Fuming about sales calls to my Grandma Blog Discussion

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  • SystemSystem Forumite
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    This practice makes me spit blood, as my own mother has been the victim of it several times. She suffers from a bipolar condition and has twice agreed to switch utility supplier "because they said it would save me money" whilst at her lowest stage of the month.

    It's so frustrating for anyone with a vulnerable relative when this happens. I've told my mom that people are just out to fleece her for money and to believe instead what her own son says, but she believes these callers when they offer to "help" her.

    I've finally registered her with TPS and the calls are dropping off thankfully.

    We live in a bizarre society that rightfully condemns those who con their way into a pensioner's house and then steal their purse, but turns a blind eye when respectable businesses do something similar over the phone.
  • Wings_of_AmbitionWings_of_Ambition Forumite
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    Whenever I get called (usually from some call centre in India), I tell them I'm VERY interested, but that I'm in the middle of my dinner. If they give me THEIR PERSONAL number, I'll call them back later this evening. That I really DO want a loan or a new mobile but I'm busy at the moment. I persist with this for a minute or two, and usually end up being passed onto a manager, who actually understands english, who promptly thanks me and hangs up. I'm rarely called back.
  • innovateinnovate
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    TPS is a god-send...but why doesn't it work the other way round - i.e. all phone numbers should by default be barred for all sales (and "marketing" or "survey" !!!!!!!) calls, and only people who have made the effort to confirm that they would like to receive sales/marketing calls by registering with an organisation such as the TPS will be on the "allowed calls" list?

    Of course it would take an awfully brave government to cull what must be quite a lucrative income source for quite a few companies, incl. the Blue Chip ones. And any UK legislation/regulation wouldn't prevent calls from outside the UK, and obtaining a global agreement on the matter is as likely as me winning the lottery. But a national ban on unsolicited sales calls would be a great step in the right direction.

    Similar issue applies to salesfolk who make door-to-door calls, IMO - unless people display a "sales people [and Jehovah's Witnesses, Tarmacers, Kleneeze agents etc] welcome" sign at their front doors, nobody with intent to get a signature and/or money should be allowed to knock at peoples' doors.
  • QueenieQueenie Forumite
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    innovate wrote:
    .... TPS is a god-send...but why doesn't it work the other way round - i.e. all phone numbers should by default be barred for all sales (and "marketing" or "survey" !!!!!!!) calls, and only people who have made the effort to confirm that they would like to receive sales/marketing calls by registering with an organisation such as the TPS will be on the "allowed calls" list?

    Ah but that facility *used* to exist - in the form of "Ex-Directory" ;) But then, in those days, numbers were culled from phone books for cold-calling.

    These days, computers randomly generate numbers so you can still be ex-dir but that no longer means you won't be pestered with sales calls.
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  • innovate wrote:
    TPS is a god-send...but why doesn't it work the other way round - i.e. all phone numbers should by default be barred for all sales (and "marketing" or "survey" !!!!!!!) calls, and only people who have made the effort to confirm that they would like to receive sales/marketing calls by registering with an organisation such as the TPS will be on the "allowed calls" list?

    Of course it would take an awfully brave government to cull what must be quite a lucrative income source for quite a few companies, incl. the Blue Chip ones. And any UK legislation/regulation wouldn't prevent calls from outside the UK, and obtaining a global agreement on the matter is as likely as me winning the lottery. But a national ban on unsolicited sales calls would be a great step in the right direction.

    In some extent, I agree - and in terms of people calling individual customers, I think you're certainly on to something - BUT lots of small companies get their first customers this way: By calling another company, letting them know they're out there, and arranging to met up to discuss things further.

    Also, some people don't mind telemarketing; it depends what the call is about. eg. if you're a season ticket holder at your local football club, and they have a special offer for season ticket holders: If they call you to let you know about it, that qualifies as a cold call... if you register with TPS, they are not allowed to phone you to let you know about the offer... but then that kind of TM is a rare bird indeed, so it's up to the individual - hence needing to choose to opt out of sales calls. At least there's now a choice!

    Telemarketing is a legitimate marketing tool that can work incredibly well for all concerned - but it's being abused by unscrupulous companies (and I count British Gas among these) - but then Southern Water have been sending us letters about needing to insure our pipeline (from the front door to the thingy outside) at £10 a month, and have been sending increasingly assumptive letters, with DD forms attached, to enable us to "protect" ourselves from the unlikely occurrence that the pipe bursts and it costs us money...

    To me, the aggressive sales tactics of large companies, in particular utilities companies, is the main issue that needs addressing here - their choice of medium is up to them, and if it's not done over the phone, it'll be done some other way: There's a whole host of direct marketing undertaken in the UK, by post, email, through websites and over the phone - and companies, who exist to make money for good or for ill - make the best use of it that they can.

    Telemarketing is viewed and often practised as an un- or semi-skilled stop-gap, not as a profession - which is why it's usually the source of these aggressive sales messages - but getting rid of telemarketing won't stop companies from behaving in this manner, it'll just send them to your inbox, or your letterbox... it certainly has in my case.

    A quick note though - registering with TPS has pretty much stopped me getting calls from outside the UK, too - and if I get them, I just tell them I'm on the Do Not Call list, ask them to take me off their database, and politely request that they don't phone me again... it seems to work.

    Also, you can effectively put yourself on an 'allowed' list with companies after registering with TPS - you can call them, let them know that you are TPS registered, and tell them expressly that they are allowed to call you. The same goes for MPS (mail preferencing service)...
  • Mal27Mal27 Forumite
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    It's worse when they come around the door. They hire these third party sales companies that have no problem lying for the commission. I was at my mum's place when two sales people from npower turned up at the door, initially pretending to be TV licensing they eventually presuaded her to let them in. A ten minute sales pitch followed with them continually asking why she wouldn't sign (I've told her never to sign things without me checking them after British Gas did the same) and it was only when I made an appearance that they eventually gave up and left.

    The older generation don't realise most sales people are liars and are there simply for commission. They have a respect for the old fashioned brand names that no longer deserve it.
  • The worse example of cold calling I know of was experienced by my mother. My father went to hospital after an accident at home and the day after he had an operation she received a 'cold call' from a firm of accident claim solicitors seeking 'business'. As a backdrop to this I should point out that we had to make a complaint at the hospital due to the fact that my Father had an bad fall whilst there and wasn't attended to for ages.
    I challenged the caller as to why the called at that particular time but they claimed it was purely coincidence. I can only conclude that there was some flow of information from somewhere in the emergency services / hospital to this firm.
    Next time you see one of those accident claim adverts remember this - they are sharks.
  • I think that in theory, suggesting to nearest and dearest crumblies that you could do a money makeover for them would be good, although so many of them would be embarrassed to talk about money -even if it costs them a packet from otherwise lost interest in their Liquid Gold accounts and loyalty to 'the gas board' because they were good to their Uncle Bert who lost a leg in the Somme etc...
  • MartinslovechildMartinslovechild Forumite
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    My favourite response to cold callers is to pretend to know them, e.g. 'Mohammed - is that really you? Wow! I thought we'd lost touch forever!! How are you doing matey?'.

    The caller at the other end is usually scared to death wondering how the devil he could possibly know me!!! :)

    Another favourite is to ask them who they want to speak to. When they say your name, tell them that you'll go and find that person. I then just put the phone on the side. After about 5 minutes of being 'on hold', they usually hang up and never call back.
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  • SystemSystem Forumite
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    My favourite line is....... 'I'm sorry, me Mums not in'. :snow_laug
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