Annoying Telemarketers

April 24th, 2006 by Potato

Telemarketers are by their very nature annoying, trying to get you to answer questions or spend money with a hard sell right in your own home, at a time that is not necessarily convenient for you. As a result, we hang up on them a lot. Most of the time if the phone rings and the person on the other end doesn’t say hello within 2 seconds of me answering, I just hang up (they often have the computer dial a few numbers at once, so there’s usually a pause of a few seconds while it switches over to the live operator). As a result, they’ve tried to come up with new and ever more annoying ways of getting me to stay on the phone.

A while ago, the London Free Press would call every two weeks or so, saying “[Potato]? Congratulations!”

I’d say “Huh?”

“You’ve won!” They’d say.

“Er… that’s great. What did I win?”

“$5 off a 6-month subscription to the London Free Press, now what address can I have them set up delivery to…”

The exact same script, 3 times in a row. I think the third time of asking them to take me off their list it finally took, because I haven’t heard from them in a while.

More recently, I’ve been getting calls from a recording, saying that “this is not a sales or marketing call” (typically a red flag that it is, indeed a marketing call) and that there is a very important message for me… I just have to press 1 to get my message. The first two times I got this I just hung up on it, being paranoid that it was some sort of collect-call scam (once I press 1 they start billing my phone bill). On the third call curiousity got the better of me, so I pressed 1… and got put on hold for a minute. The nerve! To get put on hold by an answering machine! They called again today, saying that there was an important message for me, and that they’ve tried a few times unsucessfully to reach me… this time I didn’t even have the option to press 1 to get it.

So I still have no idea what this weird attempt at telemarketing is all about, since nowhere in the message did they say who it was that was calling or what it was about — just that there was an important message for me, and that it wasn’t a sales or marketing call. It’s like those drug ads where they don’t want to tell you what the drug does (because as soon as they do, they’re obligated to report the side effects). Maybe in another few weeks they’ll call again and tell me what the big deal was with all the annoyance and secrecy. I’m pretty pissed at whoever it is, though: if the message was actually important, then going through all this nonsense without actually telling me what it is is just dumb (plus, if my answering machine had picked up, there’d be no way to press 1 and get it — why not just play the message for those cases?). And if it’s not, then I’m angry about all the drama and mystery (not to mention the 4 phone calls now).

After writing that, I found out that they had also been calling my parents’ house, and my mom managed to catch the number the machine spat at her then. Having hit two of my numbers, I figured they might actually have something important to say, so I called. Turns out it’s a portfolio management company, and someone with the same name as me has an account with them and doesn’t have a telephone number on file. So…

…wait for it…

… they had their autodialer call everyone in Ontario with the same name. I gave the receptionist a piece of my mind about calling so much and not even having the stupid message tell me what it was about (nor even who was calling!), but she didn’t seem to care in the slightest, not even after I said that I doubted they’d get a very good response with a vague message like that (it really sounded like a telemarketer).

Another call today was from “Liam” (who had a very strong non-Irish accent and a phone connection so poor I could barely hear him). Usual charity begging for money stuff “oh, how about we just get your mailing address and send you a package?” I know that they must take in more money than they spend on telemarketers and mail-outs, but I don’t know why they try to push it so much… if I said no on the phone, am I really that likely to change my mind if a mailing comes? If so, why not just do the mailing? Also, I know they’re trying to save money by hiring the cheapest call centre in India, but you’d think they’d give them more than a tin can and a length of string to talk with, since it’s their communication that’s key here.

3 Responses to “Annoying Telemarketers”

  1. Ben Says:

    You wouldn’t believe the marketing calls I get at work. It’s ridiculous. I keyed into the “if I say hello twice and get no reply, hang up” a while ago, but a lot still get through. Rogers is one of the worst offenders (surprise, surprise), they will call sometimes 3, 4, 5 or more times in one day. As usual they ask for “the owner of the business” (another clear sign it’s telemarketing), and when I tell them he’s not here, “well then we can extend this offer to you, as a member of the business”. Rogers always calls about cell phones. Last time the woman actually had the nerve to tell me that I would be better off paying $31/month for a Rogers pay-as-you-go phone than I am paying $15 for up to 3 months pay-as-you-go with Virgin. Considering how much I use my cell phone (a few dollars of my last $15 “top-up” actually expired after the 90 days for lack of use) it’s pretty much a no-brainer that for me Virgin is the better deal. But still she insisted Rogers was a better deal…at 6 times the cost, yeah, OK.

    Then there’s the calls from “Canada Research” with their one question survey where the question is ALWAYS, “What type of photocopier do you have in your office?” To which I invariably answer, “I’m sorry, I can’t tell you anything about our photocopier.” Resulting in one of two things, I’m either hung up on mid-sentence, or I get a puzzled “why not?”

    We also get calls from telemarketers who pretend to be the company that services our laser printers (we don’t have a company who services our laser printers…) They ask if everything’s OK, that we’re not experiencing any paper-jams, etc., then launch into their pitch about how the price of toner is about to skyrocket, but they’ve saved us some cartridges at the lower rate and they can ship them out ASAP, to avoid this looming massive price increase (that’s been looming for the past 5+ years).

    I also win a lot magazine subscriptions because I was the person who answered the phone…

    I can’t wait until I have a job where I don’t have to answer a phone!

  2. Netbug Says:

    “I can’t wait until I have a job where I don’t have to answer a phone!”

    Me too. :(

  3. Ben Says:

    Speak of the devil! I just got off the phone with “Rogers Wireless Business Solutions” trying to sell us cellphones for the second time today.