Telemarketers: Tracking down the people who call you up (CBC Marketplace)


[ringing]>>Tom Harrington:This week,onmarketplace…>>They are harassing us.>>This is Sam fromDuct Cleaning Service.>>Tom:Telemarketers…from hell.>>Sexually harassing people over the phone? That’s disgusting!>>Tom:We’re out to catchthem breaking the rules.>>I’m on the Do Not Call List.>>Tom:And boldly go wherewe’ve never gone before…taking you undercoverhalf-a-world away,inside a call centre thatmight have called you.>>I am calling you from Air Duct Cleaning Services.>>Tom:And we takeyour complaintsto Canada’s watchdog.We’ve talked to Canadians on the Do Not Call List.>>Mm-hmm.>>They’re frustrated, and exasperated, and angry. ♪ [theme]>>Tom:In this tiny roomat theCBC,we’re aboutto embark on our biggestundercover mission yet.Centre it up a little bit more, a little back to the… your left. Okay, right there.That’s Suhail,and he’s in Pakistan.Perfect!>>I’m ready!>>Tom:That’s where our secretassignment is taking place.We need to get you a job in a call centre as a telemarketer, and you have to bring hidden cameras. Is that okay with you?>>Yes, absolutely. I’m ready for it.>>Tom: Okay, you’re a brave man.Suhail’s a freelance journalistand now we’ve gota job for him.We’ve found a call centrein Karachi that’s hiring.Here’s your mission. You’re going to apply for a job selling air duct cleaning services to Canadians.>>Air Duct Cleaning Services?>>Tom: Yes, air ducts.>>Okay, okay, air duct cleaning services to the Canadians.>>Tom:You know, air ducts.Those things that carry hotand cold air from your furnacethrough your house.Sometimes, they need cleaning.You have your mission, are you ready to accept it?>>Oh, yes, that’s the mission. I’ll take it like a mission.>>Tom: Okay, Suhail. Goodbye and good luck. Take care.>>Thank you, Tom, goodbye.>>Tom:Why do we want Suhailto get a job sellingair duct cleaning?Because the telemarketerswho sell these services havea lot of you venting to us.>>I cannot make the calls stop.>>This is Sam fromDuct Cleaning Service.So, would you like to knowthe price?>>They are harassing us.>>$99 for the whole houseduct cleaning.>>Do not call here again. [ringing]>>Do you needair duct cleaning?>>Air Duct Cleaning Services.>>From air ductcleaning services.>>About the ductcleaning services.>>Air Duct Cleaning Services.>>Please, I am begging you, stop calling me!>>I’ve had enough.>>Stop calling here.>>I’m calling you…I’m calling you…I’m calling you.>>Tom:Heather, David,and Andrew have beentelling these telemarketersto stop callingfor more than two years.>>You [muted] bastards, you are driving me crazy! Will you please get off the Goddamn phone? I have to go to work. Why are you wasting my time? I have told you countless times, stop calling me, stop bothering me. I am going to nail you bastards to the wall.>>Tom:What makes iteven worse?>>All: We’re on the Do Not Call List.>>You’re not supposed to be calling me. It is illegal for you to be calling me.>>I’m calling you…>>Tom:Ottawa createdthe Do Not Call Listto stop companiesfrom calling us at home,but it’s not stopping theseduct cleaning telemarketers.They’re relentless.Even obscene, as Andrew’s wifefound out when she askedfor a manager.>>Telemarketer who she was speaking to said that she would be able to speak to this person’s manager if she sucked his [muted]. Sexually harassing people over the phone? That’s disgusting! We did call the police; the police put it into a report. We’ve never heard back from them.>>Tom:He’s also complainedto the people who policethe Do Not Call List, the CRTC.[beep]>>Hello?>>Tom:But so far, nada.[ringing]Same story for David…and Heather.>>The fact that the CRTC has done nothing about this is enraging.>>Tom:In the meantime…>>I’m on the Do Not Call List, you’re not supposed to be calling me. [ringing]>>Tom:The calls don’t stop.[ringing]>>I’ll try anything just to get them to stop. Once, I even picked up my whistle. [shrill whistle] I feel as though I’m losing grip on reality. You say, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, thanks. And then eventually, you say [muted] you. [shrill whistle] And it still doesn’t work.>>If they were in front of me, perhaps I would put my hands closer to their neck. Can I say that on the camera?>>I’m a pacifist. I’m not a violent man. I just want them to stop.>>Please, somebody out there, please start taking this seriously. [ringing]>>Tom:Seriously,David’s about to lose it.>>I’m so angry I could spit. [ringing]>>They call sometimes as frequently as two or three times a day.>>Tom:David recorded somerecent telemarketing calls,so we can listenas they break the rules.>>Hi, sir, this is Kevin,and I am calling you fromAir Duct Cleaning Services.How are you?>>Now, we are onthe Do Not Call List.So, why are you calling here?>>Oh, my God.I’m so sorry, sir.It’s a mistake.I will remove your number andwe will never call you again.>>How will I know thatyou will never call again?>>Sir, believe me,I can say believe me.>>Yes, I must believe him.>>Tom:David’sbelieved them before…[ringing]>>Tom:but it never fails.>>I’m calling fromAir Duct Cleaning Services.How is your day so far?>>I have been told so manytimes by your stupid companythat you will not phonehere anymore, and youare still phoning.Get us the hell off your list!>>I will do that.[groans]>>Tom:Just when he thinks thetough talk scares ’em off…[ringing] ♪ [screeching]>>Hello?>>Hi, can I speakto the house owner?>>Yes, you are.>>I am calling you fromthe Air Duct Cleaning Services.How are you doing today?>>The CRTC, would you please figure out a way to track down and put these telemarketing companies out of business? ♪ [dramatic]>>Tom:Time to find outwhat the Do Not Call Listpolice are doingabout these calls.We go to Ottawato talk to the CRTC.We meet Andrea Rosen.Tom Harrington frommarketplace.The CRTC’s Chief of Complianceand Enforcement.We’ve talked to Canadians on the Do Not Call List, and these people, I pity them, are getting called all the time. They’re frustrated, and exasperated, and angry. And they’ve even complained to the CRTC. What are you doing about that?>>What we’re seeing now is an influx of telemarketing calls from offshore. They’re spoofing the numbers that they’re using. And spoofing is when you don’t have the number displayed on the dial that is real. And the problem with that for law enforcement is that it’s very difficult to detect who those people are and find out where they’re calling from. If we can’t find them, we can’t act.>>Tom:But we’ve found them…in Karachi, Pakistan.That’s how far we goto catch a telemarketer.This is where thoseduct cleaning telemarketershave set up shop.In one of the most dangerouscities in the world.As the work day endsand night falls,the telemarketersare just getting started.And in this roughneighbourhood, Suhail’sundercover mission begins.We’ve tracked downa call centre.Maybe it’s the onebugging David.It’s located on the thirdfloor of a shopping centre.We send our man in,armed with his resumeand our hidden cameras.He’s hired on the spot.Part one of his mission’saccomplished.When we come back…>>I’m calling from Air Duct Cleaning Services.>>Tom:Undercoverin the call centre.>>Uh, can I speak to the owner of the house?>>Tom:With frazzled Canadianson the other end of the line.♪ [theme]>>Tom:We’re on the trailof telemarketers.>>Calling you fromthe Air Duct Cleaning Services.>>Tom:Calling Canadianson the Do Not Call List.>>I cannot make the calls stop.>>Tom:Our pursuithas taken us to Karachi,the biggest city in Pakistan.We’ve been able to gethired inside this call centre.>>I’m calling from Air Duct Cleaning.>>Can I speak to the owner of the house?>>Tom:Dozensare on the phone here.At the other end of the line,frazzled Canadians…hearing their pitchfor air duct cleaning.Our man on the inside, Suhail,hits the phones.>>Hello.>>Tom:With his scriptin hand, he gets to work.>>Uh, miss, can I speak to the owner of the house? Yes, miss, this is Michael here, and I’m…>>Tom:Michaelis Suhail’s alias.The telemarketers don’t usetheir real names.>>I am calling from Air Duct Cleaning Services. How are you doing today?>>Tom:That’s right!Air Duct Cleaning Services,the name of the companyDavid’s been hearingback in Toronto.>>Ma’am, the reason of the call to inform you that we are running a great promotion in your area.>>Tom:Sounds just likethe same pitch Davidgets again and again.>>Regarding complete air duct cleaning of your house.>>Tom:Any housein Ontario could be a targetof these telemarketers.And now, we’re starting to getan idea of how they do it.>>How are you doing today?>>Tom:A computerdials numbers for Suhail,and makes hundredsand hundreds of calls an hour.>>And I am talking, speaking from Air Duct Cleaning Services.>>Tom:But this time,he reaches someoneon the Do Not Call List.>>Oh, I am sorry. I am sorry.>>Tom:And then another one.>>Uh, I’m sorry.>>Tom:And another.>>Okay, miss, sorry.>>Tom:It’s clear the trainerat the call centreknows there are rules.>>[Through Interpreter]: The Canadian Government maintains a list called the Do Not Call List, and the people who police it, there is a CRTC Department.>>Tom:But when Suhailasks the trainer whythey’re calling peopleon the Do Not Call List…>>[Through Interpreter]: Do you know who’s on the DNC? I don’t either. Numbers just get called. The phone number doesn’t specify who is on the DNC and who isn’t.>>Tom:And if someonecomplains?>>[Through Interpreter]: You don’t have to respond to that. Just hang up.>>Tom:And what’s reallyobvious is the trainer is notafraid of getting caught.>>[Through Interpreter]: If they get a call, they can report the company to the government. There is no need to worry. The customer will not be able to report us. They can’t trace us. ♪ ♪>>Tom:How do they makesure of that?The telemarketers never tellpeople they’re in Pakistan.They’re told to lie and saythey’re somewhere in Ontario.So, that’s what Suhail does.>>Uh, right there in Ontario.>>Tom:And that’s why,back in Toronto,David can’t track them down.He’s tried, more than once.>>Hi, sir, my name is Daniel,and I’m calling fromAir Duct Cleaning Services.How are you?>>Tom:We listen in to anothercall he recorded for us.>>I’m just wondering,whereaboutsis your company located?>>Thank you, Sir,our head office locatedin downtown Toronto.>>Well, is there a numberwhere I can be sure thatthis is a real company?>>Sure, it’s 905…>>905.>>481.>>481…>>Tom:They do give Davida number, but he doesn’t getAir Duct Cleaning Services.>>We’re sorry, the number youhave reached is not in service.>>Why am I not surprised?>>Tom:Back with Suhailin Karachi, we learn whythat number doesn’t work.>>[Through Interpreter]:We don’t give customersour phone number.If we give customersour number, those on the DNC,you know, they will takeour business phone numberand report us.>>Tom:They’ve gotit all figured out.No one can touch them becauseof those fake numbers.Remember, the CRTCcalls that spoofing.They even use fake names.No wonder the trainer bragshow the CRTC rulesare toothless here.>>[Through Interpreter]:There’s no need to be scared.If someone says,“I’ll trace your number,I’ll do this or I’ll do that,”they can go and try.I’ve been here two-and-a-halfyears, and I’ve never seensomeone report us.They don’t have a company name.They don’t havea contact number.And you haven’t met themin person either,so they can’t trace you.>>Tom:Oh, really?We’ve traced you.Time for Air Duct CleaningServices to get a call from us.The company behindthe Karachi call centreis called Via Connections.>>Tom: I’m trying to reach Via Connections.>>Yeah, thisis Via Connections. Go ahead.>>Yes, my name is Tom Harrington, I’m calling fromCBC marketplacein Toronto. I’m calling on behalf of Canadians who want you to stop calling them about Air Duct Cleaning Services. You’re violating the Do Not Call List in Canada. You can be fined thousands of dollars.>>Listen, listen up!Hold on a second.Stop ramming everythinginto my, uh, mouth,and pay attentionto what I’m going to ask you.I need your name.>>My name is Tom Harrington. I’m the host ofmarketplace.And what’s your name?>>Listen, email me fromCBCthat we are violating yourDo Not Call rules or whatever.First of all, I don’t evenknow what that is.I want an email.>>What’s your name?>>Listen, email mefromCBC’sdomain.First of all, we don’t haveanything to do with whateveryou were bullshitting about.>>Why are you using fake phone numbers with your company? Why are you using fake names?>>Buddy, listen,you’re representing CBC.I’m going to [muted] you up.>>Tom: Why don’t you just admit that’s what you’re doing? Calling Canadians and hassling them. People are on the Do Not Call List, want you to stop. They’ve had it.>>Listen, really representCBC,I want you to email mefromCBC’semail address,and then I’ll speakabout it, okay?>>Tom:But he refuses to giveus the company email address.Won’t even tell us his name.[dial tone] And he’s gone. Well.Turns out, this call centreisn’t the only one in town.You won’t believe this,but Karachi is probablythe duct cleaning telemarketercapital of the world!We find out there maybe 20 call centres here.All selling one thing,duct cleaning.Maybe that’s why there are somany repeat calls to Canadians.As for our man in Pakistan,he doesn’t make one sale.They let Suhail go.And we still can’t be sureif these guys are the oneswho keep calling David.Back in Toronto,he gets in the last word.Or, so he thinks.>>David:You’re a lying,cheating, dirty,filthy company.>>You are lying.>>David:Now, go away.Do not call here again.I’m reporting you to the CRCT.>>Tom:Of course,we know he means the CRTC.[ringing]When we come back…We found air duct cleaning telemarketers in Karachi, Pakistan. If we can do it, why can’t the police or the CRTC do it? ♪ [theme]>>Tom:We’ve just caughtthese telemarketers red-handed.>>I’m calling from Air Duct Cleaning Services. How are you doing?>>Tom:Violatingthe Do Not Call List.>>You [muted] bastards! You are driving me crazy! [ringing]>>Tom:But the CRTC hasn’tbeen able to catch them.We put that to Andrea Rosen,the CRTC’s Chief of Complianceand Enforcement.We found air duct cleaning telemarketers in Karachi, Pakistan. And they are calling people on the Do Not Call List in Canada, and it’s actually been going on for years. Why has nothing been happening?>>Well, if we found them, we would have taken action.>>Tom: If we can do it, why can’t the police or the CRTC do it?>>We can only action what we receive as information.>>Tom:We pass onour information.We also pass alongthe complaints of Canadianswho want these calls to stop.People are frustrated, and they have a message that they wanted me to deliver, I guess, to the CRTC about their frustration. I’d like you to listen to them because I think it’s important that you hear it.>>In my opinion, the Do Not Call List is not working at all. Use it or lose it.>>If you’re the CRTC, how can you let this keep going on? You have so much power to prevent this kind of activity, and yet you’re doing nothing. I just can’t understand how the CRTC can’t close in on a company like this. I expected the Do Not Call List would have solved this problem and it hasn’t.>>I feel for these people. I definitely agree that it is a terrible thing to be– have this, sort of, invasion of your privacy at home. But we are working here on behalf of Canadians. So, we are very pleased with the program and the progress we have made.>>Tom: These people are not. It’s not working for them. So, what can you tell them?>>For a few people, that may be the case…>>Tom: It’s more than a few. It’s more than a few.>>I’m sure that there are a number that are dealing with the kinds of calls that I’m talking about today, where we have seen that we cannot reach the identity and location of the caller. In which case, it’s not a CRTC matter. It’s really and truly a police matter.>>Tom: Nobody has a solution right now?>>That’s right.>>Tom: That’s cold comfort for the people on the other end of the phone.>>That’s why we’re trying to find a solution. [ringing]>>Tom:Heather’s hopingthat solution comessooner than later.>>I would love to see them hauled away in handcuffs and taken away to jail and processed and absolutely forced to pay a huge fine.>>Tom:Heather’s dream’son hold.And our story’s not over yet.>>This is what your test is on tomorrow.>>Tom:Another Canadianfamily is not waitingfor someone else to act.>>[sighs] Again?>>Really?>>Really, same people from before.>>Duct cleaners.>>Tom:Enough with the calls.>>Six days, they’ve called seven times in those six days.>>Tom:She’s booked a cleaningjust so she canlet them have it, face-to-face.>>Enough’s enough!>>Tom:She waits and waitsand waits.>>I’m annoyed right now.>>Tom:But the duct cleanersare a no-show.>>But I’m wondering even if they’re a real business, even if they have a truck.>>Tom: They’re going to be here any minute?We’re wondering the same thing.Let’s hurry up.>>No problem!>>Tom:Find out next week,onmarketplace. Here we go!>>Hi, there.>>Tom:Watch what happenswhen the duct cleaners we callshow up at our house.Oh, my Lord!Are they up to the job?This is a whole dust storm now in the furnace room as they’re kind of making a mess.Or up to no good?Oh, my gosh.>>We did a good job.>>Tom: Well, you know what? I don’t think you did. [ringing] ♪ [dramatic]

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