Telemarketing Software Featured Article

Idaho's Case vs. Boise Telemarketing Firm is Resolved

January 29, 2016
By Steve Anderson - Contributing Writer

Despite reversals in its image, and in its reception, telemarketing still has a lot of value for businesses today, and can help provide worthwhile services to customers. With even the government getting involved in how telemarketers can operate, that proves a problem for some firms, and a new report from KIVI-TV about a recently resolved case in Idaho shows just how sensitive things can get in telemarketing.

A settlement reached between the Idaho Attorney General, Lawrence Wasden, and both Vurv LLC and its fulfillment partner Drug Testing Compliance Group LLC, generated some key points. The settlement, approved by Fourth District Judge Jonathan Medema, required the two companies—operating nationally as DTC Group—to issue refunds to certain consumers. DTC Group, according to Wasden's allegations, made an array of unsolicited calls offering drug testing for commercial drivers, and similar other compliance services for around two and a half years, starting in June 2013 and going to December 2015.

DTC Group, for its part, denied wrongdoing, though reports note that Wasden received several consumer complaints about DTC Group. Consumers believed that DTC Group was actually connected with the Department of Transportation, and said consumers noted being told that failure to buy testing services would potentially result in federal penalties. Some consumers subsequently attempted to cancel purchases within the three business days allowed by law, but were rebuffed by the company.

Wasden began investigating DTC Group back in 2014, as the company had not been registered as a telemarketer in Idaho. The group subsequently did register, but this didn't stop customer complaints about its various practices. The group ultimately closed up shop in December, and the former owner is currently working to identify those who are eligible for refunds. Those knowing their eligibility status can streamline things by filing complaints with the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division by February 26, 2016.

It's a case that underscores the issues inherent in telemarketing. It can be a valuable marketing tool, when used properly, as it can quickly spread word about new products and services, and even offer a potential sales channel for those who have previously dealt with a company and understand what it offers. It's a much riskier affair when being used as a cold-calling mechanism, as here it falls under a series of potentially applicable laws, including an entire federally-funded mechanism devoted to stopping telemarketers from making unwanted calls: the federal Do Not Call list.

Given that DTC Group is now defunct, the impact of this decision likely won't change things much going forward for it or for those who got calls from the firm. It may, however, serve as a cautionary tale for other telemarketers about the value of registering early, and only calling those people who already have a connection to a business. 

Edited by Rory J. Thompson