69 entries categorized "Telemarketers"

Foxtel - Most Aggressive & Persistent Telemarketers of All

Got some more calls today from (03) 8325 0909.

If that number sounds familiar, it's because I've written about them here on the blog before.

Though, if you have caller ID, you may have seen it come up on your phone display after answering a call and discovering no-one is there.

Actually, if you EVER get a call and no-one is there, do a 'call back' to get the missed call number and it will most likely be (03) 8325 0909.

There are pages and pages of complaints about this phone number all over the internet.

Many of the people who are repeatedly called by (03) 8325 0909 are on the DO NOT CALL REGISTER and they have complained to the authorities but this same marketing technique on behalf of Foxtel just goes on and on as it has since at least 2009.

What gets me the most is the fact that the DO NOT CALL people have done nothing about it. I guess, just like Consumer Affairs and other government bodies, they're all talk and no action.

No matter what kind of a deal Foxtel offers me, I won't be purchasing simply because of their use of this invasive marketing technique.

The Victorian Tourism Centre - took them long enough...

The Age yesterday and The Herald Sun this morning reported that 'The Victorian Tourism Centre' and it's sole director Stephen Glenister has finally faced prosecution in The Supreme Court.

The story states that the VTC "misled customers between 2007 and 2009". (To be more accurate, we first encountered them and wrote about them on the blog in 2006 and they were still ripping people off in Feb 2010.)

The story says that "1200 angry customers" called Consumer Affairs Victoria to complain. (I'd suggest there was a much larger number of people who simply didn't bother, as Consumer Affairs simply did nothing about it.)

But here's the most astonishing part of the story. Though it's clearly established that The Victorian Tourism Centre was selling discount accommodation vouchers to hotels who knew nothing about it (ie: a scam) they have not been prosecuted for that! 

Stephen Glenister's biggest crime seems to have been that he falsely gained credibility "by claiming an association with the government". (How about all the solar panel telemarketers who claim they are calling on behalf of the Australian Government?)

Stephen Glenister's big punishment was that he was "banned from representing companies to be associated with or represented by the State government."

Back in 2008 we reported that he was forced to change his name from 'The Victorian Tourism Centre' to 'Make My Holidays'.

Seeing that he also runs The Getaways Group and several other companies selling the exact same fake voucher scam, I don't think this punishment even amounts to a slap on the wrist. Even when his business was physically shutdown in 2008, while he "pursued legal action against the government" he still continued to operate.

Oh, and he was also ordered to refund the money of 6 customers. 


Out of 1,200 official complaints to Consumer Affairs Victoria. Ater reading CAV's own description of their role they seem to be failing miserably in this specific case.

Interestingly, searching the CAV's site I came up with this article. It seems that the court case reported in the papers today actually happened on Dec 9 last year! Why is it only just being reported now, over a month later?


ADVICE FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE BEEN RIPPED OFF BY VICTORIAN TOURISM CENTRE OR ANY OTHER TELEMARKETING SCAM - obviously it's pointless calling the ACCC, CAV, the police or trying to take them to court - this is pretty much your only course of action:

"Had a similar experience to some of you. I contacted consumer affairs (VIC) who told me that there is a standard cooling off period of 14 days which applies to tele-sales. If you are not notified of the cooling off period then you have an indefinite cooling off period. I returned my vouchers via registered post with a letter outling his breach, and detailing the number of times I had attempted to contact him. I also contacted my credit card provider who reversed the transaction. The onus was on him to try and prove that he was entitled to the money. I got my money back and never heard anything further. Same as Michelle I contacted the travel organisations he was supposedly dealing with and was also surprised to fund that some had cut ties. Every dog has its day."

A good business tip for Foxtel

Yesterday I got a few calls where there seemed to be no-one on the line. I called back a few times and the same thing happened. The number was 03 8235 0909 so I googled it and discovered it's a telemarketing number Foxtel has been using for over a year.

According to my research, they use a computer to call you and, if you call back, they now know the times you'll be home and when best to have a telemarketer call you.

Sure enough, today I got a call from Foxtel.

But here's the most ridiculous thing.

A month ago I called Foxtel to cancel my service. I explained they keep putting the price up to justify adding more channels for premium packages. People on basic packages like me, are paying more and getting nothing extra. When I spoke to the Foxtel cancellation man he was most sympathetic. He said they are getting a lot of customers cancelling and expect quite a few more.

However, he didn't, at any stage in the conversation offer me an incentive to stay with them or even say anything positive about Foxtel.

So they sent me out a mailing kit so I could post all the Foxtel equipment back to them at their expense.

Now, after my Foxtel has been disconnected for a week, they're calling me with special discounted offers if I sign up with them again.

That demonstration of inefficient business practice alone is enough reason to not to.

Cold Callers

You may remember there was a company called 'Dotcom Chrome' cold calling people a while ago with a "fixed price, 24/7, guaranteed placement AdWords campaign". 

Now another company, 'Wisdek', is doing the rounds, calling people in Aus offering the exact same "deal". Like Dotcom Chrome there are dozens of threads out there with customers complaining about how they got ripped off.

From the Google Adwords Help Archive "Here's a rule that you can count on: any person or company that promises you any particular position, whether in the unpaid search 
results or within AdWords ad, is misleading you."

There are also dozens of complaints about Wisdek in the Google AdWords Help Forum too, yet strangely enough, Wisdek is still a certified Google AdWords partner.

Be warned.


So the question is... do you really have to be nice to them?

The other day, after I had yet another Telemarketer hang up on me, Sue-Anne said "You probably made her cry." She reminded me of the film 'Slumdog Millionaire' and how most of the Telemarketing people in India are lucky to have a job at all.

Now, I have nothing against these people personally. I don't even know them. But I do know they are trained to lie to us.

They call us at the most inconvenient times. They lie about their location. They lie about the fact they are not selling anything. They lie about the products they sell us. 

This latest one told me she was calling on behalf of the Federal Government's such-and-such scheme. (I corrected her and told her that she was calling on behalf of a company wanting to cash in on the Federal Government's such-and-such scheme and she shouldn't lie to people like that... that's when she hang up).

My parents are generally much more polite, like many people of their generation, and they will listen to the spiel and try to wait for a gap in the monologue before saying "No thankyou, I'm not interested." Then the Telemarketer's training kicks in and they launch into another spiel about how they should be interested.

Yes, these people are only human, and should be treated with respect, but the very job they are doing strips them of respect.

I know so many people who have been polite, and ended up scammed by these Telemarketers - or to be more precise, their employers.

So what do you think? 

Be polite and say "No" knowing full well they will just continue talking over the top of you?

Listen to their spiel and, in the process, risk being sucked into it?

Chat with them until they hang up on you? (My preference).

Slam the phone down in mid conversation? (As they have to me quite frequently).


Dotcom Chrome is dead, or are they...?

You may recall the massive Telemarketing scam operated by Dotcom Chrome.

Well as you can see from their website - they seem to have shut up shop - which must be quite a shock for their hundreds (or thousands) of customers.

Not surprising though, when they got this many complaints.

And if you go to their main site and try to click on any one of their many international offices, you'll get nowhere.

But have they really closed down?

This operation, called Dotcom Platinum, looks embarrassingly similar to the Dotcom Chrome website. They even have the address and the same company director.

Not that I'm suggesting this happened... but just like a Phoenix rises from the ashes, a dodgy company threatened with lawsuits will simply declare bankruptcy and start again with a new name.

The Taxation Examiner

There's another telemarketing scam going around at the moment, and I'm sure many of you will have had a call from 'The Taxation Examiner'.


I got one the other day, with the caller insisting I need to subscribe to their newsletter because of the massive tax savings I'll be able to make. 

You can guess my response...

However, one person I know was more polite and agreed to receive their free information for consideration.

It arrived in the post and he put it aside to look at later. Later was about a month. When he opened it he discovered an invoice inside with a letter saying he had 14 days to assess the information and, if he didn't return it within two weeks, it meant that he agreed to subscribe for a year and needed to pay the invoice within 30 days.

This is a standard scam and just another idea why you should never be nice to telemarketers. 

Just to add confusion to the issue 'The Taxation Examiner' has a page on their website warning people about telemarketers claiming to be from their company... when they're not.

Very bizarre. Read the full explanation here and hang up on a telemarketer today!

"We're with the Government.."

Yesterday I had a Telemarketer call from some energy assessment bureau who claimed to be working hand in hand "with the Government."

They were offering a free energy assessment of my home. Any day of the week, 7am to 10pm, only takes 2 hours for the average home - "and I see you live in a unit so it shouldn't take very long at all. I assume it's quite small."

Once the assessor finishes assessing my energy use he would then send me a report telling me the steps I can take to minimise my energy wastage.

Hmmm... I wonder if he would also recommend certain companies to do the work too?

A quick google search sheds more like on this scheme:

1. a FREE home sustainability assessment & report (valued at over $250)
2. access to a
Green Loans subsidy provided by participating financial institutions to cover four years of interest for bor rowing up to $10,000 to buy and install green products (Obligation Free).

Sounds a lot like the government insulation scam... I mean scheme... that worked sooo well.

So, if I may be so bold as to suggest what's going on here: A company that sells "green" products for homes hires its own "independent assessors" to visit homes and make recommendations. The government pays for the assessments, thus costing the company nothing, and the assessor makes lots of recommendations as to how the home owner can spend every cent of their Green Loan with the company.

The Telemarketer was shocked that I didn't want a free assessment. "But it's FREE!" So it sounds like they must be doing a roaring trade.

Bottom line, if people are phoning you to sell (or even give stuff away) at random, JUST SAY NO!

Even if they say they are "with the Government".


You need to read this report here as I just did. I was right. It's the insulation scheme all over again. Though it seems I may be wrong about the assessors recommending certain companies. It looks like the scam is the assessments themselves!

" I am also aware, for example, that Fieldforce is using telemarketing companies to cold call and canvass businesses. That was not part of the rules. The assessors were told that they were not allowed to do that. Assessors have now become so desperate that they are buying bookings from the telemarketers."

Getaways Downunder, Victorian Tourism Centre etc etc

We are STILL receiving emails from people being scammed by these fake holiday travel vouchers (and we are STILL getting faxes from the same companies offering them to us!)

The real question is - WHY isn't OUR government doing ANYTHING to protect us from them or, better still, CLOSE THEM DOWN? They've now been operating for several years and no doubt the ACCC, ASIC and SCAMWATCH have been innundated with complaints (as has the real Victorian Tourism Centre) but still NOTHING has been done.

At least in New Zealand, where these scams also occur, they warned consumers with a press article about it back in 2008 -  CLICK HERE TO READ.

The government can't claim ignorance about these voucher scams, they even explain how they work here on the SCAMWATCH website, but despite their request that we report the matter to the ACCC - STILL NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE TO STOP THEM!

Getaways Downder, Make My Holidays, Freedom Escapes, etc... are STILL in business, still flogging useless holiday vouchers by fax and though Scamwatch knows exactly what's going on the ACCC lets them continue undeterred.