

Even if it is proven a central company doesn’t exist, the DOJ and FTC need to mandate the companies surrender the predictive dialers, as they are illegal since they fail to confirm numbers against the “do not call” lists. Without getting the dialers out of circulation, there is no way to verify that they are not just being moved to a new facility and put back into service by a “new” company.

Conclusion

The fight to stop “Rachel” will be a long and tedious one. It is going to take patience on our part, along with the hard work of the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice to continue to strip away at her, one player at a time. The war could end tomorrow, or years from now, but it will end.

And like all wars, it will take time for the warriors to be victorious.

Needless to say, some other scam will probably come along to take her place and separate people from their hard-earned money, as well as exposing them to identity theft.

Permanent link to this article: http://onthespotblog.com/the-end-of-rachel-at-cardholder-services-road/

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