Monday, September 24, 2007

WorldWebPages telemarketing scam scammed me. I hate that they scammed me, because I think I'm pretty good at resisting telemarketing techniques. Here's what happened. Beware.

Around August 27th, 2007, they called our small business with the pretense that they were updating a directory at the request of our phone company, Verizon. Then they asked if I had the authority to make billing decisions. I said yes, because I thought I would save my boss some time. I was assured that I had to go through a recorded voice-mail session to be out of their database so they wouldn't call anymore. The recorded script said that I was signing up for a service, some kind of web site or web listing, which was free for the first month, but there-after cost $9.95 to set up and $34.95/month, charged to our phone bill! The first time through I said "no, I don't authorize this", and then hung up when the marketer tried to convince me I should complete it. He called back, and assured me that I was not signing up for anything, that they would fax us information about the service that we would have to confirm, and that the fax would be sent immediately. I wrote down two phone numbers, one that was supposed to allow me to immediately cancel this service. I told him I would complete the voice-mail recording only with the understanding the I didn't want to sign up for the service, and that I wasn't signing up for the service. Against my better judgment, I completed the voice-mail session the second time, and said "yes, I authorize". I got a confirmation number.

I immediately regretted it, and my blood pressure rose each time I thought about the calls. I waited a day or two, no fax. So I called the cancellation number. It was disconnected, invalid. I called the customer service number. It immediately dumped me to a "all agents are busy, please leave your name, company and phone number so we can get back to you", without identifying the company. I chose not to leave a message. At this point, I had no idea who the company was who had called. I searched for the phone number, 888-244-6692, without success. So I let it alone.

Today September 24, 2007, we received our "welcome letter", telling me that I had signed up for a web-site with, and that our trial period would run from Sept 3 to Oct 3. So in 9 days, they would charge us $45, for a service the telemarketer said I had not signed up for. I had to hand the letter to my boss so he could write a letter that said stop all services immediately, and don't charge us anything. Very embarrassing.

I believe that my boss is filing a complaint with our Attorney General. For now, I figure a post like this might do more good. If you have had experience with these people, I would appreciate hearing from you.

FWIW, they did put up a completely generic web site that says we deliver products and services, and that we are #1 in our industry. So they delivered a service. It's not one that I would value at $34.95/month. If they retract the site without charging us money, then the company is doing what its recorded voice-mail system said it would. However, the tactics and dishonesty of the telemarketer that brow-beat me on the phone are inexcusable. On that basis, I encourage you to avoid, and perhaps file a complaint if you are similarly treated.


Update: My boss got a call to confirm that we were discontinuing our service. Yep. We await our next phone bill with trepidation.
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