27/10/2012

Victory Over Cold Callers

Victory Over Cold CallersThe Daily Mail says, "Victory Over Cold Callers". This is the story that a cold-call firm has been forced to pay compensation to a businessman after he took it to court for wasting his time.

I like this news, because I hate getting those sales calls. But at the same time I realise it means nothing to me, because my time isn't worth that much. I write knob gags for a living. If I could prove those calls waste my time, pro-rata, I'd get about 27p back.

Richard Herman vowed to hit back after he was targeted by firms promising compensation for mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI). That's where you get a phone call saying, "You could be entitled to compensation after you were mis-sold PPI."

And after this court ruling we'll probably get calls saying, "You could be entitled to compensation after you were mis-called about PPI."

He invoiced one of the firms for £10 for every minute he wasted answering their telephone calls. He also recorded the calls, meaning that when the unscrupulous company denied ever having rung him, he was armed with incontrovertible proof to the contrary.

I'm so glad someone is fighting back. I get a lot of spam calls, so much so I leave my land-line phone unplugged. But when I plug it back in when I need it, it always rings within a few minutes. Recent cold calls I have had (these aren't made up, and are as word-for-word as I can remember) include...

THEM: Hello Sir. Am I calling on behalf of Microsoft. Do you have a computer in the house?
ME: Yes.
THEM: Well, there is a problem that we have discovered with a virus, and you may be at risk...
ME: Oh, well I don't...
THEM: If you have a minute we can do a test on your computer to see if you are infected...
ME: No, I don't...
THEM: We can check and...
ME: Are you going to listen to what I have to say!?
THEM: Yes sir.
ME: I have Linux computers.
THEM: (pause) Oh. (hangs up)

And then there was...

ME: Hello.
THEM: Hello, my name is John. I am calling you today from London.
ME: No you're not. (Hangs up)

The reason I hung up was this, do you know how to tell if someone is actually calling from London? They don't start by saying they're calling from London. This is not the bloody Eurovision.

And my favourite cold call went like this.

ME: Hello.
THEM: Hello, is that Neil?
ME: No, you've got the wrong number.
THEM: No, I have the right number, I have the wrong name.
ME: Well, I'm fairly sure of my own number, but I'm bloody certain of my own name!


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