Telemarketers scam University libraries

The Michigan Daily Reports Some telemarketing companies have made millions of dollars by targeting unsuspecting college libraries like those at the University, according to a number of librarians.

A primary profit-making strategy of these companies is to tell the library employees that they have ordered their business-to-business directories — which provide an extensive listing of businesses that other businesses can call when they need services, such as technical support — and demanding that the library pay for them when in fact the library never purchased them. The cost of such directories ranges from $300 to $1,000, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.


I work at a public library and we've gotten these calls before. Usually, I've heard about the scams starting up in advance off of listservs and whatnot so I can warn our acquisitions people. In the past, before we were automated, the companies would call and ask whoever answered the phone about the directory. Not sure if we ever got any of the publications or not, but the acquisitions folk had some interesting stories to tell about trying to get out of paying the invoices.

The librarian 2 people before me signed up for a subscriprtion for this. Being the nice person she was she said OK when asked if she would like to add an exciting new product to the library's collection.

They audiotaped the convesation so that when they tried to collect their $699 the library would be forced to pay. I personally didn't hear it but they played for the library's attorney and he said they didn't have a leg to stand on.

I have had a couple sales people call me with very high pressure sales calls and I don't have any problem hanging up on people who don't let me get a word in edgewise.