Feature: Blog Focus

Spam Phone Calls and Heights of Telemarketing

Author: Sathish Rajagopal
Published: May 17, 2011 at 6:30 pm

I never miss to read the “Open Page” section in Hindu every week, where variety of subjects attracts readers like me. A recent article on ‘Phonetics and Phone tricks’ (The Hindu, Open Page, March 27) published by a psychiatrist who practices for the past 25 years ventilates his frustrations on the obsessed phone calls he receives from his patients. Prank calls they make to him while he is sleeping are lousy.

Forget about that mind freaked patients making calls to the doc, as a common man who uses mobile phone through a network service provider (I use Vodafone) the kind of disturbance from the unsolicited calls has become mundane to me. Some pesky calls when I am in tremendous work pressure at office puts me in rage.

Earlier I used to get calls via “Predictive dialers” where computers at Vodafone shop dials the numbers randomly and whoever picks it should be ready to hear a pre-recorded human voice singing a song in either Hindi or Kannada. There had been days I used to save those numbers as “Do not lift” in my “contacts” so even accidentally I will not pick the call.

I receive anonymous calls from banks asking to apply for a new credit card. Though my obvious reply would be “Not interested, madam”, as it is mostly women who calls. All credit cards marketing team prefers ladies in telemarketing to attract customers. Nowadays I try to bluff them, say if I get a call from SBI bank, my reply is “Madam, I already have an SBI credit card” so that our discussion gets over quickly. If you already own a credit card, it doesn’t stop as calls come in the form of upgrading the existing card with additional benefits. But one thing I didn’t understand is, I took a “gold” credit card with x benefits, which was later upgraded to “Titanium” card and now to a “Platinum” card; I don’t know what will be the metal name be given in next upgrade. Will banks start giving name of planets for their credit cards from Mercury to Pluto?

I get bank loan calls mostly for personal or home loans. I can felicitously say that I have not received calls for education loans or car loans till now. One of my worst experiences was when I said “yes” to process a 48 hour personal loan called “Ready Cash” from Citibank, believe it or not, I got 100 or more calls from different people working for the bank only for verification per se. That particular day I felt like staying back at home to attend the calls rather than being in office as it was totally unproductive. I cannot say the number of times I had banged the phone in that 48 hour nightmare with a deafening voice. Later pesky calls from Citibank came for enhancing personal loan… Oh My Gosh!

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