Mey to Xentel: Don't call

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As a consumer who doesn't care to get telemarketing calls, I appreciated some of the New Year's resolutions proposed in a January DM News editorial by Tim Searcy of the American Teleservices Association: "Stop pretending we don't know our consumers are angry" and "Ensure you collect the data necessary to begin a dialogue for change."

On more occasions than I can remember, I've recited the mantra "Put me on your do-not-call list" - words that are supposed to put an end to telemarketing calls. Apparently, Direct Marketing Association member Xentel doesn't understand them because the Florida-based company continued to call my house after hearing me recite them on numerous occasions.

After call No. 5, during which the telemarketer was rude and hung up on me, I got irritated enough to do some investigating which lead to the revelation that officials in Iowa, South Carolina, Missouri and Colorado have all taken legal action against the company for questionable telemarketing practices.

When Xentel called me, I made it perfectly clear I wanted my phone number added to both Xentel's as well as the client's suppression list. I didn't learn until later that it's Xentel's policy to disregard the first part of that request, even when it's clear the consumer doesn't want Xentel to call back for any client.

It was only after I wrote and threatened a lawsuit did Xentel agree to add my phone number to a company-wide suppression list. And it was only then that Xentel agreed to take the action that was necessary to prevent calls on behalf of all the clients "which the company now or in the future represents in West Virginia."

Although I can't be certain, I think Mr. Searcy probably had telemarketers like Xentel in mind when he penned his editorial. The one thing I can be certain of is that Xentel leaves consumers like me angry, and with no other choice but to learn a new mantra: "Stop calling or I'll sue."

Diana Mey

Wheeling, WV

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