God Bless the TPS

It was a call like this that made me finally crack:

Disgruntled Commuter: Hello?
Gas Company That Should Know Better: Can you hear me?*
DC: yes
GCTSKB: Is that …er .. Deskroontled GimpEater?
DC: Sort of
GCTSKB: This is Valerie from the Gas company that should know better…
DC: I’m not interested, thank you.
GCTSKB: Why not?
DC (knowing she shouldn’t get drawn into this but doing so anyway): Because I don’t buy things from telephone sales calls
GCTSKB: But we’re not a telephone company, Ms GimpEater
DC: I know that, but I’m not interested
GCTSKB: Not even if it saves you money?
DC: No, goodbye.
GCTSKB: But I just want you to know, we’re not a telephone company we’re the gas company that should know better …
DC: Yes, thank you, I know that, goodbye.
GKTSKB: Just so you know…
DC: (after putting phone down, screaming furiously) But you already SUPPLY my frigging gas!!!

This was the third call in as many weeks from the same company. The problem is I find it very hard to be rude to anyone who works in a call centre because I’m sure it’s soul destroying enough to be doing it anyway without having people screaming down the phone at them. So I end up arguing with them. What’s really pathetic is how bad they are at selling things, or indeed even at making phone calls. I’m pretty sure that ‘hello can you hear me?’ is not part of the official telesales script, nor is arguing back, nor indeed is ringing up your existing customers and pissing them off to the point where I seriously considered changing my gas company just to get them back. Preferably when they were in the middle of cooking supper or having a bath.

But fortunately I had a much more powerful weapon to hand: the Telephone Preference Service. I’ve known about this for roughly a decade but it took me until yesterday to actually sign up. In 27 days I shall be free of Valerie and her useless colleagues. And it was dead easy to do. You don’t even need to provide any proof that the telephone number you were signing up for was your own. It was so easy I even considered going on and signing up all of my friends as well, just as a sort of early Christmas present.

* I should point out, before anyone gets the wrong idea, that either Valerie was English or they’ve massively improved their sloppily enunciated Estuary English dialect classes in Bangalore.

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8 responses to “God Bless the TPS

  1. Telesales Person: “This is not a sales call. I want to offer you a free trial of our product.”
    Me: “And then what?”
    TP: “If you like our product and want to keep it at the end of the trial period then we will offer a substantial discount…”
    Me: “If I want to keep it then I can have it for free?”
    TP: “No, we will give you a substantial discount.”
    Me: “I’ll have to pay?”
    TP: “We will give you a substantial discount.”
    Me: “So, you are calling me to offer me a product for a tial period and if I choose to keep it I’ll have to pay for it.”
    TP: “At a substantial discount.”
    Me: “You ultimately would want me to by the product?”
    TP: “At a…”
    Me: “Substantial discount, yes. You are calling me to offer a trial on a product that you will sell to me if I want to keep it.”
    TP: “Yes.”
    Me: “So this IS a sales call.”
    TP: “Er… no… er…”
    Me: “Goodbye.”

  2. I can happily endorse both the TPS and Mailing Preference Service which I’ve had for years. I get virtually no juke mail or phone calls nowadays.
    Both helped reduce my high blood pressure considerably.
    Have a good week.

  3. Steve – I wish I had that sort of presence of mind when arguing with them.
    Flighty – I wish I’d signed up years earlier, but I can feel my blood pressure subsiding already.

  4. It’s always worth perfecting a good line in getting them off the script, doesn’t half confuse the poor person … without resorting to being rude.
    But I confess I see even less point in such calls from people clearly ringing from the middle of some rural state with very poor phone lines and an accent that could not even class as estuary english …

  5. well in 25 days (and counting) I shan’t be getting any calls from any of them …

  6. I have a gadget which at a press of a button plays appropriate noises to distract/dismay/discountenance unwanted telephone callers. A screaming baby, a takeaway at the door, fireengine rushing to your scene, cars crashing outside your front door-and best of all static interference. Much more fun than any TPS. For callers from Mumbai there is (I am trying to patent this) A BBC cricket commentator announcing that England have reached 504 for 1 Wicket. This only works during Test Matches on the sub continent but is guarenteed to bring the whole call centre to a halt thus striking a blow for victims everywhere

  7. disgruntled – you fabulous person! This has been predictive dialler week here – if we’re not being subjected to silence while they find a callcentrian to talk to us, then it’s marketing muzak CD#3247, followed by a selection of Yorkshiremen (and they’ve ALL been Yorkshiremen this week) flogging sundry nonsense. Now if they were ringing me with the cricket news, I might be more interested. Here’s to 28 days and counting…

  8. Pixi – did you sign up then? Hurrah! Everyone must sign up to TPS
    Huttonian – try and stay within the bounds of probability.

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