Unsolicited Business Fax Misleading - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/29/02 - East Texas

Unsolicited Business Fax Misleading

   A business beware.  East Texas business owners are becoming the target of a mass solicitation by a start up telephone company and the Tyler Better Business Bureau wants to alert you.

   Barbara Sjerven has owned a successful construction supply company for more than 30 years. Success: that makes her a target, "I was angry that they would think I was stupid." Sjerven was "blast faxed" by a phone company, called Media Telecom, looking for money but disguised as looking for advice. "Who in the world would think that you'd be recommended for an advisory board of a company you'd never heard of," ask Sjerven.

   Kay Robinson of the Tyler B.B.B says beware, "That's when they're appealing to your vanity, your business expertise."

   It's a hook. Once you're on the phone, they drop the bomb--wanting a $20 thousand dollar investment. We called Media Telecom--as any potential investor would. Their representative named Rocky Wesshouse told Channel Seven News, "It's just hype." He added, "The only reason you come across as being recommended is because you're a successful business owner or executive. Obviously we need people to call; so we make it sound as good as we can to you."

   While it sounds good, it's illegal according to the Better Business Bureau. The Federal Communication Commission considers this unsolicited advertising and it could be fined up to $500 dollars per fax.

   "A viable telephone company would certainly know what the law is and would not violate the law," says Robinson.

   Media Telecom has a bad standing with the B.B.B. It operates under several names, in several states, with many complaints. As always, it's recommended to always check out a company before sending off money .

   Jennifer Brice, reporting.

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