Telemarketer-baiting

The Phone rings.

Me: Hot Igloo, Amber speaking [because I'm all about being professional when I answer the phone]

Caller [is clearly not a native English speaker, and also: is a telemarketer]: Is that Amber?

Me: [No, I just said that for fun!] Yes, it is, how can I help?

Caller: Can you confirm your address for me please, Amber?

Me: Ummm, why?

Caller: So that we can proceed with the call.

Me: And you are?

Caller: I’m Lynette!

Me: And why do you need my address, Lynette?

Lynette: So that we can continue with the call!

Me: OK, and what’s the call about?

Lynette: I can’t tell you until you’ve confirmed your address.

Me: Well, I think it’s pretty odd for a complete stranger to call me up and demand to know my address, Lynette, so you tell me why you need to know my address, and then I’ll decide whether I want to give it to you, OK?

Lynette: Oh, I’m not a stranger – I’m Lynette!

Me: Um, I don’t know you, Lynette, so yes, you are a stranger, and I’m not in the habit of giving my personal details to strangers who just call up and demand to know my address.

Lynette: But I need you to confirm your address before I can speak to you! I’m from MBNA!

Me: I see. And why are MBNA calling me?

Lynette: I can’t tell you until you confirm your details, so I know who I’m speaking to.

Me: And how do I know who I’m speaking to? Can you give me your address? Your home address?

Lynette: [laughs] Why do you want my address?

Me: So that we can proceed with the call.

Lynette: But…but… Look, I can’t tell you why I’m calling until you’ve confirmed your details. I don’t need your whole address, just the first line, house number, post code and telephone number.

Me: Why?

Lynette: So that we can proceed with the call.

Me: * headdesk *

This call went on in the same vein for at least ten minutes. And yeah, OK, I was totally doing it on purpose, but seriously: why on earth do companies think it’s OK to call me (interrupting my important work!) and demand that I tell them my personal details before they’ve even identified themselves or told me why they want to speak to me? How does that work, then? I mean, you wouldn’t just walk up to a stranger in the street and demand that you tell them where you live – why is it OK to do it over the phone?

And people wonder why I’m so phone phobic…

Technorati tags: telemarketers, call centres

7 Comments

  • Stephen says:

    Heh heh heh. I’m still all about the “Could you just hold on for a second?”, and then wandering off. We’re on the do not call list, so they’re breaking the law by calling us – I’ve no sympathy.

  • Nickoli says:

    My favourite is peice of Telemarketer baiting is something my Dad did a few years ago. Somebody rang to try to sell him satellite TV. After half an hour of technical questions that the telemarketer was struggling to answer, he came out with “And would I be right in thinking that to make use of one of these devices I’d need to have a television?”

    “Err, yes” She replied

    “Ah well, we don’t actually have one of those”

  • Nickoli says:

    Oh, and first line, house number and post code is your full address. I got some post just last week with my house number, post-code, and country on it, and that’s all it needed to get here from the USA.

  • Amber says:

    Ha! That’s excellent, Nickoli… We actually regularly get people calling/emailing us with “fabulous” offers to – gasp!- design us a website. We always let them get through their entire spiel before saying, “that’s nice, but we’re actually a web design company…”

    On the address, thing, I knew about that because I used to work weekends in a call centre where you’d input the postcode and house number and the address would come up. So when she said to me, “I don’t need your full address”, what she really meant was “Yeah, I need your full address.”

    Also: several times she said to me, “What if I tell you the address – will you confirm it’s right, then I can speak to you?” which I believe to be against the data protection act. I mean, what if I wasn’t the account holder? All I’d have to do was say “yup, that’s right” when she read out the address, and I’d have access to the account. In the call centre I worked in, you’d be fired for doing that…

  • Here’s my way of dealing with these swine headed goons.

    Swine Headed Goon – Can I speak to Mr ******** please?

    Mof – What is it regarding?

    SHG – We’re calling from a telephone company who can offer you better rates on your bill.

    Mof – Well, we don’t have a telephone here.

    SHG – …but I’m speaking to you on a phone!

    Mof – No. No you’re not. (Hang up)

  • Amber says:

    I like your style, Mof… I’m SO stealing that…

  • I can’t stop laughing Amber!!! Its so funny!!!

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