TSS INC takes Tom’s Place

The technique has changed a bit, but it’s still the same guys who have “Tom” calling. The first call is from a rep who tells me I have won a free alarm system along with nine of my neighbors. Congratulations! Of course everyone wins so there is no prize, and so we begin the potential business relationship with a lie. No other way to say it.

Here’s a pic of the initial inbound Caller ID screen. Remember that the Truth in Caller ID Act:

“prohibits any person, in connection with any telecommunications service or Internet Protocol-enabled voice service, from causing any caller ID service to knowingly transmit misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm or wrongfully obtain anything of value”

Now what might they wrongfully obtain of value? How about my personal information, which becomes a “lead” they can sell to an Alarm Company Dealer. It’s wrongfully obtained because they pretend to be an alarm company and falsely claim that I’ve won a prize.

The caller is brief, explaining that the “local manager” will call back with the details, he just wants to make sure we’re qualified to accept the “free” alarm system. The local manager is of course thousands of miles from my city and is not a manager but a phone rep calling from Rhode Island.

1. “Do we own the home?” Yes, of course.

2. “Do we have a current alarm?” I refuse to answer since I don’t want to disclose my current security details. He says he understands, “Are we under contract with a monitoring company?”. No, we are not.

3. “What’s your name?” I reply Jim.

He’s happy and tells me the local guy will call back within ten minutes. Perfect, as it gives me time to collect another beverage from the fridge and take a break. Soon enough the phone rings again:

And there we have it, VMS. The caller identifies herself as “Christine” with “the alarm company“. Yeah, I play along, but I wonder what alarm company? Why wouldn’t she just say VMS Alarm? But I let her begin and mostly complete her pitch. When she brings up the monitoring I ask her if they do that and she tells me that no, they use Monitronics.

I’ll jump ahead a bit and let you know that at this stage I already know quite a bit about VMS Alarms, which is actually Versatile Marketing Solutions Inc. I’ve had the call before and have been handed off to VMS. I even booked an appointment with a sales rep-installer just to see how far they’d go and I wasn’t disappointed.

In my home state of Texas, we have a specific regulating scheme to deal with alarm companies. Salespersons, Installers, and of course Dealers must be licensed by the Texas Private Security Bureau (part of the Dept. of Public Safety, our State Police Entity which includes the Texas Rangers). In the course of the original interaction (which I’ll detail in a later post) they attempted to send two different individuals who were (and still remain) unlicensed, and actually sent a third guy who they insisted was fully licensed, but who in fact was not. (He has since applied but is not approved).

In the course of this call, Christine asked if I could schedule an installer for the next day and I said “Sure”. She then mumbled to herself, …hmmm..ok..let’s see “John Doe”…blah..blah..” thinking out loud about who she would book me with.

But I know “John Doe” because he’s the young guy they already sent out. So I tell her that I’ve already met John and that I didn’t know she was with VMS as she didn’t identify her employer. I have no interest in having this John come to my home AGAIN, and at this point I would prefer to speak with a manager.

She became pretty aggressive but handed me off to “Bob” who refused to give his last name. I chatted briefly with Bob, and expressed my dissatisfaction with Christine not saying she was with VMS, asking if that was in her script. He wouldn’t acknowledge the query, cutting me off saying “WE ARE the alarm company, we’re the largest in the nation with over 1.7 million customers”.  Of course, that’s NOT the name of their company, nor are they even licensed as VMS Alarms so it’s difficult for an average consumer to look them up or conduct any basic due diligence.

We went back and forth a bit with him offering to send another installer, “David” who is NOT licensed. When I explained that I could easily look up the Installers license status on the Texas PSB web site, he was pretty rattled.

You can do the same here: Texas PSB Company – Individual Search

He offered a third Installer, who is actually banned from getting a license in Texas due to a criminal background. I’ve spoken with the PSB Staff as well as a Sr. Field Investigator to verify this guy’s status. I was told that if he shows up at my home to be careful, to call the PSB Investigators cell phone to have him arrested. Wow!

Well with a brief exchange of that information Bob realized that I know a lot more about their company than he first realized so he stopped and then did what they always do:

Bob offered to put me on THEIR Do Not Call list!

I asked Bob how that would help since I get calls from their vendor TSS, Total Security Solutions, which I am confident is offshore in India. He was quiet and then answered with a small voice, “Then I’ll get TSS to put you on their DNC”.

I asked, “How would you do that Bob? Can you call them? Do you have a number?” He replied no, he would need to get the owner to do it.

Hmmm.

So I said why don’t you just have the owner call me and we can cut out the middle man. He said he I should expect a call on Monday 12/5 or Tuesday 12/6.

More to come. As always make your comments and share what you know. My email address is at the top as well.

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6 Responses to TSS INC takes Tom’s Place

  1. jfceb3 says:

    Against my better judgement, I called the number back, and was asked if I’d like to unsubscribe. Of course, I responded to unsubscribe, and … I haven’t received any more phone calls. It’s been several days now (I was getting approx. 2 per day prior).

  2. StopTom says:

    @jfceb3

    When you say you called back, did you actually speak with someone, or get a recording to press 1 to have your number removed from their list?

    Some say that responding only confirms that you have a valid number, and with no company information provided there is no way to hold them accountable. Maybe they’re removing your number from their call list, maybe they’re selling it to another party. How can we know?

    Thanks!

    • Al says:

      ahhh…crap. I pressed 1 before finding your site.
      “Tom” called me from (503) 468 5227

    • Steve Kramer says:

      I’m on the national Do Not Call list and they’ve been calling me for months. Have reported them at the Do Not Call website numerous times = no help.

      FYI, if you call them back and press “1” to remove, they just start calling you from one of their other numbers… last week they called me from a 503 area code, I called back & hit “1” to remove, and they just started calling me from a 360 area code today – ugh!! Guess I’ll just keep adding their numbers to my block list!! (wonder how big my phones block list is anyway = I’m sure I’ll find out with these bozo’s).

    • E Daniel says:

      I have pressed 1 twice now, just a different # and caller ID after

  3. Lou says:

    Out of curiosity, has anyone else tried reporting Tom to the FCC? I did earlier when he called me from 503-457-1274. I also told “Tom” that I was reporting “him” to the FCC for violating the national Do Not Call registry, so maybe that could stop some of the calls going forward.

    Now my own reporting may not end up doing much, but if enough people complain it may make a difference.

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