Let me first say I am not a member of AARP nor have I ever been a member. And yet like many of you, my wife and I have received unsolicited mailings from AARP. I have called them on numerous occasions to cancel these only to have the mailings start again a few months later.
The final straw was the result of a recent move and then mailings from “their affiliate companies”. So on a regular basis we would receive the following mailings from AARP:
- Mailings to me at our current address from AARP
- Mailings to my wife at our current address from AARP
- Mailings to me at our old address from AARP
- Mailings to my wife at our old address from AARP
- Mailings to me at our current address that are from AARP affiliates
- Mailings to my wife our current address that are from AARP affiliates
- Mailings to me at our old address that are from AARP affiliates
- Mailings to my wife at our old address that are from AARP affiliates
As you can see these really start to pile up so I called during the summer to have them take us off their mailing list once again only to have the mailings start up again last month. So I called the affiliate on the mailing and they removed me from their mailing list but they told me I had to call AARP to get removed from AARP’s mailing list or it would continue to happen because “we get mailing lists from AARP”.
So today I called AARP to have them remove us from their mailing list and the following is the gist of the conversation.
- I need to get removed from your mailing list as I am registered on the no contact list.
- What type of mailing was it sir?
- Does it matter?
- Yes, I need to know if it was from AARP or one of our affiliate companies.
- The mailing I’m looking at appears to be from an affiliate company, Hartford, but also appears to be from AARP because your logo is on the mailing.
- It’s not from us sir, it’s from an affiliate company so you will have to contact them to get removed.
- I already did and they told me to contact you to get removed from the AARP mailing list or this could happen again.
- Just a moment sir.
- By the way, I never signed up with AARP but you are selling my name to other companies which is wrong.
- Sir we do not sell your name to other companies we have affiliates that we share mailing lists with. Sir, you will have to contact the other companies to stop the mailings.
- Do you understand how stupid what you just said sounds. You don’t sell mailing lists to other companies, but you do share them with affiliates, and you can’t stop the affiliate from sending the mailings because they are another company. Want to try again!?
- Hold on a moment, Sir.
- After about 4 minutes she returns.
- Sir, we do purchase mailing lists but we do not sell them. We share them with our affiliates.
- Ok, let me see if I understand this. You don’t sell your mailing lists to outside companies, but you do share it with affiliates. Yet these affiliates are outside companies. Do you get a kick back from these affiliate mailings. Before you answer that I need to inform you that this call it being recorded.
- Sir you cannot do that.
- Why not? You are doing it. It stated that at the beginning of the call.
- Sir, this call is over.
Great customer service, wouldn’t you say. AARP plays hard and fast with the law. They don’t sell your name to other companies, that would be illegal according to their privacy statement. But they do “share” it with affiliates. An affiliate is another company that they have an agreement with. And what is the agreement? The affiliate can use the mailing list and AARP gets a kick back from the business the affiliate receives from the mailing list.
“Share with Affiliates” sounds so warm and fuzzy but its just another way of saying, “AARP sells their mailing lists to other companies”.
To be blunt, this is low life tactics.
By the way, I was not recording the call. I wanted to see what they would say if a customer wanted to do the same thing they do. What I discovered is they believe they are above the law because they will not allow customers to do to them, what they do to customers.
Not a business to do business with.
In light of this AARP gets an “F”.© copyright 2009 VoiceWind & Greg Loveless
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