In recent weeks, a telemarketer has been blitzing this area trying to get consumers to switch their electric energy supplier to Starion Energy.
This outfit has been contacting folks on the "do not call" list, and I can personally attest that they did indeed call my home number at least once -- and it has been on the do not call list for years. Most of the calls I have received have been to my business lines, however. There is no requirement that they honor the federal do not call list for business lines, I believe.
When they call local folks here, the caller-ID box displays what appears to be a local number: 410-397-0063. Google that number, and you get all kinds of hits and horror stories, etc. Most of the time, even if folks answer the phone, they get dead silence and eventually hung up on.
If one calls back that number, they get a recording that says, "The number you have dialed has not been assigned"
My first thought is that these folks are spoofing a fake caller-ID to attempt to get folks to actually answer their phone when they call, since displaying a toll-free number is a dead giveaway that a telemarketer is calling. Folks generally won't answer the phone if they don't recognize the calling number, and specifically won't answer if they believe that a telemarketer is on the other end.
But when I received my phone bill today, I noticed that the itemized call list showed the same 410-397-0063 number as a dialed and completed call. In other words: When I attempted to call them back, I was billed for the call to listen to the "non-assigned" recording.
I believe that they may be paying for that local number in order to escape possible violation of laws requiring a proper ID being displayed. If they are indeed the subscriber to that number, are they allowed to use it as a legitimate ID display when placing telemarketing calls to local folks? I thought that the displayed number has to be one that allows consumers to call back the company that called them? And calling back the company has to be more than receiving a "non-assigned" message?
The second thought that comes to my mind is they are lying to me even before I answer the phone! How can I believe anything they have to say if they lie to me just to get me to answer the phone?
The third thought I have is can I file harassment complaints against them for calling my line(s) multiple times and then hanging up on me? Isn't that against the law as well?
The last thought I have on this is they are wasting much of their time contacting folks who are served by the local cooperative, who is already offering better rates than they have to offer. When I did engage them in conversation, I learned they are offering a power generation rate of $.079 per kWh. Choptank Cooperative's basic residential generation rate is $.07532 when you factor in their negative power-cost adjustments.