COLUMN: It’s unfortunate that Anthem has chosen to attack unsuspecting customers and non-customers with inhuman robocalls. I’ve gotten about a dozen calls this year – and I’m not a customer. Latest one was at 2pm PST (5pm EST) today, and for somebody I’ve never heard of, even though I have had this phone number for 10 years. This is the second “person” they have called for, and the only way to stop the daily calls is to sit hostage to their robofracker and verbally state they have the “wrong number.”
What’s interesting about this latest call is that it asked for a “health care provider” as a fallback if the person they claim to be calling wasn’t available. I suppose they think this is the same as sending you direct mail to someone who has never lived at your address, but adding “or current resident.” Um, sure. Beyond the fact this is a personal home number, and on the national do not call registry, AND I am not a member of Blue Cross, this smacks of more evil being undertaken by Anthem, based on their past allegedly illegal activities in this regard.
An article from A.P. in BusinessWeek (among other places, http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9DGTGVG3.htm ), points to a story titled “Blue Cross agrees to pay $95K on illegal robocalls.” According to the story from Jan. 28, 2010, “North Carolina’s largest health insurer agreed to pay $95,000 to resolve a dispute with the state over 100,000 ‘robocalls’ pushing the company’s views on the national health care debate, officials for the state and the company said Thursday.”
So, looks like California will need to hunt them down next. Evil evil evil. Basically these companies should learn that nobody will do business with a “robocaller,” whether it’s pushing a political agenda, promoting a scumbag local business offering chiropractic services (I got about 100 of those last year before the new law took hold), or from any international company promoting lower insurance rates, or credit card refinancing (yeah, like I’m going to do business with a middle east company asking for my credit card and personal info).
I won’t vote for ANY political campaign that robo-calls me, and will never do business with any company doing robo-dialing. Frack you Blue Cross, and the horse your CEO rode in on.
According to the AP story, “Blue Cross spokesman Lew Borman said the company on Wednesday paid the $95,000 penalty, which will go to the public schools, according to the settlement. The agreement also requires the company to create written guidelines for its employees and vendors to ensure they comply with the robocall rules.”
Hey, did you know we have laws in California governing your crappy marketing? Check out this PDF on the cpuc.ca.gov website: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/NR/rdonlyres/51D7DD5B-9902-4C3B-9EB3-B75F56CBB4C2/0/080129_RobocallADAD_FAQ.pdf .
According to the above document:
When can robocalls (ADADs) be used? What companies or agencies can use them?
Robocalls are only legal when introduced by a live person unless:
1) You are a member or a client of a company or organization that uses them to deliver messages (such as an announcement about a sale) or; 2) The police, fire or emergency service agency uses them to contact you about an emergency.
According tor the CPUC:
What can I do if I receive a robocall that I think is illegal?
1) Call your local telephone company to file a complaint. You must give them the name of who called and if possible the telephone number of the robocaller (it may be provided in the message.)
2) Your telephone company will then tell the business that it is not following the law and may give it some time to correct the problem.
3) If the business does not correct the use of the robocaller by the time given by the telephone company, the telephone company can disconnect the phone line.
4) If you are not satisfied with the telephone company’s response to your robocall complaint, you may contact the CPUC’s Consumer Affairs Branch by filing a complaint online at http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/forms/Complaints/ or by telephone at 1-800-649-7570 or in writing to:
California Public Utilities Commission Consumer Affairs Branch 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102-3298.
Check your local state government website for similar laws. It’s a good idea to look at your caller ID and write down each phone number, especially if it’s an 866 (toll free), or an out of area (sometimes doesn’t show number). Keep pen and pad by the phone, and write down the number on your ID. Get in the habit. This will allow you to file complaints against these scumbag companies and eventually your state may go after them, if applicable. Of course, you can’t do anything about the calls coming from India (etc.), but many of these robo-callers think they have the right to harass you.
And bozos like Anthem use a system which will keep calling you EVERY DAY until you listen to their stupid message, and sit through the verbal feedback system to identify 1) the person calling is not available (they then ask to leave message), then 2) identify they have called the wrong number.
If you’re a customer, call their support number and ask them how to remove your phone number from ALL sales calls. If they fail to help you, ask how to cancel your policy.
Yeah, get in gear asshole. You (Anthem Blue Cross) just won our award for biggest scumbag robo-calling corporate prick of the month. Congratulations.