Earlier this week, I wrote a post about how individuals and families who are the midst of a life-threatening crisis often don’t know what to look for when choosing an addiction treatment facility. Desperate, inexperienced folks make easy prey for marketers who sometimes reap handsome bounties for putting “heads in beds.”
In the post, I included text from an unsolicited SPAM email I received the day before from a service called TreatmentCalls.com. Here’s what the email said:
“Right now we are offering the first 10 buffered calls for FREE with the minimum purchase of 50 calls. So that’s 60 buffered calls for the price of only 50. What a deal!
Are you wondering how buffered calls work? These calls present no risk to you as you only pay for calls that go over the 3 minute buffer time limit.
During each call you get the chance to talk with potential clients to determine their financial, clinical and cultural appropriateness for your facility.
If you end the call before the 3 minute window is up, there is no charge for the call! So don’t delay, call us today: 866-970-XXXX.”
The guy who says he’s in charge over there – Jason Brian – saw the post and called me yesterday morning to defend TreatmentCalls.com. I took his call and needless to say, we didn’t see eye-to-eye. Within a few hours I received the attached “seizeanddesist” letter from his lawyer – a Peter Feldman. Now I’m no lawyer, but I do know the phrase is actually “cease and desist.”
In subsequent emails back and forth, Mr Feldman, whose letterhead boasts the same address as TreatmentCalls.com (155 East Blue Heron Blvd., Suite 301, West Palm Beach, Florida 33404) warned me of the expense I would incur if I didn’t remove the post and wrote “these kind of distractions are what I get paid to handle in house for Mr. Brian’s corporations and cost him nothing to pursue.”
I guess they’ve got tons of money and that makes sense; their website says that they sell phone calls from those looking for treatment “starting as low as $40 per call” but that target bids for filtered calls “based on screening for the facility’s insurance/payment requirements” range from $149 to $1,011 per call.
Redwood Recovery Solutions is the parent company for both TreatmentCalls.com and 1-800-ADDICTS.
So, I’ve removed the part of the post that seemed to bother Jason Brian, Peter Feldman and TreatmentCalls.com, but my advice here remains the same: If you or someone you know is looking for help, use New York State’s Hotline at 1-877-8-HOPENY or a local number run by a well-known facility or nonprofit agency. Ask around for referrals and when you get someone on the phone, ask them who they work for, what kind of clinical expertise they have and if they try to end the call in three minutes, thank your lucky stars that they did.