Our records show you work in shipbuilding
Multiple spam phone calls in one day and how I hate being called Mike
It all started as I left the tube, just after 8am on Tuesday. The phone rang. No one calls me at that time of day.
The kids have hurt themselves or the office is on fire (metaphorically). Usually something bad.
So I answer..
“ ‘ello.. is that Mr Daly??”
“Im calling from ‘Some random posh sounding solicitor’s name’, our records show that you have been involved in an accident and are entitled to compensaaaation” (Yes… at least 5 a’s..)
Now, I agree, its a failing on my part that I just can’t hang up on these calls. I figure if I’m rude then I’m just being unpleasant to someone who, probably, doesn’t like the job but needs it to keep house and home together and doesn’t need me having a pop at them.
“No, I haven’t had any accidents so, no I’m not…”
“Oh, but we have an insurance application that..”
“No, really I’m not interested, please don’t call me again.”
“Thank you….. Bye..”
About an hour later, the phone rings again..
I’m expecting a call from someone, no idea where they are based, so this could be it..
“Goooood morning Mr Daly, my name is Phil1, Im calling from the pension clinic2, are you aware that there have been changes to pension regulations, and we’d like to offer you a free pension health check”
“Yes thanks, I have my own financial advisor who I’m happy with so I don’t need your help.”
“Yes, but as I said its free and will only take a few minutes to take some details and we promise not to steal all your money”3
“No.. Really, no… please don’t call me again..”
The next one Lunch time-ish..
Now this one was a blocked number, and I know that you probably shouldn’t pick up a blocked number call, but my Mother-in-law blocks her outbound number and the last time she called during the working day, well.. let just say it was a good job I took the call.
“Hi, Is that Michael?”
“yep, who’s calling?”
“Hi there, my name is Kelly4, and our records indicate that you are entitled to a PPI claim for a mortgage you had in….”
“No, I have never had PPI…”
“Yes, many people think that but mortgages were mis-sold before (Some previous date), so if I could just take some details….”
“No thank you.. Good bye..”
By this point I’m just a little narked.. Then the next one takes the biscuit.
“Hi, is that Mike?”
Now, I hate being called Mike. You may as well call me George. Mike is not my name. It has NEVER been my name. The only person who gets (got) away with calling me Mike was Grandma and that was because it came with sweets or cake, and by the time cake and sweets stopped she was too old and fragile for me to get worried about it.
Even my teachers got ignored when they called me Mike.
Apologies to all the Mikes out there, there is nothing wrong with the name but its just not mine..
“Oh er.. can I speak to Mr Daly..”
“Oh… er… OK.. Im calling from (wherever), Our records show…” (here we go again) “ that you
have worked in industry and may be entitled to compensation”
“NO, I have never worked in industry..”
“You have never worked in industry?”
What I want to say is;
“Well yes.. clearly I have, but not in the kind of industry you mean”
What I actually say is;
“What do you mean by ‘industry’?”
“OH… our records show that you worked in shipbuilding”
I see the link – I used to work for a company that owned (among 30 other businesses) a shipyard..
“NO, I have never worked in shipbuilding.. Thanks for the…”
She hung up on me..
Thats a new one.. 🙂
I’m now a bit fed up.. the next call..
“erm.. hello, is that Mr Daly?”
“yep” (Blimey, that was terse.)
“Hi, this is Sarah from…”
“Sorry, Im busy, I have had enough today, I don’t care what you are selling I’m really not interested”
“Oh, ok.. Im sorry.. Just to let you know, that I have the quotes we discussed last week,”
(you remember the call I was waiting for..)
“…shall I just email them to you?”
A very large helping of humble pie, an apology and a quite pleasant discussion about cold calling.
But it’s not really cold calling. They must have my number somewhere, I must have forgotten to tick (or un-tick) the box that said please don’t bother me. So not reading the small print properly somewhere has caused this. Unfortunately I have no answer. There is no great reveal coming about how we all solve this problem.
None of us has the time (or, frankly the inclination) to read the 70 page list of T’s & C’s before we click the “I agree…” button because they are written in some arcane legal language that we just can’t read, without taking a course on British consumer law so we can understand it… (breath… ) so what we actually need is better protection from the regulators.
Most of this crap is some kind of scam. The goal is to get you to pay for a service that you can probably get for free if you do a little bit of work yourself. So its not actually illegal.
If only there was some kind of list.. Oh wait.. there is..
The telephone preference service is supposed to help you get out of this stuff.
Am I registered? – yep.
Does it work? – Nope.
Because somewhere, some time ago, I accidentally ticked (or didn’t tick) a box that enabled one organisation with iffy morals to sell my phone number.
So how about a bit of crowd sourcing?
Lets share all the random calls we get on a site, so we can add the calls to our block lists. I think there is even an idea for an app in there somewhere.
I think I know someone who can help with that.
1Could have been Phil, I didn’t hear properly..
2Could have been… cant remember that one either..
3I added the “The We promise bit…”
Michael is the Engineering Manager at Cloudflare, having previously designed, built and managed infrastructure and networks for Nominet, Mercedes Benz and Virgin (amongst others). When not at work, he can usually be found with his family or with a guitar in his hand.
Anything written here is his own work, and has nothing whatsoever to do with his employer. Follow him on twitter at @michaelscloud.