In weighing the costs of phone sales, telesellers and telesales industry groups do not consider the costs that are imposed on telephone subscribers, such as the expense incurred from lost time, the monthly cost of caller ID or privacy manager services, the purchase of answering machines to screen calls, and the monthly cost of maintaining an unlisted phone number.

Chances are, your bank or credit card company either sells your personal information to telesellers or operates a telesales business with your personal information through an affiliate. Thousands of telesales sales calls are made to defraud consumers. In 1999, Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch brought suit against US Bancorp for selling customer account information to Member Works, a telesales company.

However, it is sometimes difficult to identify telesales scams from legitimate offers. A telesales fraud scheme generally begins when you receive a postcard or letter in the mail detailing an appealing offer. Some criminals use telesales techniques to get information for theft purposes. One of the most common types of fraud involves telesales schemes that misrepresent the value, the terms of sale, or the use of the goods or services being sold. Most telesales firms use a tactic called predictive dialing so as not to waste the telesellers valuable time while waiting for you to pick up.

Consumers experience telesales from a completely different point of view: more than 92% perceive commercial telephone calls as a violation of privacy. Registering your telephone number on the Do Not Call Register will not stop all telesales calls to your number. Privacy advocates argue that outbound telesales invades the sanctity of an individual s home and should be limited.

Source: Richard Heap