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Telemarketer reveals tricks of trade
MSNBC ^ | April 21, 2003 | Bob Sullivan

Posted on 04/24/2003 4:32:09 PM PDT by lainie

The phone rings in the middle of a busy day. “I just want to verify some information for your yellow page listing,” says a voice on the other end of the line. It’s your business, so you agree to the chat. Name. Address. Phone number. You reply with a simple “yes” to eight or nine rapid-fire questions. A month later, there’s a $29.95 charge on your phone bill for a service you don’t remember ordering. You’ve been crammed, another victim of fast-talking telemarketers who are skirting the edges of telecommunications law to create a multimillion industry.

..But the former employee, who was laid off by the company several weeks ago, alleges that Epixtar’s telemarketers use a variety of techniques — including altering taped telephone calls — to prove that customers agreed to charges.

..On the call, the Epixtar operator says she is verifying the business name and address. Then, after she gets the consumer into the rhythm of giving “yes” answers, she establishes that he has the right to make changes to the phone bill. But that key question, read at lightning-quick speed, is slipped in behind another simple “yes” answer.

“At this time we will begin your no obligation 30-day free trial. Should you decide to continue after 30 days your company’s Web and Internet service is only $29.95 monthly and will be included in your local phone bill appearing under the heading online services ...,” the operator says. The flummoxed consumer replies hesitatingly, “Yes ....” The former employee claims the tape was neatly cut after the word “yes.”

(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: smallbusiness; telemarketing
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1 posted on 04/24/2003 4:32:09 PM PDT by lainie
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To: lainie
I always say, "We're having a dinner party and we're all sitting down now. I can't talk" (click). If during the day I say, "I'm home sick from work and I'm soooo ill" (make sure you sound like you're running to the bathroom) .... (click).

I've not given a telemarketer more than 15 seconds in many years. Don't wait for them to reply, hang up.

2 posted on 04/24/2003 4:36:26 PM PDT by BunnySlippers
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To: BunnySlippers
Gee; you are nicer then me!

As the spiel-giver winds up to give-me-the-deal-of-the-century, I simply utter a curt "no thanks" and hang the phone up.
3 posted on 04/24/2003 4:41:23 PM PDT by Sweet_Sunflower29 (Snapping fingers in a *whatever_shape_it_is* for emphasis.)
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To: BunnySlippers
It all depends - if I'm eating, or leaving, I'll cut them off and say "Put me on your do not call list." If I'm sitting around bored, I'll do like I did one young woman who called. She introduced herself as Heidi and proceeded through her sales pitch. I never said yes or no - just "go on, go on." After a couple minutes, she said "Well, Mr. ####, what do you think?" To which I replied, "Heidi, I'm completely naked - what are you wearing?" I heard a click and silence.
4 posted on 04/24/2003 4:42:18 PM PDT by Tennessee_Bob (Dieses sieht wie ein Job nach Nothosen aus!)
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To: BunnySlippers
I remember seeing a movie in which a guy gets a call right in the middle of his dinner. The guy cuts off the telemarketer in mid-sentence and says, "Are you proud of yourself? Is this what you wanted to be when you were growing up?" then immediately hangs up. I spit my coke into my popcorn when I heard that.
5 posted on 04/24/2003 4:43:27 PM PDT by rickmichaels (Those who f*** with America f*** themselves)
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To: lainie
I recently fell for this. I knew I could cancel at any time before 30 days. When the literature came in the mail, it was basically internet service. The call was maily about being published in a business directory. Side benefits were one hour of legal and accounting advice per month. But it essentially turned out to be a web service and a website.

I immediately called customer service. Boy, they did EVERYTHING to get me not to cancel. 1/2 price, free this, free that. I told them that I didn't want to deal with this again later and I don't want any special rates on anything. The only thing I wanted was an immediate cancellation, a reference number, and the employees name. I got all this.

I then e-mailed customers service with this cancellation number, the name of the employee, and a request to cancel my service.

So far, I haven't seen any charges on my phone bill.

I'm usually very good with telemarketers, but this method caught me off guard. I figured, hey I get listed in a business directory, I can always cancel.

Then I realized later the old poetry scam, where you are solicited for your poems and are sold a published book. The catch is that the book is only sold to those who submitted poems!! The same with the business directory, what good is it to get listed in a book with a small distribution?

So, whenever a telemarketer calls, if it sounds interesting, simply say the following: "Please send me some literature" or better yet ask for a website so that you can get more information.

After getting their website, promptly ask them to you off of their telemarketing list. I usually do this and many are reluctant to send information. If it's really a deal, then a legitimate company would send you something before you decide.
6 posted on 04/24/2003 4:47:46 PM PDT by 1stFreedom
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To: BunnySlippers
I always say, "We do not receive solicitation calls. State law requires you to remove us from your list." Of course we don't answer calls that block caller-id.
7 posted on 04/24/2003 4:48:05 PM PDT by js1138
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To: lainie
Once upon a time, tele-marketing wasn't all bad. I started with it part time 30 years ago... folks got 2 calls a year and were often happy to talk with you. If you were selling a good product at a good price, it wasn't bad at all. By the late 80's it was over. Everybody hated you, and you were hard pressed to hire any one who wasn't a flake or a felon.

Now, when I want to blow them off, I use one of two techniques. When they ask if I am Mr X, I'll sadly say, "No, Mr X took his own life about an hour ago." Alternately, I explain that Mr. X was taken away by Federal Marshalls about an hour ago. Both techniques get you right off the list. :)
8 posted on 04/24/2003 4:48:48 PM PDT by halley
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To: lainie
I let them give their whole spiel and then when they ask if I am interested I say......"Huh? Whats this about?"
9 posted on 04/24/2003 4:50:55 PM PDT by Arkinsaw
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To: lainie
My standard answer. "This is a restricted line. No incoming calls will be taken without prior arrangement."
10 posted on 04/24/2003 4:52:07 PM PDT by RLK
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To: lainie
I usually take the time to critique their sales technique.

Usually, they get flummoxed and hang up on me. Which is good for a chuckle.

11 posted on 04/24/2003 4:52:23 PM PDT by OrthodoxPresbyterian (We are Unworthy Servants; We have only done our Duty)
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To: js1138
I never answer my phone. All calls are audibly screened. My answer machine has the disconnect tone followed by my greeting. (Don't have to buy telezapper, just download disconnect tone and put at beginning of your message.)

When I get the occassional call for a bill that went to collections 10 years ago, this happens:

Telemkt: "Hello, is xyz Home?
Me: "Who's calling?"
Telemkt: "I'm calling about a personal matter"
Me: "I need to know who you are. It's customary to introduce one's self when calling. You called this number, please identify yourself as well as the company you are working for"
Telemkt: "We can only reveal that information to xyz"
Me: "Well, I have no clue about this xyz. XYZ does not reside here. Please remove update your numbers and do not call again."

Keeps them away for about 2 years or so. (Who in the heck tries collecting on a $100, 10 year old charge off???)
12 posted on 04/24/2003 4:54:26 PM PDT by 1stFreedom
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To: halley
Once upon a time, tele-marketing wasn't all bad. I started with it part time 30 years ago...

Caller-id has helped me avoid the telemarketers.  When I do get "snagged", typically the caller hacks up my first name, so I just tell them, "No, she's not here".  I won't let myself be rude to the caller because they're only trying to make a living.

One method that I haven't used which I think is excellent:  when the caller asks for so-and-so, tell them yes, just a minute.  Put the phone down and let it sit until the caller gets tired of waiting.  Voila! you've just saved another few persons from calls while the telemarketer's line is tied up waiting on no one.   :-)

13 posted on 04/24/2003 4:55:33 PM PDT by GirlShortstop
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To: lainie
I try to say as quickly into their "speil" as possible before they can hang up, "Please put me on your do-not-call list." My son worked for MBNA (against our advice) and informed us that that is the wording to use that they have to "obey." He ended up hating his job, thus giving us some credibility in his 17 year old mind. We have also told callers that we make no purchases over the phone. If we want it, we'll go search it out ourselves.
14 posted on 04/24/2003 4:56:36 PM PDT by repubmom (Trust in the Lord with all your heart....Prov. 3:5,6)
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To: BunnySlippers
I had a call the other night trying to sell me Dish Network. (I had it at one time) After a couple of "I'm not interested" I finally blurted out that Sears was coming to repo my TV tomorrow because my my wife had run up huge depts at the casino. I did this in a almost sobbing voice and when he signed off he said he had a similar experience and he understood. I have many other sob stories to use when I have to...
15 posted on 04/24/2003 4:57:15 PM PDT by tubebender (?)
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To: repubmom
I asked to be put on a do not call list when a telemarketer called. She responded that I had to call the direct marketing association. I told her I have already called that quite a few times and demanded she put me on the do not call list. We went round and round and I said, "Look, I'm unemployed with tons of time on my hand. Call me again and I'm taking your company to court to collect my automatic judgement."

I haven't heard from them since.
16 posted on 04/24/2003 4:58:44 PM PDT by 1stFreedom
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To: halley
When they ask for Mr. FourPeas, I've been known to go into a rant about the bum running off with a younger woman leaving me with small children to raise, or about him dying just last week, or whatever strikes me at the moment. Of course, I never forget to ask them to take us off their list.
17 posted on 04/24/2003 5:00:12 PM PDT by FourPeas
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To: Arkinsaw
I like that.
18 posted on 04/24/2003 5:00:35 PM PDT by FourPeas
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To: lainie
I usually ask for their Visa or Mastercard number and explain that I charge $5 per minute to listen to sales pitches. Click.
19 posted on 04/24/2003 5:00:35 PM PDT by irishtenor (Red Green is my hero.)
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To: Tennessee_Bob
That's funny!
20 posted on 04/24/2003 5:01:34 PM PDT by stands2reason ("...und keine Eier.")
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To: OrthodoxPresbyterian
I see lots of potential (and fun) here.
21 posted on 04/24/2003 5:01:37 PM PDT by FourPeas
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To: lainie
To ward off calls like this, you could:

Intone a very worried-sounding voice, and ask forebodingly if the caller knows how to get a large blood stains out of a carpet.

Gets a dial tone every time.

22 posted on 04/24/2003 5:03:38 PM PDT by gaijin
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To: BunnySlippers
Here's what you do.
As soon as your realize it's a telemarketer you tell him,
"I really want to talk to but can you hang on one minute?"
Then you put the phone down and go about your buisiness till you hear the disconnect tones comming from the phone. With a little luck you tie the jerk up for a few minutes. Thats 5 or 6 people he didn't call.....
23 posted on 04/24/2003 5:03:48 PM PDT by Kozak
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To: lainie
In a very deep cowboy voice say...."My momma ain't home right now. You are gonna have to talk to my momma. I'm only 13."
24 posted on 04/24/2003 5:05:24 PM PDT by Arkinsaw
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To: lainie
Recently Mr. FourPeas told one telemarketer that he was annoying and to put us on their do not call list. After he hung up, the guy called back again and started to get abusive. Hubby hung up again. The guy called back yet again and threatened him. Calls to the phone company, etc. were fruitless. The office that handles the violation is only open M-F office hours and they won't do anything if it happens at night or on the weekends.
25 posted on 04/24/2003 5:05:25 PM PDT by FourPeas
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To: Tennessee_Bob
To which I replied, "Heidi, I'm completely naked - what are you wearing?" I heard a click and silence.

I tried that once. Unfortunately...after describing my body parts in detail..no one clicked off. Much to my chagrin...I realized...I had left my speed dial on 1 900..........

26 posted on 04/24/2003 5:07:21 PM PDT by Focault's Pendulum (I'm just a curmudgeon surrounded by the hopeless panacea of youth)
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To: lainie
Sometimes I get creative. Someone selling siding, I live in a brick home. Someone peddling phone plans, I do not have a phone (this one is really fun!)

I usually tell the caller I do not buy anything over the phone. One time I got a smart @ss who responded, "Yeah right how about pizza? You order pizza from a phone."

His answer might have worked expect I live in the boonies. The nearest pizza place is 45 miles away.

27 posted on 04/24/2003 5:07:34 PM PDT by VetoBill (Who is the actor that plays Dan Rather?)
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To: lainie
I try to be creative with responses to telemarketers. A few years ago, I was receiving as many as 2 calls a day every day for a week from Arthur Murray Dance Studios. (Guess they were having trouble meeting their quota). Polite "no"s didn't work, being rude didn't work, hanging up didn't work. I finally told the lady telemarketer that I was a Vietnam veteran that used to be a professional ballroom dancer before losing both my legs to a land mine. I asked her in the most plaintive voice that I could feign, "Could I come down there and just ... watch other people dance?" The calls stopped.

(Yes, a thoroughly reprehensible story, and I'm a little ashamed of it. But it worked).

28 posted on 04/24/2003 5:08:00 PM PDT by strela ("... you're lucky you still have your brown paper bag, small change ...")
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To: stands2reason
Somehow, my cell phone ended up on a calling list. I was getting several calls a day, and it was driving me crazy. We had fun with it at work. It rang one time, and my boss answered it. He explained that they couldn't speak to me right now, because I was busy packing my stuff because I'd gotten fired for getting so many calls at work and theirs was the last straw. I answered the phone once and when they asked for me, I asked who was calling - I identified myself as a sheriff's deputy (which I'm not) and told the rep that this phone was found at a crime scene and was vital evidence...so tell me who it belongs to. I had a supervisor on the phone in a heartbeat - and then told her to put me on the do not call list and hung up.
29 posted on 04/24/2003 5:08:32 PM PDT by Tennessee_Bob (Dieses sieht wie ein Job nach Nothosen aus!)
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To: lainie
After finally fobbing off a very persistent lady telemarketer, bid her goodbye, and as I hung up, she, thinking she was off the line said under her breath, "boy this really sucks!" I was laughing my butt off!!!
30 posted on 04/24/2003 5:08:56 PM PDT by SpinyNorman
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To: Focault's Pendulum
LOL!
31 posted on 04/24/2003 5:09:31 PM PDT by Tennessee_Bob (Dieses sieht wie ein Job nach Nothosen aus!)
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To: lainie
Since colorado's do not call list went into affect, I don't get calls anymore, but I always said
"Just a minute...", and put the phone down.
32 posted on 04/24/2003 5:15:49 PM PDT by PatrioticAmerican ("hatemonger")
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To: GirlShortstop
"One method that I haven't used which I think is excellent: when the caller asks for so-and-so, tell them yes, just a minute. Put the phone down and let it sit until the caller gets tired of waiting. Voila! you've just saved another few persons from calls while the telemarketer's line is tied up waiting on no one. :-) "

I always say Mr. or Mrs. X is not here, and ask if I can take a message or have them call back. Works every time. And it's polite. If you answer the phone, and you hear a 3-to 5-second pause, hang up. It's THEM.

33 posted on 04/24/2003 5:15:49 PM PDT by redhead (Les Franšais sont des singes de capitulation qui mangent du fromage.)
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To: redhead
If you answer the phone, and you hear a 3-to 5-second pause, hang up. It's THEM.

GOOD point!  I've yet to be told by a family member or friend that I hung up on them.  FReegards.
34 posted on 04/24/2003 5:19:22 PM PDT by GirlShortstop
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To: lainie
Or, when they start talking just say "WHAT LEONARD? Speak up. I can't hear you Leonard. When are you going to visit me again Leonard. I am so lonely Leonard and you don't care.
35 posted on 04/24/2003 5:19:36 PM PDT by Arkinsaw
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To: lainie
1. If you say hello once and you just hear background noise from a boiler room, hang up. Don't say hello a second time.

2. Don't wait for them to do their spiel. Ask them why they are calling. Find out in the first 10 seconds.

3. I'm not interested. Slam.

36 posted on 04/24/2003 5:21:13 PM PDT by wideminded
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To: lainie
Sometimes I let them go through their spiel, and then tell them a joke. I can't repeat the jokes here, since they would get me banned from FR. But boy, do they ever get them off the line fast.
37 posted on 04/24/2003 5:21:25 PM PDT by Loyalist
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To: Loyalist
Sometimes I let them go through their spiel, and then tell them a joke.

If the punchline of the joke is '"Hey, look at the two ass****s on that camel!!",' I hold the copyright on it. Stop telling it immediately ;)

38 posted on 04/24/2003 5:24:15 PM PDT by strela ("... you're lucky you still have your brown paper bag, small change ...")
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To: Tennessee_Bob
I just got a call from someone representing the "Publishers". The dude told me as I was their best customer, they were going to give me an extra 60 months. Of what, I asked. You magazine subscriptions, he said. Which ones, I replied. All of them, he said. Dude, says I, do you realize just how many magazines I get? Tell me which ones. I can't he said, but I'll put you through to customer service, he says. No way, I told him, some of these magazines I just renewed. You did?, he says. Yup, says I. Which ones, he asks. I don't remember, I told him. But, if he mails me a list of all the magazines he thinks I need to renew, then he can mail it to me. Oh, and don't call me again unless you know just WHAT magazines I subscribe to.

I think it was a scam. If I had said yes, the bill would have topped $350!!!!

39 posted on 04/24/2003 5:26:06 PM PDT by Alas Babylon!
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To: BunnySlippers
When they ask for my husband....I tell them "He died." It works. They don't bother me again.....and my husband laughs.
40 posted on 04/24/2003 5:28:52 PM PDT by goodnesswins (THANK a service member for your FREEDOM, and thank a business owner for your job.)
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To: rickmichaels
"Are you proud of yourself? Is this what you wanted to be when you were growing up?" then immediately hangs up. I spit my coke into my popcorn when I heard that.

Hahaha ... I'm going to remember that one. :)

41 posted on 04/24/2003 5:29:31 PM PDT by BunnySlippers
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To: lainie; Kevin Curry; Roscoe

Sounds like those (self-righteously self-centered) Objectivist Titans of (selfish) society are busy creating redistributing wealth! Gubermint, get off their backs, now!

42 posted on 04/24/2003 5:29:50 PM PDT by Cultural Jihad
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To: lainie
This guy knows how to deal with telemarketers.
43 posted on 04/24/2003 5:32:51 PM PDT by uglybiker (Just got new boots. Lookin' for a peacenik's face to try 'em out on.)
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To: 1stFreedom
If it's really a deal, then a legitimate company would send you something before you decide.

Most of these companies, legitimate or otherwise, usually pay their telemarketers on commission. Sending you literature, even if you end up buying, produces no comission for the telemarketer which is why they are generally reluctant. Usually, even if they say they will send literature, they don't because there's nothing in it for them. Even more professional sales organizations that allow the telephone person to follow his contacts the way an outside sales person would don't like to just send literature, since they know it usually doesn't produce a sale after they've been trying to close the deal on the phone.

44 posted on 04/24/2003 5:33:03 PM PDT by templar
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To: All
I have enjoyed these responses but here's what I consider the best.

Create an account at http://www.ureach.com/. Costs less than $10 month to obtain a private toll-free number. Give this number to every business you contact. Use the website to forward your calls to home phone, cell phone, whatever you want.

I haven't had a telemarketing call in years -- except the kind where they're just dialing random numbers, and I tell them it's a modem line that I happened to see blinking. In those cases they don't even have your name. Yes, everyone that calls me costs me in minutes, but it's worth it. I think the software would even let me refuse calls from a certain number, now that I think about it.

45 posted on 04/24/2003 5:35:21 PM PDT by lainie
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To: lainie
Once there was a lady trying to sell my mom a securtiy system for my home.

She patiently waited it out and when the lady asked if she wanted to buy she said, "No, I already have a security system that works fine."

The lady pressed saying that this security system was much better. "No, I'm very happy with mine, thank you..." my mom said. "It works everytime without fail."

The lady asked what kind of a system could *possibly* be better than the one she was selling.

"Two big dogs and a loaded gun."
The lady said a quiet "oh...." and promptly hung up. We still laugh over it today.
46 posted on 04/24/2003 5:39:03 PM PDT by 4mycountry (Anyone can be average---it takes something special to be weird. I am honored to be weird.)
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To: FourPeas
To: OrthodoxPresbyterian I see lots of potential (and fun) here. 21 posted on 04/24/2003 5:01 PM PDT by FourPeas

Life's too short to get incensed over minor annoyances.

Better by far to amuse one's self therewith, IMO.

47 posted on 04/24/2003 5:41:30 PM PDT by OrthodoxPresbyterian (We are Unworthy Servants; We have only done our Duty)
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To: Tennessee_Bob; gaijin
>>>"Heidi, I'm completely naked - what are you wearing?" I heard a click and silence.
>>>ask forebodingly if the caller knows how to get a large blood stains out of a carpet.

ROTFLOL!! Good ones!!

48 posted on 04/24/2003 5:46:44 PM PDT by 4mycountry (Anyone can be average---it takes something special to be weird. I am honored to be weird.)
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To: Arkinsaw
One country stand-up comic, a real nice guy, said that he
always just paused and said in his trademark cornpone,
hicky accent, "ARE YEW NEKKID?" and breathed real hard when
they called him.
49 posted on 04/24/2003 5:49:13 PM PDT by Twinkie
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Most of the time I hang up.

At other times, I pretend to be a Jesus freak and try to convert them to my "unique" church, a made-up cult.

Or at other times, I try to sell them something spurious, and I ask them to send me a check for this wonderful gadget.

They usually hang up and don't call me for a few months.

50 posted on 04/24/2003 5:56:20 PM PDT by george wythe
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