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

VMS ORDER 2014- SNIP Cover










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


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

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.

CHANGE -**NEWS ALERT**- NBC News will air a report this week about “Tom”!

A report on unlawful telemarketing and the inability of the FTC to stop these calls will air this (UPDATE:) Friday, April 27th at about 7:40 AM (CST I think) on NBC News’  TODAY show. A source close to the investigation tells me that Jeff Rossen, National Investigative Correspondent for NBC News TODAY will present the story of how these calls have continued unabated, even in the face of direct requests by consumers, sanctions by state regulators, and class action lawsuits by plaintiffs. A high profile dealer for Monitronics, who was recently awarded an “F” rating to replace their lost accreditation with the Better Business Bureau,  will be featured in the piece.

This report will likely be viewed by millions of Americans who just like us have been getting these calls with no ability to make them stop. Share this news with those you know, and ask them to participate by sharing details about their experience here on this web site. It’s very, very helpful to know the name of the dealer involved with the calls, as well as the numbers that can be directly linked to them. The state regulators responsible for policing Alarm Systems Companies, sale persons, and installers are becoming more aware of this conduct and have given me the indication that with supporting details they will take action. In my state of Texas, violations of the alarm statute can bring criminal penalties to include a Class A misdemeanor with up to 1 (one) year in jail and a $10,000 fine per violation.

Thanks for your help and together we really will STOP TOM!

You can share via social media with the buttons below!

(Photo credit: NBC News)

UPDATE: Joe is with ISI Alarms and claims to be “Honeywell” or “Security Promotions”

In the post about Joe I mentioned that it took a while for me to figure out who it was, but sooner or later the dealers have to reveal themselves. I contacted Honeywell International directly after getting many. many calls from a dealer who only would say that they are Honeywell. I actually called to ask if Honeywell knew who it might be. They didn’t, but told me  that they had their legal folks looking into it. When I was able to get a caller to slip up and reveal the name, I called Honeywell back and reported it. Well, here’s the text of an email I sent Honeywell today as they requested. It outlines the bulk of the story.

Read more of this post

Who’s Really Behind Tom? Part 2 – The Camera Guyz!

In “Who’s Really Behind Tom? Part 1” I revealed what many of us already know, that one of Monitronics largest authorized dealers is a major participant in this ongoing telemarketing campaign. But of course there is always more to the story, and in this part I’ll begin to help readers understand the layers of relationships that this business is built upon. Here’s a graphic:

Read more of this post

Who’s Really Behind Tom? Let’s Start Naming Names! Part 1 of # # # (Many)

I reached a point a few weeks ago where I realized that I have the information needed to reveal who’s behind Tom and his allies. As I’ve stated in previous posts, without the serious cash raised through Wall Street and Private Equity, and distributed by the major monitoring companies, the  dealers (both large and small) wouldn’t have the resources to pay for this unlawful telemarketing. Now I know, the dealers want us to believe that every person they call has “opted in”, and the monitoring companies want us to know that they have strict telemarketing guidelines their authorized dealers must follow. And yet here we are today, with individuals like myself getting calls into the second year. Our efforts at asking nicely have yielded little result. It’s time to show those who use up our cell minutes and tie up our lives that we’re tired of it. Here’s the first Installment:

From my handwritten log of October 12th, 2011: Call from 253-246-8535, “Tom with Home Protection”.

Who’s the recipient of this lead? Maximum Security Alarm, Inc., a Nevada Corporation licensed in my state of Texas as Max Security Alarm Inc. THE PRINCIPALS  ARE:

ANDREW HIGGINS (Pictured below)

Read more of this post

253-246-8514 Calling John in Michigan

John in Michigan has been pounded by calls, ”  I get at least 10 or 20 spam calls or texts for every real call I get.”  So today he sent me  this picture of his cell phone screen. We recognize the numbers as those of the usual suspects. I bet there are hundreds of thousands of Americans in exactly our situation. Had a conversation with anyone from these numbers? Let me know!

He’s not the only one:

UPDATE:This post is a follow up to the original.

Security Alarm Sales Caller worried about lawsuit!

The people behind these security alarm sales calls seem to be getting more cautious. Generally, after a series of calls from a particular phone number I’ll answer and try to determine which dealer and monitoring company is involved. But like you I’m busy so it might take a few calls before I have time to listen to a sales pitch. What I do know is that they rarely if ever will identify themselves at the beginning of the call. In my opinion, this failure is the major violation and of course we know why. They don’t wish to reveal themselves to those who aren’t interested in case it’s someone who plans to hold them accountable through a lawsuit. Here’s a great example: Read more of this post

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