India & Around, Living, Personal
comments 20

Not another free credit card!

Will somebody tell these people that I don’t need another credit card?

Or a personal loan (I already have a few under my belt thank you!).

Or a life insurance policy (I have 2 and I only have one life last time I checked).

So, here I am in the middle of something important and the phone rings.

“Madam, we are offering you a free lifetime XXX credit card?”


No hello, no greeting, no finding out if I’m free to talk. I can understand that these folks cold call, but some sort of greeting and introduction would be nice. They rarely bother asking you if you’re free. I am not sure how they hire these folks but I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t provide any kind of training at all.

I remember for a brief period of time working for a newspaper Down Under called the Weekly Trading Post, where we had to make cold calls to folks advertising their wares in other newspapers. Inevitably, as cold calls go, you need to be really careful about disturbing the person and the first thing you ask is whether he/she is free to talk. You have to be courteous. And you can’t be pushy, because that is surely going to douse the fire real quick. That I’ve noticed is hardly done here.

Just as I write this, I receive a call from ICICI Home Loan Insurance. (Hello madam, but I don’t even have a home yet).

The other thing they don’t do is put you on a ‘do-not-call’ list when you request them to. Multiple times. As a result you’re getting the same calls from the same companies, saying the very same thing week after week. And being rude to the people who call, is also not really going to solve the problem, because they’ve been hired to do a job. I am sure they are given the same print-outs week after week with no consideration for the fact that some of these numbers might have already been called a dozen times already.

How else would I get an offer for an ABN AMRO credit card about 5 times even after pointedly refusing it and asking them to take me of their list (please!).

I think in the long run, all these companies will do themselves more damage than good for these kind of marketing tactics. People these days don’t respond well to push technology and that’s a well known fact. They are smart and intelligent enough to make decisions with the right information, but not if you push it down their throats 5 times a week. These companies should really find out if their tactics are really working and how many people actually jump up and down with joy when they receive cold calls.

I must have gotten a call from every major bank/credit card company : ICICI, GE Countrywide, SBI, ABN AMRO, HDFC, ICICI Prudential, Bajaj Alliance (and a few other insurance companies). I shudder to think of the places my number is floating around in!

I read recently that TRAI, the telecom regulator of India, is proposing a do-not-call registry that will give phone subscribers the option of opting out if they don’t want to receive ANY calls. So a consumer can choose to de-list himself/herself from the databases that are obviously shared by all these companies when cold calling. This, if put into practice, will definitely be a boon for all the millions of harassed customers who get at least a couple of such calls a day.

However, how far this can be a reality, especially in India where the intrusive culture seems to be taken for granted is anybody’s guess. Till then, I guess we just have to continue fielding such calls from the various marketing companies. And if you see someone screaming down Hosur Road, wailing, “No, no, I really don’t want another free credit card,” chances are that it would be me 🙂

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20 Comments

  1. Exactly the point – these companies need to review their marketing tactics in my opinion too. I’m sick of Airtels, ICICIs, Citibanks of this world offering me the best schemes day in and day out. Wonder when they will learn that this startegy doesn’t works after some time.

    High time TRAI does something regarding this issue.

  2. Silvester says

    The best way to tackle these calls is to lie them that you already have their card. This way you wont be called the next time…

    I used to get a call from ABN Amro, Delhi and they talk only in Hindi, assuming that I know Hindi… One day I replied them in Tamil and finally they hung up on me….

  3. I guess it works the same way as spam. With less than 1% hit-rate, the business is possible. 99% people get temporarily pissed-off, but that 1% keeps such marketing strategies alive.

    Even telling a lie that I already have anything you offer doesn’t help. That guy hangs up, but next week another guy comes up with `fresh’ offer on the same product.

    I too tried pursuing my number to be included in do-not-call list without success. Then I changed my number, and guess what? Airtel sold my number to marketing agencies again.

  4. @Silvester

    I tried to do this. I told them already had a CC from the concerned bank, so the next time they called me with an offer for a FREE add-on card for my family members. How about that one?

  5. Manish says

    I once asked them what is a credit card, what is the use, how I can buy things using it, does that mean I dont need to pay

  6. One fine day, a cold call from ICICI –

    ICICI: Sir we’re offering lifetime free credit card, do u want to go for it.. blah blah.. blah blah..
    ME: [Intercepting] Yes Yes, sure why not.

    ICICI: [Delighted] Great sir here are the details… blah blah..
    ME: Don worry, I just want to go for it.. no details required..

    ICICI: Thank u sir, [she’s about to begin again]…
    ME: [Intercepting] Do u give personal loans also?

    ICICI: [Really happy now] Yes sir, do u want that too?
    ME: Yes, without any question. And hey do u provide life insurance as well?

    ICICI: [Jumping] Definitely sir, I’ll put u’re name for that also.. Where do u work sir?
    ME: Nowhere, M searching for a job. Can u refer me there?

    ICICI: [Long Pause] [then hung up]

    I never got a call again. Worked better than asking for DND (Do Not Disturb) list.

  7. if you feel irritated by these calls then you do one thing, fight back. you have to pretend that you are interested and then after long discussions and meetings just tell them ill have to think about it and in the end just say im not interested, trust me they would be much causious next time with their customers.

  8. These people know how to attract customers they keep on calling and they’ll keep on calling you until you say that I am not interested in your product.

  9. how about this ?

    Caller : ICICI: Sir we’re offering lifetime free credit card, do u want to go for it.. blah blah.. blah blah..
    Caller : Hello Sir, Are you there ?
    Caller : Hello
    Caller : HELLO
    Caller : HELLO

    or

    Caller : ICICI: Sir we’re offering lifetime free credit card, do u want to go for it.. blah blah.. blah blah..
    Caller hears a dial tone. Tries again and a few minutes later the same thing happens. Tries again.

    After three or four times, he assumes that the line is no longer active and deltes it from his call list.

    vasu

  10. My sympathies are with you. At least here in the US they honor the “please take me off your list” cry.

  11. Oh, I know exactly what this feels like – and just when i am dropping off into a comfortable snooze – it is always in the afternoon around 2;30 / 3:00.I am even asked to play secretary to my husband with questions like “where/ when can he be reached?” “what is his mobile number?” etc…
    And I am also tortured by the marketing/ service guys from Eureka Forbes. Every third day they ring my bell and I rush out of the bathroom or from upstairs only to find one of them asking me the same questions that i have answered 3 times a week week after week after week. I am putting a board outside my house, “I have thrown away all Eureka Forbes products just to keep EF reps away. So please Go away.”

  12. Just saw your post abt you completing 5 years of blogging!! Amazing!…No wonder your visitor count increases by 1000s every day!….
    …and your acknowledgement to the silent types is received with thanks! 😉
    I need to mention this, once when i was not in India, i was searching for something and landed in one of your posts with Bangalore KR market picture. I was in Taiwan that time and was having a tough time with the food there. At that time when i saw your KR market snap…those piles of vegetables with different colours…rekindled my hunger for good food 🙂 You have captured the market mood excellently. Hats off to you!
    It is great reading your blog!

  13. Once in my bad mood I got a call from Citibank, that am selected priviliged customer so I get 1lac as personal loan.
    I told him if he can give me 1million i’ll take it..
    after that no calls frm him…

  14. Ohh Gosh…these CC ppl keep calling all the time…all the banks…..I have also had bad experiences with Eureka Forbes & THE WORST IS….taa..daa…AIRTEL….this offer that scheme..privileged customer…ring tones…contests…

  15. I fully agree with you and really feel that this is a great headache we have to bear with daily. Telephone Authority must do something to stop this non-sense.

  16. Madhu says

    I am staying at Hyderabad and subscribed to IDEA prepaid mobile. They usually keep flooding through spam messages, that’s somewhat tolerable. But now I am getting unsolicited promotion calls also which is very very disturbing. I even sent an DND message (Do Not Disturb) for no avail. I am seriously comsidering to change the provider to Hutch/Airtel/Reliance… These kinds of mobile operators should be sued for these acts. I heard that a law has been passed recently making it mandatory for service providers / registered companies to provide a DND kind of service which enables a person to remove his/her name from the mailing/calling list. Can anyone provide more details on that?

  17. Hi,

    I have a post regarding that on my blog.. I reached here googling for credit card articles in the magazine week.

    The Week carried a good article on the malpractices of these banks, sometime in this or last month

  18. Maverick says

    In the last few years, the easily available credit cards and loans in the
    market have superbly enabled us to increase our purchasing power way beyond
    what our salaries ever could.

    I can now buy just about anything on EMI by availing of these loans and
    credit cards – be it a car, a house, expensive jewellery or a branded watch
    that costs almost more than 10 times my salary! What bliss…. and all
    because of the availability of credit at this age. Its a lifestyle I
    so enjoy, but one which I know I must curb at some point. I have been
    telling myself that I should stop spending too much on my card because the
    bills at the end of the month tend to bother me. This heavily
    credit-dependent lifestyle makes me feel good and experience things I
    couldn’t
    otherwise, but it also stresses me out every now and then. I tell myself and
    I want to stop but I can’t seem to! It’s almost like an addiction now. It’s
    frustrating every now and then.

    Anyway, logic not prevailing, I have been continuing the same lifestyle. I
    don’t think I will ever be able to stop it completely but regulating the
    habit is something I am looking at now. I have begun to search for some way
    in which I could possible get some professional guidance on “how
    much” of this indulgence was ok for me at each point. To what extent could I
    indulge and still manage to pay my bills and EMIs? To what extent can I
    afford to live on credit and yet not be stressed about the bills?! How many
    loans can I take and still manage to pay off the EMI’s comfortably every
    month so that I am not in a situation where I have no money in the last week
    of every month!?? For how many months of
    the year can I afford to continue paying the minimum on my credit card?

    Would any of you be aware of any such service that I can avail of? Who do I
    approach for such advice? Would be great if you could write in and advise me
    people!

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