Apparent scam targets recorded customer-service calls

Columbia Sportswear is in legal fight over a recorded phone call. SNEWS looks at why these cases actually might be scams.

While clear of one lawsuit Thursday, Columbia Sportswear faces an unrelated legal claim that the company failed to inform callers to its customer service line that their conversations were being recorded.

Attorneys on behalf of Talia Hurst of California claim that Columbia violated the state’s law requiring disclosure of recorded phone calls. While this is law in California, it is not a law in Oregon, where Columbia is headquartered.

Columbia officials couldn’t go into specifics of the ongoing case, but a transcript of the call in question, filed with court and reviewed by SNEWS, seems highly irregular -- with Hurst seemingly insistent to share her social security number with the Columbia customer-service representative instead of her full name.

Columbia has proactively taken the case to the U.S. District Court in Portland, Ore., requesting that the charges be dropped based on a number of factors.

The case serves as advice to outdoor companies to cover their legal bases when it comes to informing and recording customer phone calls.

It’s not always a true customer calling, and scammers have plenty of tricks up their sleeves. One example of abusing the law involves the caller asking the customer-service representative to call him/her back, at which point a "spouse" then answers the phone and discloses confidential information. The spouse then claims he/she never knew the call was being recorded, even though the initial caller was informed.

--David Clucas



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