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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