Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Rachel from Cardholder Services

I just got an especially annoying telephone call. I answered the phone and was immediately greeted by a recorded voice, identified as "Rachel from Cardholder Services," telling me that it is urgent that I contact them immediately to find out how I can lower the interest rate on my credit card debt. She went on a bit, explaining that I was only eligible if I owe more than $2,500, and finally telling me to press 1 to speak to a live operator or press 3 to discontinue further notices.

The entire call was illegal on three principal grounds:

  • I have no pre-existing business relationship to "Rachel," and my phone number is on the national Do Not Call list. (16 CFR Part 310)

  • The call began with a recorded message, rather than with a live human being asking my permission to play a recorded message. (Title 47, United States Code, Section 227(b)(1)(B))

  • The recorded message did not state clearly the identity, the telephone number, or the address of the business, individual, or other entity initiating the call. (Title 47, United States Code, Section 227(d)(3)(A)(i and ii))
There is no possibility that the caller could deny that the violation was intentional and willful; thus, if I ever find out who is behind "Rachel," I am automatically entitled to $1,500 in statutory damages. And if I ever catch a leprechaun, I'll make him give me his pot of gold.

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Update: 2007-05-23, received another call from Michelle at Cardholder Services, no caller ID, pressing 8 to be taken off the list was an "invalid option."

Update 2008-03-13: there is a new blog devoted just to our good friends with "Cardholder Services," "Account Services," or whatever they're calling themselves this week. It's called "Stopping Heather with Account Services"