For the past three weeks I've been getting calls on my mobile from 02 8986 3000 at least once per week day, sometimes twice or thrice. Every time I answer the call I hear "I'm sorry, all operators are currently bu" and get cut off. Rather annoying! So they quickly get added to my phone book under "Ignore".
This morning, a friend was at my desk when it rang, so I answered on speaker phone so he could hear it. Imagine my surprise when there's a voice: "Hello!". I quickly reply but they hang up again.
10 minutes ago it rings again. I answer quickly, and speak to a real person. He's calling from Allphones, the high street shop I bought my mobile phone from 2 years ago, and wonders if I realise that I can upgrade my phone for free.
Aha, a sales call from an automated dialler! This'll be fun.
I start to answer his question and, half way through, I ask why his number's been calling me so often. "Oh, we get that a lot. We use an automated dialler," he tells me. It calls up to three times a day and hangs up if not answered within three rings. I tell him that this has really pissed me off and ask him to mention my feelings to his manager or technical people, because if it's pissing me off, it's pissing other people off, and that right now I don't have a very good impression of Allphones.
"Fair enough," he replies. He said that all the time. "Fair enough!" He's obviously got a cue sheet, and doesn't give two rats what the answer is.
"How have you found the service?" "I've been having trouble making calls at around 6pm on week days - it's always congested." "Fair enough." "How have you found the phone?" "The rubbery scratch resistant coating has peeled off." "Fair enough."
"Do you go over your cap?" "Occasionally." "Fair enough."
So I let him ramble on about the new phone I could get. I won't be locked in to a new plan, I can cancel at any time and just pay the unpaid part of the recommended retail price of the phone, which is cheaper than what you pay in the shops, it's the wholesale price you see. The RRP is the whole sale price? I didn't want to ask.
"Will you be carrying the iPhone?" I ask. "I'm going to wait for that before upgrading."
"Fair enough," he taunts, and tells me I could still upgrade now and buy the iPhone when it comes out, and only pay the remainder of the $198 the phone he's trying to get me to buy is worth at some point in the sales pipeline. I decide not to start my whole "greedy corporate-led consumer society" rant.
"But the iPhone comes out in about 2 months, by then I'd have paid off about $14. I'm not sure it's worth it!". I've just worked out it'll be $16.50, not bad maths-while-chatting-up-a-sales-guy.
He thanks me for my time and we hang up. Meanwhile, the time they stole from me using their awful automated dialler over the past few weeks has been repaid many times over; this 10 minute call resulted in no sale, and I knew that from the beginning.