VMS and Jay Gotra – Permanent Injunction and $3.4 Million Penalty

Here’s the wrapper on one of the main individuals and organization responsible for the TOM WITH HOME PROTECTION calls. Jay Gotra and VMS agreed to a FINAL ORDER which appears to have real teeth, revealing that at the high point VMS was buying 20,000 leads a month from the Stop Tom Dialers, with the call volume reaching two million (per year?).

Congratulations to Bikram Bandy and those with the FTC who pursued this case. Also to Jeff Rossen with NBC NEWS for the recent update, and best wishes to Diana Mey in her class action suit.

United States of America v. Versatile Marketing Solutions, Inc. and Jasjit Gotra Individually. (Case No. 1:14-cv-10612)


Stipulated Final Order for Permanent Injunction and Civil Penalty Judgment
(THUMBNAIL BELOW)

VMS ORDER 2014- SNIP Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE: Oh, and of course they changed their name to ALLIANCE SECURITY.

FCC Declaratory Ruling: Huge Break in Holding Monitoring Companies Liable

And so, the long awaited FCC Declaratory ruling is released and the message is clear; sellers like big monitoring companies can be held “vicariously liable” for unlawful telemarketing calls made by third parties on their behalf. Read the details of the ruling here: http://www.tcpatools.com/FCC-obo.pdf

Will this be the push needed to end these calls once and for all?

From the ruling:

IV.       CONCLUSION

  1. For the reasons discussed herein, we grant in part and otherwise deny the above-captioned petitions for declaratory ruling.  We clarify that, while a seller does not generally initiate calls made through a third-party telemarketer, it nonetheless may be vicariously liable under federal common law agency-related principles for violations of either section 227(b) or 227(c) committed by telemarketers that initiate calls to market its products or services.

V.        ORDERING CLAUSES

 

  1. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to sections 1-4, 227, and 303(r) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 151-154, 227, 303(r), and section 64.1200 of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. § 64.1200, this Declaratory Ruling in CG Docket No. 11-50 IS ADOPTED as set forth herein.

AS REQUESTED: “Stop Tom” Contact Info

As requested via this site’s contact form asking for my individual contact info, please use the following email contact: helpstoptom@gmail.com

You can create a temporary or special use email address with Google or Yahoo for this purpose if you prefer to remain anonymous (i.e ” noname2012@gmail.com”)

I will email my telephone number to the valid email address you provide if you wish to talk over the phone.

Thanks!

 

Jim

 

 

 

What can I do? How Do I Stop the Calls?

The most common questions I’ve received about the “Tom” calls relate to 1) stopping the relentless barrage of calls, often received on individual’s wireless phone,  and 2) what can they do to help with the overall effort to stop these calls. And to be clear, by “Tom” we mean any prerecorded, live, or agent assisted voice response call placed to sell monitored home security alarms.

Here are a few things to consider:

I am personally getting very few calls at this point. But I’ve spent hours and hours speaking with the offending organizations and now when I get a call from a robo-dialer, who still fails to identify themselves as required by law, when I’m transferred to the actual alarm dealer they just hang up. I presume they look at the number and it reflects some negative history and they just drop the call. But from a practical perspective here’s what you can do to limit the irritation: Read more of this post

Attention Dealers: Use a false name at your peril!

As you know, I’m just a Dad, business owner, and community leader who operates this blog as part of my individual efforts to curtail these home security calls. Like many of you I’ve been very busy handling my “regular” responsibilities, but rest assured there has been work behind the scenes.

I have found that a particular group, ISI Alarms of North Carolina, has been particularly aggressive in using a technique to disguise their identity and avoid sanctions such as litigation. They’re  very, very careful now, using the name “Security Call Center” or “Honeywell Call Center” or another name. This may be a short term barrier but it creates even greater liability for them. My state of Texas explicitly bans the use of any name or identity other than that of the licensed alarm company. Sanctions include criminal penalties to include a $10,000 fine and up to 1 (one) year in jail.

I’ll suggest to those alarm dealers and others in the industry who follow this blog, and I know that you do, you’ll continue this charade of phony names at your peril. Criminal investigations require resources but  carry more weight and more risk than a few thousand dollars paid to a pro se litigant.

More soon!

 

 

AT&T Unable to Stop Subscriber Database Theft; 300 Million Names and Numbers May Have Been Harvested

Claims made in a federal lawsuit (pdf) by AT&T against two individuals and a Utah-based group of companies, reveal what may be the largest so called data mining, name and phone number harvesting scheme to be conducted in the United States. If proven accurate, this suit completely disassembles the whole -we have permission to call- fabrication, which leads from Utah, through several states, and right to the front door of my home. Read more of this post

UPDATE: 253-246-8514 Calling John in Michigan

I briefly wrote about John from Michigan getting the Tom calls from the phone number 253-246-8514 last month, and I thought I would post an update on the activity surrounding this number. John emailed me a photo of his wireless phone’s call log screen which was filled with numbers associated with telemarketers.

Read more of this post

Important Phone Provider Survey

UPDATE:

This informal, anecdotal survey doesn’t provide any data to support the claim that users of one single provider are more likely to get the “Tom” calls. However, it’s clear to me now that the bulk of readers are responding about calls to their wireless phones. This is what frustrated me as well; the relentless calls to my cell phone. And it helps explain the lack of caller ID information shared by readers, specifically what company names are displayed in the CID window, as wireless phones just show the number.

Thank you!

ORIGINAL POST:

I have reason to believe that consumers using a specific phone provider may be more likely than others to receive the “Tom/Shawn/John with Home Protection” calls. Please take the survey below and help me collect some anecdotal data.

This Facebook Post Describes the Problem Perfectly!

From a reader on Facebook:

For the past three months or so, I’ve been getting frequent calls from Tom with Home Protection that came from various cities in Washington and Oregon. Initially, I blocked the first number through my cell phone service, but ended up still getting calls from other numbers. I tried blocking a couple more of the main numbers and that seemed to work for a while. However, the calls started again and so I decided to see if I could stop them by opting out through the automated menu; (emphasis added) that didn’t work because I started getting even more calls.

This morning, I got a call from 704-200-9912 (Charlotte, NC) that I didn’t answer. Just a few minutes ago, I tried calling back but all I got was a recording that the number had been changed or disconnected. I guess that means they’ll be moving onto a new number shortly.

We know who’s in North Carolina right? What a surprise that trying to opt out resulted in even more calls. My experience has been that the harder I’ve tried to get off the calling list of these lead generators, the more calls I would get. I even provided a fake name and number in one “opt out”. Within a few weeks the calls started again, this time asking for the fake name. Ridiculous!

Rossen Reports on Telemarketing and Home Security Alarms

Vodpod videos no longer available.

VMS Alarms says that they only call people who have “opted in”. Indeed, CEO Jay Gotra admits to using many third-party lead generators who make the initial call, identify a consumer that says they’re interested, and who is then paid a fee by VMS (and others) for the information. The alarm dealers like VMS then contact the customer on this “opt in” basis. I’ll have more on this later, but there doesn’t appear to be any exemption from requiring the caller to identify the company and the purpose of the call. The Tom calls simply don’t meet this requirement. “Home Protection” appears to be a generic pseudonym, used so the lead can be sold to any alarm dealer. Anything that happens after the purposeful omission of the company’s identity is not relevant.

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