Look at the gleam in this guy’s eyes…
So if you click this link you’ll have an opportunity to watch a news segment regarding a guy in Winton-Salem who is opening a bar–called the “wrong number”–using money he obtained from TCPA settlements:
This is a pretty remarkable story. And I know most folks in TCPAWorld will be quick to jump all over the guy–he’s plainly a repeat litigator and maybe he set up his lawsuits–I think everyone would do well to listen to the words used by the reporters in this story.
“LIKE SO MANY OF US, OMAR GETS A CALL, AFTER CALL FROM TELEMARKETERS…”
“I GET SO MANY PHONE CALLS EVERY DAY FOR CAR WARRANTIES OR DEBT RELIEF OR STUDENT LOANS, WHATEVER IT IS THEY ARE TRYING TO SELL. LIFE INSURANCE..”
“HE HAD A LITTLE MORE TIME ON HIS HANDS TO HANDLE THE CALLS, THAT NONE OF US ENJOY RECEIVING.”
” I STARTED ANSWERING THE CALLS AND TALKING TO THEM AND ANSWERING THEIR QUESTIONS ENOUGH TO FIGURE OUT WHO THEY ARE, AND THEN I WAS ABLE TO GO AFTER THEM.”
“DRINKS ON THE MENU WILL INCLUDE NAMES LIKE CAR WARRANTY AND DEBT RELIEF.”
Its pretty plain that the calls this guy is complaining about are not scam calls but marketing calls, likely made by lead buyers.
This is the press the industry has been absorbing for years. Direct to consumer marketers are making calls that people dread. And this is the reason why so many regulators are coming down on legitimate American businesses instead of trying to chase down the fraudulent (mostly overseas) actors.
I can virtually guarantee that the companies he sued probably did not make the phone calls he was suing for–and if they did it was pursuant to a lead obtained from a third-party. Instead the calls were likely made by lead generators who then transferred him to the ultimate product seller after he feigned interest.
The product sellers obviously do not want to call people who are not actually interested in their products but they often buy leads from companies that are (unbeknownst to the lead buyer) often fraudulently manufacturing the lead or otherwise duping people into signing up and provide consent. Either that or Mr. Omar was entering his number on websites in the hopes of nabbing calls and suing over them–which happens all the time too. All of this is bad bad news.
The sad thing, of course, is that the bulk of the $100k he made off these settlements probably came from the (mostly) innocent companies that never actually made the calls or did so only believing that they had consent to do so.
Either way, this sort of story only underscores the need for REACH–an organization dedicated to assuring unwanted robocalls stop and direct-to-consumer marketers have a little breathing room to operate lawfully.
Here is the stated business purpose on the non-profit application for the new trade organizaion I am submitting:
1. Stopping unwanted robocalls to consumers by imposing standards for the lead generation industry and preventing fraudulent lead sales;
2. Setting best practices for direct to consumer marketing more broadly;
3. Providing advocacy/education in favor of direct-to-consumer marketing and against abusive litigation targeting these companies;
4. Increasing contact rates and lowering carrier resistance to direct to consumer marketing traffic.
For more information watch me break down the entire concept of the new organization in under 2 minutes:
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As for this guy opening up his bar, I know a lot of TCPAWorld dwellers are going to want to burn the place to the ground–it is a temple built to honor TCPA litigants, after all– but I disagree. I view it as a homage to the entire TCPAWorld more broadly and I think the Czar might actually swing by sometime.
But only if there’s a drink named after me on the menu…