2.6 Billion Robo-Calls Later, Why Won’t Rachel from Cardholder Services Just Go Away?

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Rachel from Cardholder Services, please stop calling. We all know you’re a scam.

If you’ve never heard from Rachel, consider yourself lucky. Rachel is the name untold millions of Americans have heard when answering their phones with a message that at first appears to be coming from their credit card company. “Hi. This is Rachel from Cardholder Services” is how it usually begins. What follows then is an offer to reduce your credit card rates, and if you follow, you’ll likely be asked to pay a fee for the privilege.

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The Federal Trade Commission, which in 2010 shut down a massive robo-calling operation that was responsible for a huge number of the calls from Rachel — and Stacey, a similar friendly voice selling auto warranties — said the responsible company made 2.6 billion calls in a year and a half period, of which 1.6 billion were answered by consumers. Of those, 12.8 million people actually spoke with an agent, the FTC said. Yes, it took a lot of calls (generated by computers, which don’t get too tired), but nearly 13 million people bit.

Following that shutdown, the FTC saw a decline in complaints from people on the national Do Not Call registry. But it was short-lived, with complaints soaring to a new record in 2011. Last week, the FTC settled a case against SBN Peripherals (a.k.a. Asia Pacific Telecom), agreeing to a permanent ban from telemarketing and a payment of $3 million in assets.

So, now that the company that made billions of calls is gone, why is Rachel still calling? Why are so many consumers still filing Do Not Call list complaints against her and her ilk? (She recently called my cell phone.)

While SBN and its related companies might have been Rachel’s biggest launching pad, it was hardly her only one. The FTC, which is in charge of policing Do Not Call violators, recognizes consumers’ frustration with Rachel’s persistence and the annoyance of these calls, which do not discriminate between home or cell phone. “Rachel is a sort of generic name recording that different scammers use,” explained FTC spokesman Frank Dorman. “It’s not just one big operation.”

Citing the shutdown of the massive operation that helped propel Rachel into infamy, Dorman said the government intends to continue going after other Rachel users – and even those that don’t employ the voice that most Americans have learned to hang up on. “The FTC is continuing to aggressively go after these robo-callers,” Dorman said. “That’s not just talk.”

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Robo-calls – those made by an auto-dialer with a recorded voice playing when you answer – are illegal, for the most part. Politicians can still use them in most states, but they cannot be used as a sales tool unless a consumer specifically authorizes a company to use them. The practice of altering what consumers see on their caller ID, known as spoofing, is common to these robo-calling operations and is also illegal.

Dorman urged consumers who are on the Do Not Call list to file complaints online if they get these calls. “It only takes a minute to enter it,” he said. “We need the complaints to look for patterns. We then use those in developing enforcement cases.”

So, complain away. Perhaps one day we might all be able to live our lives without hearing from lawbreaking Rachel (or Stacey) ever again.

8 comments
fuelup250
fuelup250

I have just filed a lawsuit against "Rachel" and "Scott" and "Brigette" and etc. etc.  better known as Cardholders Services.  The fine is $1500.  Call Morgan & Morgan lawyers and file your suit!

MattHill1
MattHill1

I have a VISA gift card that expired long ago that I give them the number, along with a future dated exp date, fake last 4 and fake zip code. When they ask for the phone number on the back, I give them 1-800-256-9562


Usually they hang up after about 15 seconds after I'm put on hold. Just think of the power of 50,000 people wasting 5 minutes of their time

TheLadyKCT
TheLadyKCT

2014 and now its Scott from care holder services.    They hang up if you try to say put me on your do not call list.   I know it doesn't do anything, but now I wait till someone comes on the line and then blow an airhorn in their ear.  

Phil3rd
Phil3rd

The last complaint I sent to the Do Not Call List I cc’d to both Senators and my Congressman, let them see the 1,000s of complaints being filed than perhaps they will get off of their dead azzes and do something about it.

Dan_in_St._Louis
Dan_in_St._Louis

Guess what? They are still in business.

Callers variously identified as Card Services, Card Holder Services, OCC QALL CORD, Name Not Found, Unknown Name. Called from 407-476-5689 on 10/3/12 at 4:56pm; 914-594-9052 on 11/10/12 at 2:10pm; 347-896-6046 on 11/13/12 at 2:45pm; 768-000-8689 on 11/29/12 at 10:08am; 410-844-5512 on 12/19/12 at 4:45pm; 424-273-2029 on 12/21/12 at 9:22am; 849-963-4854 on 1/9/13 at 3:27pm; 849-963-4854 on 1/12/13 at 10:02am; blocked number on 1/18/13 at 11:59am.

These are all the same “Card Holder Services” company. I have “pressed 9 to be removed from our list,” I have directly told human salesmen that we are on the Do Not Call lists (and got cursed at), and I have just hung up – beginning several months before the dates recorded above.

mrphilbert
mrphilbert

I have a proposal to help fix this problem.

Have the feds and the credit card companies (Visa, Mastercard etc.) cooperate by creating special credit card accounts. These accounts would be used strictly for tracing purposes. When an agent receives one of these scam calls he/she gives out the tracing card number. 

When the credit card gets billed, the feds and the card companies immediately shut down the accounts of the company or individuals that perpetrate these crimes/scams. Then the information gets to be used for prosecution.

If the criminals discover that they cannot use the card companies to help in their activities, they will eventually move on.

JessePeterson
JessePeterson

@Dan_in_St._Louis They sure are. They call me several times a week. I push "1", lead them on, then put down the phone until they hang up.