Grrrr grrrr… Grrrr grrrr (August 2014)

DSCF3260Does this scenario sound familiar to you?

The house phone rings. Now delete as applicable:

You’re in the middle of:

  • painting the ceiling
  • cooking
  • having sex
  • a nap
  • changing the baby’s nappy,
  • a crisis
  • having a row with someone
  • taking an important call on your mobile phone
  • a really interesting television programme… no scrub that, let’s keep this within the realms of probability

And you’re currently located:

  • upstairs
  • in bed
  • up a ladder
  • in the garden
  • on the wrong side of your front door

Or… you’re getting on in years and you are:

  • unwell
  • finding it hard to get in and out of your chair
  • unsteady on your feet
  • having difficulty getting your breath

You make your way to the phone.  And it’s a nuisance call. Someone selling PPI claims handling, solar panels, double glazing…. fill in the blanks as appropriate. And in most cases it’s recorded, because after all, time is much too valuable to waste… unless it’s your time of course.

Oh yes, you can register your number on the TPS, Telephone Preference Service, which makes it unlawful for someone to contact you on that number in order to sell something.

And when you mention this, (assuming of course that you can actually reach a live person at the other end) the caller will smugly advise you that ‘we’re not selling’ we’re:

  • advising you
  • publicising a government initiative
  • compiling market research

If you had the time and the patience to get through the proffered spiel, inevitably you’d find that by the time you were just about losing the will to live, the name of a product/organisation would come up. Most of us however don’t get that far; we’ve slammed the phone down and the inconvenience has already been suffered.

Several times recently, when we’ve been away from home for a few weeks, we’ve rung home to pick up messages on the answering machine. And to our intense irritation, we either have to plough our way through a litany of such recorded telephone calls (while our call charges build up) or we find that the answering machine is completely full and the very messages we’ve been hoping to find, haven’t been taken.

The only alternative is for us to ring home (from abroad, with the associated costs) every couple of days so that we can delete these unwanted messages to make space for vital calls from hospitals, garages, or people with whom we have on-going business dealings.

The latest batch of nuisance calls that blocked our answerphone related to solar panels. Seven fairly lengthy recorded messages, all identical, had filled up the phone memory in our absence. Each ended with the words “if you’re interested in receiving further information, press 2 to speak to an adviser.”

So, last week, still smarting after having missed a number of important messages whilst away, I was really in the mood for a repeat call from this same organisation. When it came, I listened to the recorded spiel, and then at the end pressed 2.

“An adviser will contact you shortly,” chirped the recorded voice.

And the following day, one did.

“Are you Mrs Tate?” a young man enquired.

“No,” I said, giving my name. Tate was the name of the former telephone subscriber to this number so this caller was obviously working from a five year old list.

“Well, whatever, (oh sorry, make that wo’evah) I’m calling in response to your interest in solar panelling.”

“Oh yes?”

“I’m from ‘****** Energy Care Centre’ he said, “and I’m here to tell you about a government initiative relating to solar panels.”

“Could I have that name again, please?” I said, reaching for a pencil. I was hoping to get contact details so I could process a complaint.

He faltered slightly, but repeated it and rushed on before I could get further details.

“Have you noticed those funny little panels on the top of houses recently?” he said, a tad nervously now.

“Indeed I have,” I responded. (I’m not particularly fond of being patronised, so there may have been less than the required level of fascination in my tones. In fact, not to put too fine a point on it, they may have been bordering on the positively glacial.)

“Well, I’ll just tell you a bit about them, and then we can work out whether you’re eligible and  …”  he plodded on gamely.  Then, his voice became wobbly before it faded away to a few seconds silence, and  the line went dead.

Damn, I need to modify my approach if I’m to get sufficient information to bring a complaint.

Yesterday morning the phone rang again.

“Ah,” said a different voice. “I’m ringing in response to your interest in installing solar panelling.”

“Oh yes?” Warmer, definitely.

“I’m just going to take a few details from you and then we can work out whether you’re eligible for the new government initiative and then we can arrange for someone to come round to carry out a survey…”

“Could I have the name of your organisation?” I interrupted.

“Er… it’s the Renewable Energy Initiative,” he said. Different name this time.

“And the telephone number?”

“Well I’m calling you, so you don’t need a telephone number.”

Red mist descended, and all intentions of leading him gently up the garden path flew out the window.

“I do need a telephone number,” I said, “because I’d like to speak to your superior, or to whoever I need to speak to stop these incessant phone calls. I’m listed on the Telephone Preference Schedule and I’m fed up with your organisation calling every other day.”

“Well you pressed 2 for more information,” he said rudely.

“Yes, and the information I want is your address, telephone number and the name of your superior.”

“I’ll pass on your request,” he said abruptly and hung up on me.

I’m waiting, son. Any day now you or someone else from your organisation is going to call me again with this rigmarole, and hopefully I’ll get better at this.

You can tell me you’re only advising me of a government initiative, or you can tell me you’re conducting market research or publicising a service.

You can tell me any damn thing you like, but I’m going to keep on wasting your time until I either get the name of someone to complain to, or you decide to take this telephone number off your list.

Because if it’s not a scam, and if it’s not a way to get round the protection offered to consumers by the TPS, then there’s no reason at all why you can’t give me these details.

See, I’m a perfectly reasonable person.

Now go on, make my day.







About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in By the Way ..., Just Sayin' and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Grrrr grrrr… Grrrr grrrr (August 2014)

  1. Red mist!!! Exactly, Sandra, exactly. Every election we are just inundated with nuisance calls under the guise of a “survey.” The whole thing is just maddening, isn’t it? What particularly activates my own red mist (I am stealing this term immediately!) is that the onus is shifted to ME, the hapless consumer, to do all the work (endless listening to recordings and punching of numbers) to get them to stop doing what is clearly illegal. Yes, GRRRR.


  2. Sandra says:

    That’s appalling Barbara. I hope our politicians don’t latch onto this practice – I’m not sure I could take any more. I’ve processed a complaint via Ofcom (our communications ombudsman) but of course I have no details to go with it. Yet…


  3. billgncs says:

    they call my cell sometimes – that really ticks me off!


    • Sandra says:

      I can imagine, Bill. Luckily we don’t get bothered too much on the cell/mobile but I suppose that’s just a matter of time. Hope you’re having a good time out there. 🙂


      • billgncs says:

        Oh yes, we are doing very well, though we can just be here about a week this year.

        If you ever have plans to see the Old West, we’d love to have you visit for a few days.


  4. “Like” but not really. I feel your pagain and annoyance/rage, Sandra. We got rid of our landline a few years ago when I realized virtually no one who ever called on it was someone I wanted to talk to. I get a few nuisance calls on my cell but do far, not many. I’m sure that will change eventually but until then, I’ll enjoy the quiet.


    • Sandra says:

      We’re not big phone communicators, Janet, either by cell or mobile (as we say); we tend to communicate by email. So I can see the day coming when we let the land line go. Right now it seems to be serving everybody else’s interests rather than our own. 😦


  5. Sandra, I know what you mean. My dad used to say, “I’m retired.” and that worked like a charm. They know retirued people often don’t have the funds for those buys. 🙂 —Susan


  6. Sorry for that typo. The second retired has a “u” that doesn’t belong there. —Susan

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I certainly understand your irritation! We have a “No Call List” in the US you can sign up for and I have been on it for years. If I do feel so inclined as to answer the phone I will tell them I am on a “No Call List” and I want their information so I can turn them in. They usually hang up and never call again. But there are some persistent buggers! It is probably one of my most passionate pet peeves! I hope they never call again….or maybe they will so you can get proffered information and waste their time until they give up! 😛


    • Sandra says:

      The TPS is supposed to be the same as a No Call List, but these people are getting around it. We’re seriously thinking of taking the phone out. Thanks for reading.


  8. Mike says:

    Beautifully captured and so true. My father in law is a past master at making call centres aware that he is watching a significantly important game on the television (not often true), and by the way who do they support etc., but he does regard it as sport. The best garden path story I heard of the double glazing salesman who got as far as an appointment for a glazed conservatory. When asked for the address was told “2nd Floor Flat, Hennings Close . . .” and then the phone was put down. My simple solution is no answer phone.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Peter says:

    Make an appointment for someone to come round. Then you have two options: 1) Forget to be in at the appointed time and when they call you to rearrange tell them to remove you from their call list or you will waste their time again.. 2) When they arrive, ask for their company name and phone number. Do not let them in. Say you need to verify the identity of the salesman. When you have the information you need, send them away saying you are fed up with your time being wasted through incessant calls and you are just having your revenge


  10. Bob says:

    I’ve done the same as Peter above, with the slight modification of:
    a) Checking whether they have my name and address, and if they don’t, giving them false ones. After all, you can’t rely on the sales rep being objective and rational. and not taking out their frustration on you. You don’t want them to know where you live!
    b) Allowing them to get close to actually visiting but telling them at the last minute (when they call you on the day to check you’re home), calmly explaining that you receive unwanted calls daily and every other attempt you’ve made to get them stopped has failed, and that you’ll continue to waste their time like this if they continue calling.


    • Sandra says:

      Yes, Bob, (a) is a cautionary note. (b) sounds a tad more effective. 🙂 The last couple of weeks I’ve only had one such call, which I hung up on. So I’m wondering whether things are moving in the right direction. I hope so.


  11. robpattison says:

    Boiler Scammers with a scottish accent

    Liked by 1 person

  12. robpattison says:

    Beware they sometimes use fake telephone numbers

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Indira says:

    It’s GRRRRRR all the way, dear.Same this side.

    Liked by 1 person

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