Unsolicited Sales Calls

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At the weekend, after much debate, we bit the bullet and went out looking for a car to replace our aging SUV.

We finished up getting a used Ford Fiesta from a car supermarket just off the motorway a couple of junctions from us. Fiesta’s are smaller than what we’d normally go for, however after being honest with ourselves about what we wanted out of a car: logic took precedence and a 2 year old Fiesta with low mileage is what we settled on. It’s a mid range model and has a nice leather trim interior, lots of gadgets including built in Sat-Nav, rear cameras for those that can’t reverse, bluetooth, DAB radio, posh headlamps and keyless entry amongst other bits and bobs.

You get the idea I’m sure. We pick it up next week and are moderately excited about its arrival.

Rant Warning: Take Heed!

I mention this because the process of sourcing and buying the car and then arranging its insurance, seems to have triggered a wave of unsolicited sales calls and emails.

Unsolicited telephone sales calls, emails, texts and including those pesky canvassers who come knocking at my front door, are one of my pet-hates in life. Over the years I’ve become ultra careful in making sure I’m not on any mailing lists, I diligently refuse to sign-up for ‘special offers’ or give my email address out at the till for ‘electronic receipts’ and always take advantage of the GDPR compliance options when creating any new online accounts or using a price-comparison site.

This strategy generally bodes well for me and as a result, the only the ‘marketing emails’ that land in my inbox are the ones I want and the level of SPAM emails and text messages I get, is practically zero. Junk mail pushed through the letterbox at home is similarly low for the same reasons. We don’t use our landline, in fact we don’t have a phone plugged into it, preferring instead to use our mobiles for all calls so that excludes that channel – although we do occasionally get those automated-dialler spam calls on our mobiles. You know the type “we heard you’ve been in an accident”, says the robot! (Does anyone actually fall for those?)

So when I do start to get unsolicited contact from someone trying to flog me something I haven’t asked about, then it tends to annoy me more than any normal call would.

Don’t get me wrong here, I understand that companies need to sell their wares and that it’s someone’s job to make these calls and send this stuff out. However, the element that irks me is that I am being approached without being asked.

What gives you the right to interrupt me in what I am doing, take my time up, or speak to me when I don’t want to speak to you?

A case in point is a call I received this afternoon from the company I use for our car insurance, whom I have specifically told not to contact me about any ‘offers’ they may have from other financial services providers.

Today’s call went something like this and came through just as I was just getting stuck into laying some paving stones in the back garden:

[Phone rings – number shown, but not known to me]

Me: Hello Jaime B speaking.

Caller: Hello Mr B, it’s [Car insurance Company Name]

Me (thinking it must be related to our new car’s insurance policy): Ah yes, how can I help?

Caller: We’re just giving you a call about your mortgage?

Me: What’s that got to do with my car insurance?

Caller: We’re working with [Car insurance Company Name] who’ve passed on your details. They tell us that your fixed rate mortgage expires in… so we’re just checking to discuss your options?

Me (now, getting annoyed): I’ve not given them any such details, nor have I given them permission for anyone to contact me about anything apart from my car insurance. I was quite clear about that. So you’re information is incorrect.

Caller: We’re only working on the information they’ve given us.

Me: Well it’s wrong as I didn’t give them any such information.

Caller: Shall we contact you when your fixed rate expires?

Me: What do you think?

Caller: I’ll take you off our list.

Me: I would. [Click]

As polite as the caller was, that sort of call annoys the hell out of me. I’ll be making my feelings known to my car insurance people as well.

I’ve had worse calls though, particularly from overseas sales agents with very poor command of English and a satellite delay and echo, (which makes the whole call hard work). Those are trying to flog me a phone contract and seem to struggle with “go away” so for those types of calls I simply press the END button and terminate the call. No goodbyes, no thanks or anything polite. Just END.

Doorstep Callers

Canvassers at my door are another annoyance. Admittedly they are few and far between in our neighbourhood, mainly due to lockdown I should think, however one does stick in my mind from a while back – I think he was trying to peddle replacement windows and fascias.

[Knock at door, I answer]

Canvasser: Hello Sir, Are you the homeowner?

Me (hackles already raised at his opening question): Why do you want to know?

Canvasser: I’m trying to establish if you’re the homeowner.

Me: You don’t need to know that, what are you selling?

Canvasser: (launches into a sales pitch)

Me: I’ll have a word with the landlord and get back to you (a lie, as we own our house – but I realise they are wasting their time talking to a tenant)

Me: Goodbye [Closes door]

This guy was quite aggressive in his approach, no doubt using some ill informed strategy to intimidate those who answer the door. The other ones at the other end of the spectrum are those that are over familiar, talking to you as if they’re your best mate. Those are equally annoying don’t you think?

What irks you about cold callers, unsolicited emails, texts or even people just knocking on your door? Leave a comment below.

Image credit: deagreez Adobe Image Stock