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Spam phone calls and heights of telemarketing


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 ventilate 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 women 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 added 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 and not being in office as it was totally unproductive. I cannot say the several 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!

More calls comes from Insurance companies for tax saving offerings in the first quarter of every year that is when IT guys brood over tax planning. But the worst part is these people straight way recite the text in front of their PC saying “Hello sir, we are calling from XYZ insurance company” and start briefing on their policy benefits. Most notable point is they do make sure whether you are listening to their sweet speech giving pauses between and will ask “Hello sir” to verify whether we are still alive. By the time you express your disinterest they must have read more than couple of sentences from the paragraph they were supposed to read.

There was another funny moment while I was in a discussion with my manager who got an anonymous call from a woman for body massage. The lady got into the details of the massaging services they provide at a cheaper rate….what a crap!

For me or anyone who applauds this post who are based in Indiawill sure be an aggregator in tolerating such spam calls.

How can a mobile service provider share our numbers to others without our consent? Can’t Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) do something?

There do exist “Do not disturb” options with Vodafone and the banks where I hold the account, still I don’t think we can forefend such calls.

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