Anatomy of a slamming attempt

I just received a phone call from an unknown Melbourne number.

03 9001 5893

Unfortunately, I couldn’t record the call, but it went something like this.

The caller: “Hi, I’m such and such calling about your Telstra land line. Your account has been flagged for review because you are eligible for a concession which incorrectly has not been applied, because you are spending over a hundred dollars a month your landline.

Me: “Sorry, who is calling? Are you from Telstra?” (I’m already guessing this is not a legitimate Telstra call)

Caller: (very quickly) “Yes, this is a Telstra wholesaler and I’m calling about your land line ending in **** because you are spending over a hundred dollars a month and you are eligible for a concession cap which has not been applied to your account. This will be a monthly cap of $75 per month and includes all STD and long distance calls …

Me: “Huh, I didn’t think we were spending that much.” (Leading them on now)

Caller:What was your last bill for?

Me: “But you can tell what the last bill was for, can’t you?” (Of course they can’t)

Caller:Sure. Well, I can fix that all up for you, and apply the cap to your account.

Me: “What company are you calling from? This isn’t Telstra, is it?” (Time to call them on it?)

Caller: (quickly again) “Our company is Fairtalk Australia and we are an authorised Telstra wholesaler.

Me: “So this is deliberately deceptive, isn’t it? You didn’t identify yourself as Fairtalk, you talked about my Telstra account as if you were from Telstra.”

Caller:Sorry about that.

Me: “I will be reporting this phone call. What was your name again?”

[dial tone]

Well. They were deceptive in their identity initially and even when questioned used misleading terms like ‘Telstra wholesaler’ rather than their company name. When they finally gave their company name, they rushed through it and tried to sound like they were authorised to speak on behalf of Telstra, rather than an independent company.

So, I took a look at their website, and soon thereafter @FrancisChui pointed out their little blurb on misleading sales calls, which I’ll quote:

Misleading Sales

The idea that any of our staff might deceive you with false promises as a method of gaining you as a customer is a horrendous one. At Fairtalk we believe in being as up front and honest with our customers as possible. Because of this we need to be informed if an individual in our sales department has let his team and by extension the whole company down. If it should come to your attention by whatever means that the offer made to you has not been followed through, please let us know immediately.

I note that it doesn’t say anything about misleading identity or pretending to be a Telstra employee – just misleading promises.

As the sales guy hung up on me, rather than take responsibility for the manner in which he conducted his unsolicited phone call to me, I decided to push this a little further.  Hence the blog post, and the follow up with ACCC.  I’m not the first person to have had this misleading conduct.

Be warned.  Always ask for full identity information.  If they are a Telstra representative, then they’ll have the details of your last bill already.  These guys didn’t.

2 thoughts on “Anatomy of a slamming attempt

  1. Mate, I work for FairTalk, and we deal a lot of customers everyday, and a lot of freshers are joining everyday, and we earn our bread & butter from this, so I’m very sorry if any of the staff misled you, but that’s the reason the Australian Govt. provides a cooling off period. In case you are misled by any chance,you can easily find that out in the confirmation letter that you get in 2-3 days & you can cancel your services in the cooling off period. Please understand, no one is here to rob your money, we just show you a reasonable amount of savings, that’s all!!! Still if such things happen you can always complain to ACCC and cancel your services free of cost.

  2. Thank you for responding. But I don’t think that really cuts much mustard. The reason the cooling off period was introduced was to resolve problems with misleading conduct. You shouldn’t be basing your business around it!

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