Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Television Tuesday: Telemarketers

HBO has aired all three episodes of, "Telemarketers," and the whole series now is streamable on MAX. I 100% recommend you watch this documentary as it is utterly fascinating, engaging, and will make you pretty pissed about how easy it is for telemarketing scams to keep happening. The docuseries focuses on Sam and Patrick--two guys who worked for a massive telemarketing company known as Civic Development Group/CDG. Sam started filming stuff in the office and eventually he and Pat started exploring just how horrifically corrupt and messed-up telemarketing was. 

The first episode mainly focuses on CDG and how it went about fleecing money from victims who thought they were donating to charities, but in actuality were mainly lining CDG's pockets. However, as the scope widens it is astonishing to see how brazenly corrupt a lot of telemarketing is with very few, "Good guys/gals," involved.

A big, "Ah-ha," moment comes in the second episode when it starts being dug into how even if companies like CDG took 90% of donations given towards the nonprofits they were calling for, those nonprofits often were pretty damn corrupt themselves too. These police unions or medical nonprofits always seemed to escape unscathed from legal attempts to shut down telemarketing companies, and Sam and Pat (with a handful of other people) feel like they are the only ones who care. It isn't only the telemarketers who are up to no good, it is often the supposed, "Good," agencies they allegedly took advantage of but actually were quite in cahoots with.

The third episode features a lot of Sam and Pat trying to get someone, anyone to take action as in the 2020s telemarketing has turned into even more of a fiasco thanks to the rise of AI and political groups being able to, "Fundraise," with even less oversight than the minimal amount that did exist. Throughout all three episodes, the personalities and sheer determination of Sam and Pat make them endearing and we viewers really cheer for these citizen journalists as they struggle against all the powers that be to make it clear that this shit is wrong--yet nobody is doing anything! Reviews for the show have been glowing pretty much anywhere I look, and I agree that this show is 100% worth watching. Now hopefully it will actually help spur some kind of action to have telemarketing face even the slightest obstacles to ripping folks off.

5 out of 5 stars.

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