infocision
akron
work
jude
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saint
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phonetray
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blocking
american
I'm also very fond of PhoneTray, Chuck, but I see call blocking as a last resort which does not kill the weed at its root. Some weeks ago I went ahead and sent a full cease-comm letter straight to Akron, via USPS Certified with return card. I had a few dozen choice words for their business practices and the layers of deception which can be found -- between the fraud inherent to some of their ''charity'' clients and the sheer profiteering of the firm which is hired to shake the donation cans. The extra kvetching was not a vital component, but my whole family has taken their noise for far too long.

The vital parts of the letter were the phone numbers to be protected, a summary of the calling activity I was protesting, a clear demand to cease the calls, and the twenty digit USPS tracking number associated with that mailing. My cease-comm was quite thorough, specifying that my numbers were to be added to a *master* no-call list, meant to apply to *all* present and future clients of InfoCision and any of its affiliates. It further stated an expectation that the no-call demand would be permanent and not be forgotten just in time for the next client's campaign.

The notice also requested a paper copy of the firm's no-call policy. It further demanded that any contact data of ours in their records is not to be shared, traded, sold, transferred, or otherwise passed along. In composition I did not reference any letter templates apart from my own. In fact, I worked for over three hours to be sure I would include all my grievances and all the ''gotchas'' I could think of. I did not stoop to cheap insults, nor did I angrily cite laws or make empty threats. It was plenty enough to describe what bothered me and what I wanted done to make me happy.

On the advice of the call center rep who one fine day was lucky enough to draw my response from the predictive dialer, the letter was sent to the attention of Steve Brubaker, the ''chief of staff''. Calls from InfoCision ended the day of that chat. Two months have passed and my phones were quiet while others in these caller forums continued to report calls about the same clients we were being pestered about.

That said, I trust this firm about as far as I could toss a deflated Zips football at InfoCision Stadium with both my arms in a sling. An apologetic cover letter, sounding mostly pre-cooked, came with the timely mailing of the requested no-call policy. It was, however, addressed not to the sender but the family member already on file, and not sent to the address I had specified. About 60% of the letter blathers about the company's so-diligent attention to legal compliance. The rest refers to regret that a ''call'' (singular) from the most recent client campaign may have inconvenienced us.

I'm still parsing its language, which is somewhat noncommittal about applying the request to all clients. My letter went to some trouble to describe an ongoing pattern of annoying calls running to the hundreds. I'm unconvinced my concerns were fully reviewed. Anyway, a few sheets of policy paper saves them $500 in a TCPA claim. Future calls will be converted into a ''donation'' to us at $1500 apiece.
Resident47
 Jan 13th, 2012
A way to deal with companies like InfoCision is to use a phone blocking system like PhoneTray and keep visiting whocalled.us to keep up with the phone numbers InfoCision uses. That's what I have been doing ever since I upgraded my PhoneTray and modem to work on my Windows 7 box. Works like a charm. It does involve visiting whocalled.us regularly, but that is a small price to pay for ensuring your privacy. (I am not an employee of PhoneTray, just a very satisfied customer.)
Chuck
 Jan 11th, 2012
I was getting calls from St. Jude because I donate and purchase from their store.
I called the main office and told them to remove me from the call list and I have not
received another call. That was over a year ago.
Joli
 Oct 01st, 2011
Stop calling please. I sent when I can for St Jude and need no one to call me.
gaby Frederick
 Oct 18th, 2010
Three calls over a two day period and though the answering machine is on, no message is left. We are "Partner's in Hope" and have been for 13 years. Unacceptable that they would telemarket us in this way.
KR
 Aug 05th, 2010
Billy: I was aware of InfoCision's links to some of your pick hits but without confirmation could not commit my nickname to listing them myself. It's my inner librarian at work.

Danny: You're welcome .... Very interesting how Saint Jude's provides opt-out in the most grudging way possible. I'd agree that examining the larger behavior pattern of these pitchmen is a smarter use of our time than fuming over individual calls. We always should ask a few questions before opening our wallets to strangers. These are mine:

- To InfoCision, what rate of return are you giving the charity after your per-call fees and other invoicing? (Probably they won't give a good answer, but usually it's too low for the bother and may even be a negative number.)

- To the charity group, what could you have accomplished with the ten million dollars the InfoCision chairman spent in 2008 to slap his company name on the new University of Akron stadium for two decades?

- To the FTC, why are you permitting for-profit firms like InfoCision to end-run DNC regulations? Just because the calls allege to be of a nonprofit source? Are you still smarting from the legal beatdown they and other call center firms gave you in 2003 over predictive dialing? (They actually invoked First Amendment rights to protect their very costly "free speech".)

In some cases there is one other question which leads them all: Is the charity group for real? I believe many honest and industrious charities don't bother with national phone campaigns for fear of bad PR and low ROI. You'll now and again see them protest when flimsy soundalike groups send in the phone drones to collect teardrop money which benefits no one beyond the collector.

If you want some real reporting and have a good quarter hour, look at this crippling investigation of one such sham charity, now ironically in serious debt to InfoCision.
http://neurodiversity.com/weblog/article/187

The author's expertise is autism, but her concluding lines could apply to all the conning beggars:

".... citizens and their families do not need self-appointed philanthropic middlemen who .... misrepresent their identity and scope of activity in their public appeals .... They do not need carpetbagging fundraisers-for-hire who blanket the nation with intrusive telephone solicitations and siphon resources away from legitimate support and advocacy organizations."

Phew! Did I just hear a tearing sound?
Resident
 Jul 26th, 2010
n going back to review some of your blog messages and I found this number listed additionally with the original 901-881-9984: 901-881-9978. It is the same thing, my caller ID says, "St. Judes", and after calling the hospital they actually solicit you to do mailing work for them for nothing - which is unacceptable as we already are donors and I asked them to hire me! - but the recording on the other end of these numbers talks about St. Jude's and doesn't leave an option to leave a message - but I called again and this time I waited - and If you wait for about 5 seconds after the recording says, "We're sorry we missed you and will try back in the next few days" you will be prompted TO REMOVE YOUR PHONE NUMBER FROM THE SYSTEM. Obviously, they want you to hang up before having this option so that they can legally call you over and over. This telemarketing tactic now effectively lumps St. Jude's in with the same jerk who calls me from like 10 different numbers about my heating and air duct cleaning situation! Call Type: Telemarketer

P.S.: I should like to thank "Resident" below for his or her insightful reporting, shedding light on exactly how this gets done and defines the problem in vivid detail. Real problem: Finding the solution.
Danny J
 Jul 14th, 2010
You forgot a few;
Benny Hinn Ministries
American Center for Law and Justice (the biggest client they have)
Gregory Dickow Ministries
Inspiration Ministries
Georgia Public Broadcasting
World Reserve Monetary Exchage
Heat Surge
Miracool
The Presidential Coalition
Citizens United
The Humaine Society of the United States
Ed Young Ministries
Lap-Band
Midwest Center for Stress and Anxiety
Salvation Army

The list goes on and on and on and on...
Billy the kid.
 Jun 20th, 2010
Infocision is a telemarketer based in Akron, Ohio and routinely runs aggressive campaigns for charity and political groups. Here is a potentially incomplete list of their past and current clients for the year 2010:

Alzheimers Association
American Cancer
American Diabetes
American Heart
American Institute for Cancer Research
American Lung
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation
Ave Maria University
ChildFund International
Concerned Women for America
Coral Ridge Ministries
Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America
Faith & Freedom Coalition
Habitat for Humanity
International Fellowship of Christians & Jews
Jewish National Fund
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
March of Dimes
Media Research Center
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Open Doors
Operation Blessing
Prison Fellowship Ministries
Saint Jude
Smile Train
Telecom Pioneers
UNICEF
United States Citizens Association
US English

Recent Infocision tactics include predictive dialing and the use of multiple rotating numbers to frustrate caller blocking. Because campaigns can run for weeks and months, the call center is encouraged (if not obliged by contract) to keep pelting the same unresponsive targets through the bitter end. Charities are among the FTC DNC exemptions, even if third party for-profit firms are involved in collection.

Note that there may be overlap with other telemarketing firms working the same accounts in parallel, such as Donor Services Group, Echo Marketing, MDS, and Telefund. However, as phone campaigns from client groups also tend to overlap, it is quite possible (and has already happened here) to receive calls by the dozen each week. Ostensibly they are from different sources but often they all originate from Infocision.

This means that while you may successfully get on the internal DNC list for a single client group, Infocision is bound to call again soon for any of their other thirty-odd clients. Stronger countermeasures may require entry into a master DNC list for the call center itself, a sort of blanket protection. Sometimes you may get satisfaction from contacting the charity or interest group directly and reporting to them the irritation caused by its hired phone jockeys.

However, my records show that the same charities and PACs run the same campaigns at the same times each year. Some will add a call recipient to internal DNC as requested, then conveniently forget the request just in time for the next campaign. If comments to these caller databases sound strident, it's only because we are so very tired of saying "no" every day we are near a ringing phone and having to repeat and redirect our requests.
Resident
 Apr 24th, 2010

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