May 25, 2009

Telemarketing company allegedly hid name

Telemarketers for a Florida company accused of violating consumer laws by using robocalls were urged to never mention its name, a former employee says.

Transcontinental Warranty Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., had been slapped with a restraining order by a U.S. District Judge in Chicago after a Federal Trade Commission investigation determined it had used such illegal robocalls and made misrepresentations in selling its car warranty products. A former employee told Monday's Los Angeles Times that telemarketers were instructed never to reveal the company's name to angry consumers.

I understood it to be an acceptable practice at Transcontinental to say whatever was necessary to get the consumer to divulge his or her credit card number, said Mark Israel, who worked the evening shift with about 30 other operators. Telemarketers were only disciplined for disclosing Transcontinental's name.

The FTC alleges the company made illegal random automated cold calls while pretending to know something specific about the consumers' car warranties when they responded.

It was never, nor does it remain now our position that we have knowingly violated the best practices of telemarketing, Transcontinental Chairman Chistopher Cowart told the Times in a prepared statement.