OKLAHOMA CITY, Feb. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Stan Dennison and Eddie Keith are not easy men to rile. But they are finally angry, and industry analysis in both the direct selling and telecommunications industry say they have a good right to be.
What has so upset the co-founders of TSI -- an Oklahoma City-based direct seller of prepaid calling cards and other long distance services -- is a press release by the Attorney General's office subsequent to TSI's agreement with the State. "The press release entirely mischaracterizes the content and the spirit of the agreement," TSI President Stan Dennison says. "It is the result of some mean-spirited people in the Attorney General's office who were unable to demonstrate or enforce their prejudices regarding TSI so they are hoping the media will carry the water for them."
More than a year ago TSI received an "inquiry" from the State of Arizona. Ever since then, they have been cooperating with the State of Arizona, answering questions, responding to requests for information. TSI has even agreed to pay for the State's "investigation" of the company, and to make minor changes and modifications of its marketing plan to satisfy the requirements of the State. TSI has not been fined. TSI has not been found guilty of doing anything wrong in Arizona. TSI has not admitted to any guilt. TSI is currently legally selling its products and services in all 50 United States and in Canada. It was recently recognized by Premier Telecard magazine -- the largest prepaid calling card magazine in the United States and Canada -- as "one of the fastest growing direct selling companies in the United States and Canada...Tele-Sales has set itself and its standards to lead the pack in the telecard industry."
In other words, not only is TSI a tremendously successful direct seller of long distance phone products and services, it's a good citizen. But now TSI is not sure it has done the right thing. "Being a good citizen doesn't seem to be very safe in Arizona," Stan Dennison now says.
"Disregarding the facts of who we are and what we do and the nature of our agreement," Stan Dennison says from his offices in Oklahoma City, "the Arizona State Attorney General's office issued a press release the headline of which characterized TSI as 'A Pyramid.' Well, the last time I checked, pyramiding is illegal in Arizona. I'll tell you, if a private citizen had said the things this press release says, I'd be suing him...and I'd win!"
The reason for his and Eddie Keith's sense of chagrin is a February 11, 1997, press release from the Office of the Attorney General Grant Woods. Dennison and Keith say the press release makes the following untrue statements and allegations about TSI:
TSI markets long distance products and services -- including prepaid calling cards, one-plus long distance service, pagers, etc. -- in a direct selling fashion substantially similar to Amway, Mary Kay, Shaklee, Discovery Toys, etc. Distributors buy for resale to retail customers. The company's marketing program has been structured to fit within the "Amway safeguards" applicable to direct selling companies which were approved in the landmark 1979 Amway decision. Among the safeguards the company enforces to maintain strong ethical standards are:
TSI is a high-tech, people-friendly response to the need for non-traditional avenues for selling and advertising long distance services. This sort of direct sale is part of a marketing trend that is not isolated to the telecommunications industry. Advertising Age predicted that a major share of media advertising budgets would shift from mass advertising to "point-of-purchase" sales-advertising on a more personal, one-on-one basis that maximizes the effectiveness of advertising and reduces costs. That's exactly what TSI does. "Instead of spending thousands of dollars on advertising," Stan Dennison says, "we pay our Independent Representatives commissions on their sale of our prepaid calling cards, one-plus long distance service, and so forth."
And the resulting retail sales are impressive. TSI sells more than 250,000 minutes of long distance service every day. Since beginning business more than two years ago, TSI has fulfilled the purchases of more than 500,000 customers. One-Plus customers are billed for their long distance usage subsequent to the usage occurring, and prepaid calling card minutes are escrowed against usage as soon as they are purchased. "We have never hurt anybody," Stan Dennison exclaims, "and we've taken steps to make certain we never do. We pay commissions to our representatives for their retail sales every day. Millions of dollars of sales commission have been earned by the citizens of the State of Arizona, and this sort of slander by the Office of the Attorney General is an affront to these fine citizens and their honest home-based businesses."
"From the very first contact of the State of Arizona with TSI, we have acted in good faith," Stan Dennison says. "We told the Attorney General's office that we would correct any minor policy or procedure they asked us to correct, and the Assurance of Discontinuance we have agreed to confirm our earnestness. But we will not be characterized as villains. Not by the Attorney General. Not by anyone. TSI looks forward to the opportunity to present our side of this rapidly developing story, and we will respond to all media inquiry."
SOURCE Tele-Sales, Inc.