There’s a been a lot of talk recently about “inbound leads” in the TCPA world.
As I discussed at contact.io, however, inbound leads pose two significant problems. First, most (but not all) so-called “inbound leads” are actually outbound-to-inbound–meaning somebody first initiated an outbound call or text to the consumer that generated the inbound. And that means the recipient of the inbound call may be stuck with whatever TCPA violation the initiator caused in a vicarious liability theory, merely by answering the phone.
The second issue, of course, is capturing express written consent on an inbound call–which cannot be done very effectively (we’ll leave that discussion for another day.)
Well in Johnson v. Charter Communications, 2022 WL 4285726 (N.D. Al. Sept. 14, 2022) the defendant is facing allegations that a seemingly inbound call was actually the result of an outbound call made by Tranche.
But it gets worse. A lot worse.
Tranche allegedly altered the call recording to make it look like the call came directly from Plaintiff when, in fact, it did not.
An altered call recording is obviously a pretty serious issue since it is an act of fraud–and one that might reflect poorly not just on the lead supplier but on Charter as well.
Notably it looks like Tranche is an off-shore lead supplier. Folks really need to be thoughtful when they rely on off-shore (Pakistan?) lead vendors and call centers. I’m not saying they’re all bad. But, yeah, they’re mostly all bad.
The Plaintiff in Johnson intends to add Tranche to the suit and the Court is allowing the amendment even though it is late in the case. Courts do not like fraud. Not even a little.
Unrelated, if any of you folks are in Vegas this week for insuretech shoot me a note and let’s connect. I’m not on linkedin anymore because it was a lame time suck, but you can shoot a note to Queenie or the Dame, they know how to find me. Email works too.
Why would anybody hire an offshore call center? They are ALL bad news. The average consumer finds telemarketing calls to be offensive; and a telemarketing call from a caller who speaks like they are chewing cud only causes a consumer to NOT want to do business with the identified business.
So…there’s a lot of fraud all over the place with these so called “inbound” calls that businesses supposedly “receive”, particularly in certain segments like tax debt resolution. Look at the ads looking for sales reps for these jobs… they almost all advertise “100% inbound leads” and “no cold calling”. When you actually get one of these calls, it’s always AI or prerecorded, with a pitch and then prompts telling you to press 1 to connect to a live rep. When these reps then get the calls, they believe the person is calling them and usually have no idea that the connection was actually made through an outbound call. I’ve identified multiple companies doing this.
The sadder part of story is that the companies that pay for these “inbound” calls (i.e., the tax debt resolution folks, the Medicare supplement folks, the final expense folks, the auto service contract folks, the alternative energy folks, etc.) all know that these “inbound” calls are being originated with prerecorded messages and to folks on the NDNC, but they deliberately close their eyes to it and pretend it does not happen. When they become the named defendant in a resultant TCPA lawsuit, these same companies then hire the likes of Troutman, who will then threaten the TCPA plaintiff with a “fraud” counterclaim or similar. Talk about blaming the victim! (Sales companies do not like to sue their lead vendors because that would be like biting the hand that feeds them!) Nonetheless, the telemarketers like to play dirty! Troutman keeps boasting he is going to form “R.E.A.C.H.” (I wish he would do as he says), but it just seems to be hot air. Even if he does form it, will it really do anything to bring an end to the abuses which originate in the scum bag call centers out there?
Yeah, or the business’ contract with the entity that placed the initial outbound prerecorded/AI call “expressly prohibits illegal activity to generate calls”. So, basically hire someone else to do anything/everything illegal that you don’t want to be directly liable for, put a line in the contract that says this and you’re good to go! Can’t believe there are actually courts that haven’t seen through this type of B.S. Unreal.
Ain’t the law grand! But, that is how Troutman makes his money: selling fairy tales.