An open letter to Tony Mitchell

By | November 7, 2010

UPDATE [August 30, 2011]: Tony Mitchell has threatened to sue me for criticizing him on my blog. Read all the details here, and please consider chipping in a few bucks to help cover my legal defense. Thanks!

Dear Mr. Mitchell,

A few months ago, I posted a voicemail message my wife and I received from your company about a prize we had supposedly won from a contest we had supposedly entered.

Since then, over 100 other people have commented here (and more have posted elsewhere) that they’ve received the same call. The facts and experiences posted by myself and others make it clear that these calls are a scam.

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m sure it’s true that anyone who follows your instructions will receive a prize as as you promise. Unfortunately, that that’s just about all that’s true; most everything else you tell people is a lie. That’s why what you are doing is a scam. That’s why I posted about it on my blog. And that’s why I’m posting about it again — because you continue to lie and deceive people while falsely professing your innocence.

In a recent comment on my blog, you said, “I dont [sic] not [sic] understand why the individual has made such a blog and if there is any support or evidence to this being fradulent [sic] I [sic] would like to be informed or just an explaination [sic] of why he has chosen to attempt to cybersmear my creditibility [sic].”

In fact, my blog posting and the comments following it explain in detail how we know you are running a scam. They also explain exactly what you can do to prove that what you are doing is legitimate. Instead or doing that, you have repeated the same claims of innocence over and over without any supporting evidence.

Several days ago, ten comments (seven of which remain posted; I removed the other three because they were redundant) were posted to my blog from your Internet address in Illinois. These comments claimed to be from five different people (you and four others), and yet not only were they all posted from the same Internet address, they were all posted from the same computer, and they all showed the same pattern of spelling, grammar and punctuation errors that appear in the comments posted under your own name. In short, they were all posted by you. Among the four false personae you took on were someone who claimed to be in Massachusetts and not an employee of your company, and an Illinois police detective. You overtly, knowingly told a string of lies to me and the readers of my blog, and thereby erased whatever small doubt remained in our minds that what you are doing is a scam.

As I mentioned before, the evidence for why you are scamming people, along with what you could do to refute it, was presented in detail in my blog posting and the subsequent comments. Since you apparently missed them there, here they are again, for your benefit and that of my readers:

  1. The voicemail messages that your employees leave start with “I have made numerous attempts to reach you,” and yet none of the people who have received such a message are aware of any previous attempts to contact them (no previous phone calls, no voicemail messages, no missed calls on caller ID). Explain this discrepancy.
  2. You say that we entered a contest. We say that we didn’t. Prove it. Either give us the details of the “brokers” from whom you purchased our contest entries, or give us some corroborating information from the contest form we supposedly filled out. On a similar note, explain why, when your “prize coordinators” are asked to provide such corroborating information, they are unable to do so and act all offended about this perfectly reasonable request.
  3. When people return your calls, you tell them that the entry form they supposedly filled out says they are married, above a certain age, and above a certain income level, and yet many of the people you have called do not meet those preconditions and would never have claimed otherwise to enter a contest. Explain this discrepancy.
  4. Explain why, if (as you claim) you are not calling to try to sell something and the “celebration” people are required to attend before receiving their prize is not an attempt to sell them something, winners are required to be married, above a certain age, and above a certain income level.
  5. Explain why your employees claim in their voicemail messages that you are not a telemarketing agency when in fact telemarketing is exactly what you are doing — you are trying to get people to come listen to a 90-minute timeshare pitch.
  6. Explain why your employees claim in their voicemail messages that they are not calling about a timeshare when in fact timeshares are exactly what the businesses you are calling for are selling.
  7. Explain why, if you are only calling people who entered a contest (as opposed to robocalling), you called all three of the phone numbers in one commenter’s house in quick succession, one right after the other. Do you expect us to believe that this particular commenter wrote all of his phone numbers on the entry form?
  8. Explain why you and your employees keep saying here and on other sites that if only people would return your calls, they would know it’s not a scam, when many of the people calling it a scam, including me, have returned your calls.
  9. You claim that “Det Thomas Ware” posted to my blog from your Internet address because he was in your office because he is someone “who I have made a complaint with about your blogs.” Please tell us exactly which police department Detective Ware works for, and give us his badge number and telephone number.
  10. Libel and slander are torts, not crimes. They are handled as civil suits, not criminal complaints. The police have nothing to do with them. Please explain how this can be reconciled with your claim that you have filed a complaint about my blog with the police.
  11. One of your clients is Premium Destinations, a C-rated (BBB) business, two of whose founders, Larry Coltelli and Steven Schlossberg, have run a string of C, D and F rated (BBB) timeshare companies, and have in the past admitted to massive do-not-call violations. Please tell us if you are aware of these facts, and how you think they reflect on your company’s reputation and legitimacy.
  12. Even if it is true that you purchased the phone numbers you are calling from brokers who claimed that they were from contest entries (it is worth noting that the brokers could have lied to you about that, just as you have lied about so many other things), you are still scamming people (as detailed above), because you are being dishonest to them in so many other ways, aside from the question of how you got their phone numbers.
  13. It is illegal to operate a contest in the United States without published rules. Please tell us where on-line we can find the rules of the contests about which you are calling people. If they are not published on-line, then please share with us your thoughts about what, exactly, we should think about that, since it seems to us that legitimate contests are perfectly happy to publish their rules on-line and provide them to anyone who asks.
  14. Please provide us with verifiable evidence, e.g., a newspaper article, press release, etc., that anyone has ever actually been awarded the top prize (usually a car) in any of the contests about which you have called people.
  15. Explain why anyone in their right mind would trust that you are telling the truth about anything at all, given your antics of several days ago on my blog.

There you have it, Mr. Mitchell, the case against Mitchell Communication Group, a.k.a. Faithful Marketing. What do you have to say for yourself?


Jonathan Kamens

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9 thoughts on “An open letter to Tony Mitchell

  1. Erica

    I just got this exact phone call this morning from someone named Gloria in New Hampshire — she claimed I registered for her “gift package” at a home show I attended over a month ago. Like so many others, I’m registered on the DNC list, so I’m planning on reporting them this morning. How obnoxious.

  2. DJ

    They get your number when you sign up for facebook bonuses. Report them to FB. I opened a link, and it looked like a legitimate link and gave my email and phone number……..started getting calls the next day.

    The privacy statement on the link specifically gives “marketing partners” the right to call you…even if on a do not call list.

    Guess I’ll spend the next few months getting it stopped.

  3. troutman

    Received a telemarketing call today with the exact same script, word for word as previous Vandell Communications calls. This time the name was Premium Gifting. Most likely the same company.

  4. Gary

    Newest addition to their attempt to scam people goes by the company name “Mansfield Incorporation”. Hopefully the word can get out before they take advantage of too many people.

    1. jik Post author

      It’s not clear that Mansfield Inc. and Vandell Communications are one and the same.

  5. j smith

    I recieved a phome message today from Vandell Communications saying that they have tried to notify me numerous times that I had won a new car in a contest that I had entered and that this was the final notification. They left a callback number and urged me to call back immediately or I would lose my prize. Well I Googled Vandell Communications and saw the bad experiences of other who had received the same call. The Timeshare scam was exposed. I appreciate the people who took the time to post their bad experiences thus saving others from the scam.

  6. Dave N.

    Today, in Louisiana, people are being driven from their homes by floods. Fires in Alberta Canada have displaced 100,000 workers. Our government is systematically devaluing the dollar and along with it, your life savings. And… a telemarketer called your house. Seems like a waste of energy to even mention it, let alone devote several (albeit well structured) paragraphs to the subject.
    But…since you seem to have a great deal of time on your hands…perhaps you could address these things that have bothered me for a long time now. The line at the DMV; the greeter at Wal-Mart that is really not a greeter at all…but is there to keep you from shoplifting; men over 40 who wear baseball caps backwards; email from nephews of African dictators (recently deposed); decaffeinated coffee; near beer; and the people who drink them.
    Get on that if you would and get back to me.

    1. jik Post author

      Wow. Classic slimy-salesman misdirection. Your argument that we should ignore the illegal, unethical thievery of Tony Mitchell and his gang because there are larger troubles elsewhere in the world is illogical, irrational, and irrelevant, as is the stupid list of “things that have bothered [you] for a long time,” none of which represent illegal or unethical behavior.

      You seem to be missing the basic, crucial point that what Tony Mitchell and his ilk do is wrong. Lying to people is wrong. Breaking the do-not-call law while pretending you’re not is wrong. Stealing from people (and yes, I consider taking up people’s time by deception to be stealing) is wrong.

      But what’s most incredible about your comment is that you actually had the balls to provide your real email address when posting it. To the other readers of my blog… What “Dave N.” didn’t tell you in his comment above, but what he for some reason did tell me, the author of this blog, by giving me his email address, is that he works for PDI Travel, one of the very companies that Tony Mitchell is illegally shilling for. Not exactly an unbiased third party, etc.?

  7. George

    I have received the same calls and messages VERBATIM. When I called them back, and I was very IRATE, I received the same statement as you have stated above. The person that I spoke with was VERY indignant when I told him that I know a scam when I hear one. Why would someone else fill out a form in my name? I requested that my name be removed from their list. I am on the DNC list and have reported them accordingly.


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