I just received a call from 121 Direct Response on behalf of Comcast Cable about an offer for free HBO and Cinemax for two months. The really interesting thing was after confirming my name, address, etc, the agent (the person who called me) started saying goodbye without asking me if I agreed to the service upgrade. I stopped her by saying, “Whoa, whoa! I did not agree to this service. Put your supervisor on the phone.” I was connected with Bonnie, and quickly asked, “What in my exchange with your operator did I say to lead her to believe I’d agreed to new service?” Bonnie very nicely explained it was what I didn’t say. You see, Comcast contracted 121 Direct Response in this case to use “Assumptive Selling,” which means if you do not interrupt the speaker, you are agreeing to the additional service. As explanation for why this made any sense, Bonnie offered, “Most people will interrupt the speaker if they’re not interested.”
This is low, even by telemarketing standards. If you are a polite listener (as I sometimes can be to telemarketers) you will not be given a chance to say no until it is possibly too late. I could see an older person in my family, after the agent had already hung up, shaking their head and wondering what that crazy person was doing trying to sell them something and hanging up before selling it.
To me, this is clearly a Consumer Protection issue, if not a flat-out criminal scam–I think it specifically targets older people.