I very well remember the first time I was contacted by a telemarketer who mysteriously acquired my phone number within two days of my getting it. I felt special because I had just joined a new employer and was interested in acquiring all facilities that one can go in for as a professional. The girl who had called up on the behalf of Citibank was very sweet and addressed me as “Mr. Khanna.” She offered me a credit card with no yearly rental. Needless to say, I fell into her trap and about thirty minutes later was filling up an application for a credit card. Rest, as they say is history.
Now it’s been seven years since I started working but the calls haven’t stopped. Rather they have grown in number. Forget about being sweet, the telemarketers these days are a real pain in the neck. Over the weekend, Dimple and I were subject to alls from one such telemarketer who just wouldn’t take no for an answer. One Shelja from ABN AMRO Bank begged Dimple to take a card from her bank. What irritated us most was that all these calls came from the same bank, same phone number, the same person, and all within a span of 24 hours! Don’t these bird-brained telemarketers track which numbers they’ve already called? Or do they believe that calling up a customer repeatedly will make the customer take their product? During the first call itself, Dimple told the telemarketer that she wasn’t interested in a credit card, but still she kept getting calls. What’s worse the telemarketer even told Dimple to talk in Telugu as she (telemarketer) did not know Hindi or English! Isn’t this strange? If I want to sell a product to a customer, I will ensure that I know the customers language, and not the other way round! It’s Hindi I am talking about and not French or German. It’s a shame that in spite of being Indians, most Hyderabadis don’t know Hindi.
Dimple’s phone happened to be with me when another such call came. I promptly took the call and spoke very rudely to deter the person from calling again. But this didn’t help as fifteen minutes later; Dimple got another call, same number, and same person.
Fuming with anger, I called up the ABN AMRO call center and told them in no uncertain words to stop making any more calls. They took all my details and promised that after a 30-day period, I wouldn’t get any more calls. But why thirty days? They just need to remove my name from a computerized database. As expected, the person was unable to explain why this task would take thirty days.
Unfortunately, ABN AMRO isn’t the only bank that makes such unsolicited calls. ICICI, HDFC, Citibank and god knows how many other companies use this method to get customers. So I’ve spent a better part of the morning visiting websites of these institutions to add my details to the “Do Not Call Registry” database because the Supreme Court of India has directed all banks to maintain such a database.
Hopefully, this should put an end to unsolicited calls.