MarySmith’sPlace – Cold Callers – don’t we love to hate them?

For some reason our caller display has given up showing the number of whoever is calling. Instead it shows this less than helpful message: ‘Incoming call’ so I don’t know if it’s my sister wanting to go for a walk or someone wanting to sell me something or offer to fix my computer.  DSC01004 (Custom)

Once I’ve picked up. I’m usually pretty quick at identifying if it’s someone trying a scam or a sales pitch. I adopt my best telephone voice and tell them, very politely, that we don’t take cold calls. One caller last week was too quick for me. Even before I could put the phone down Michelle was telling me she was not a cold caller (I don’t remember ever giving her my number and asking her call me, therefore in my book she’s a cold caller), wasn’t selling anything and, in fact, was able to offer ways to save money on our heating bills – if she could just ask a couple of questions.

‘There’s no point,’ I said. ‘Don’t let’s waste my time and yours – you could be making another, possibly more successful, call.’

‘But, don’t you want to save money?’

‘I already know we are not eligible for any of these schemes.’

‘How do you know?’

‘Because we’ve been through all this before – we’re not eligible for grants for new boilers or windows and our roof faces the wrong way for solar panels.’

‘Well, I don’t know which company told you this. We’ve never called you before. Please, can I just ask a couple of quick questions?’

I sigh. Why hadn’t I put the phone down?  Why don’t I just hang up now? It feels rude, somehow. ‘Okay, quick questions,’ I said.

I can almost hear her smile down the line.

‘Are your windows five, ten of fifteen years old?’

‘Five.’ This time I can definitely hear her sigh.

‘Ok, okay. What about your doors – are they five, ten…’

‘One’s about a hundred and seventy years old.’

‘Oh, do you live in a listed building or conservation area?’

‘No.’ but, now I know how to reply to future cold callers – sorry; we live in a listed building.

‘Is it your back door?’

‘No.’

‘Front door?’

‘Yes.’

‘Well, we can definitely help with that,’ she says triumphantly. ‘Is your front door made from wood, aluminium or pvc?’

‘It’s about one hundred and seventy years old.’

‘Oh, right, they wouldn’t have pvc doors then.’ She giggles. Nor aluminium, I think, but don’t say. ‘Well, I know we can help on this. You’ll definitely be eligible for help with a new door.’

‘But, I don’t want a new door. I like my front door.’

She’s not listening. ‘I have Kevin here beside me and he can talk you through the options. I’ll just put him on.’

A new voice booms in my ear – so horrendously cheerful and upbeat I know he can’t possibly have heard our conversation. ‘Delighted to speak to you, Mrs Smith. How are you today?’

‘A bit ticked off, actually. I told your colleague we’d be wasting our time pursuing this but she insisted and I wasn’t quick enough to put the phone down politely.’

Kevin sighs, ‘Well, I’m sorry to hear that. I can cut this call immediately.’

‘Oh, thank you, please do.’ He already has. Sensible man, Kevin, knows when it’s a lost cause. I fear he might be having words with Michelle, though, about wasting time.

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32 thoughts on “MarySmith’sPlace – Cold Callers – don’t we love to hate them?

  1. I love hearing Nick deal with cold callers. There is an unholy glee in his face as he lets them waffle. The best are the ones who inform him he’s been in an accident…
    They always hang up after a while, though some of them do take a good while to realise who is really in charge of the call 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We are supposedly ‘Ex-Directory’, and we also signed up to the Telephone Preference Service, which is supposed to stop companies using your number without permission. https://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/index.html
    It doesn’t work very well. If I tell them they are contravening the Data Protection Act by calling me, they are usually ready with, “Oh but you asked us to call, or at least gave your permission”. This all goes very deep, mostly from online companies who you order from in good faith, and give your number for contact in the event of delivery problems. Somewhere in a mountain of minuscule small print, you apparently give them ‘permission’ to pass on your number to other companies. That by-passes the TPS, using a loophole.

    As for the caller display, check your phone company contract. I have a similar Panasonic phone to yours, and when we lost caller display, I thought that feature of the phone had broken. I rang BT (we were with them at the time, but no longer) and they told me that we had to restart the part of our contract that charged for caller display, as the ‘free period’ had expired.

    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We signed up for the Telephone Preference Service but, as you say, it doesn’t work very well – and it certainly doesn’t stop the calls from outside the country. I’ve often wondered how all these people get hold of our phone number. That’s interesting about the Caller ID. I shall investigate though we are no longer with BT now (is anyone?).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Overheard when visiting a friend called Gerry. Phone rings.
    Gerry: Hallo.
    Cold caller: Hello Mr L, how are you today?
    Gerry: I’m fine, how are you?
    Cold caller: I’m fine –
    Gerry: Good, we’re both fine then. Goodbye!

    Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Windows, doors, solar panels – listed building
    Boiler – regularly serviced and working well, thanks for asking
    Anything involving age and payback – I’m over 90

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, that’s brilliant, Jenny. I had made a mental note when she asked if we lived in a listed building to use that in future. I’ll remember the boiler reply and I love ‘anything involving age and payback’. I’ll definitely use that one in future 🙂

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  5. I have a bit of sympathy for the cold callers – or rather I just feel how awful it would be for them to have a job like that, but I usually draw it to a close as fast as possible with a “I’m not interested thank you, please remove me from your client list.”

    However, the scam calls really annoy me. But I’ve found a new technique.

    A few months back I received a bogus call from someone claiming to be from BT saying my hub was sending out signals that were causing problems on the internet, or some such thing.

    I’ve seen enough posts online to realise instantly it was a scam call, so I sighed, and said, “Does your mother know you do this for a living?”

    The man’s voice instantly lost its bounce as he replied, “No, she doesn’t.”

    “Do you think she would be proud of what you are doing?” I asked.

    “No she wouldn’t,” he said, “so I’m not going to tell her.”

    “I realise we all have to try and earn money, but you should seriously think about the ethics of…”

    He hung up.

    Changing the world, one guilt trip at a time…

    39.6k Views · View Upvoters

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for dropping by, Kim. Brigid and I were saying we wouldn’t want their job. I realise some people have little choice and need to earn a living – even if their mothers wouldn’t be happy 🙂

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    • I think they must be quite successful or they’d surely have given up by now! And the ones who ring up to tell people they have a computer problem, which they can fix for them are definitely successful. The DH gets quite a lot of business unlocking people’s computers after they’ve allowed the scammer access.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I do what Debby does and answer the phone and announce ‘City Morgue.’ (In fact, I got the idea from her). If there is a slight pause after I say hello, then I know it’s going to be a cold call. I also use “Red Dragon Take Away, please give me your credit card number and the three digits on the back of the card before I take your order.” They soon hang up quickly. 😀
    Good luck with it all, Mary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like both those suggestions, Hugh. It will help now the caller id problem has been sorted although I believe the scammers (rather than cold callers) have found a way for the number to show a local code – sneaky.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, you’re right, they have Mary. However, I stay silent when I answer a call if I do not recognise the number or can not hear anybody or anything at the other end. The short burst of silence is a sure giveaway that it’s a cold colder being put through to you.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Ha ha! I know, I know, sometimes you’re tempted to just keep them on the line, aren’t you? To see what idiocy they will come out with next. I swear they must do an IQ test on these people, and only hire the ones with less than 100.

    The other day I picked up a ‘courtesy call’ from O2, by mistake. Girl was asking me questions about my phone use, and I said, ‘why do you want to know?’ to which she answered, ‘because we are your network provider’, and I said, yes, that tells me who you are but not why you want the answers to these questions, which I am not going to tell you, because it’s none of your business’. She muttered ‘snooty bitch’ and hung up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol. I was told off by one from India who wanted me to know my computer wasn’t working properly. I said I didn’t accept cold calls and he said it wasn’t a cold call. I explained that by calling a total stranger in an attempt to make money from them was definitely a cold call. He acted astonished at this and asked if I only wanted to talk to people who are already my friends. When I agreed this was so he said, ‘You are not a friendly person.’
      Now, when a computer scammer calls I tell them my husband works for Microsoft and will fix it for me then I ask if perhaps they know each other? They put the phone down at that point.

      Like

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