The Terrors of Telemarketing

Must-see TV, tonight on Fox: When Telemarketers Attack.

Such a show may not be far off, and all of Colorado might tune in. In 2001, the state’s general assembly passed legislation creating a no-call list people could use to protect themselves from unwanted telemarketing calls. And yes, that would include calls involving threatening, expletive-laden messages.

Last Monday, an employee of Salt Lake City-based Teleperformance USA, calling on behalf of Qwest Communications, was displeased when a customer in Evergreen, Colo., hung up on him. So he called back. According to the AP, he left this message: “Yeah, did you understand that? [Expletive] hanging up on somebody like that again. [Expletive] I’m coming in your [expletive] house, you [expletive]. What the [expletive] you gonna do? I’ll [expletive] kill you.”

Denver-based Qwest traced the call to TUSA, and the employee was fired. Qwest then terminated its contract with the company.

The sheriff’s department in Colorado’s Jefferson County is investigating, but TUSA appears to be playing the role of its prey: not taking calls. Sheriff spokesman Jim Shires tells Shoptalk that TUSA has yet to answer requests for the employee’s contact information.

Shires said the case is a hot topic in Colorado. But he’s willing to give most telemarketers the benefit of the doubt. “Sometimes they become a little aggressive, but that’s part of being a salesman,” he says. “I believe to some degree that led to a lot of Colorado’s No-Call List requests. But as long as they perform their job in a professional manner, we have no problem with it.”