Monday, April 23, 2007

Calling for a unified Do-Not-Call registry in India

Like most of us who get unsolicited and unwanted telemarketing calls selling everything from a personal loan to credit card to a new telephone connection, I too get such calls everyday, whether I am in meeting, travelling, or working on document etc. Many such calls come from India's leading banks.The interesting part is that, I have already registered for DNC on their website. While some of these companies give you a request number, others merely say thanks, and you get nothing, no email confirmation, no request number. These companies also helpfully add that it might take them 3 months to remove the number from their list.
The calls do not stop though. Consider this. At eleven AM I get a call from some telecaller, who wants to sell credit cards to me. First of all, they ask me if I hold a credit card from another bank. It really cheeses me off. Why should be I talking about my financial arrangements to any TDH who calls me without invitation.That's when I ask them if they heard about DNC. They generally tell you no. Maybe feigning ignorance is part of their training. If you demand to speak to their managers, the call will me disconnected. You cannot reach them by calling back, because the line would be busy.
The very important point- these telecallers would not call you from BSNL lines where a directory is published and available online for anyone to track these calls back, as well as know the organisations that are behind the calls.
These calls come in from networks of private phone companies, who do not have online directories, and even if you call the phone company and ask for details of the subscriber, they would not give you the details, since client confidentiality is involved. I have tried all this and the arrangement is so wonderfully cosy.
So if I have time and in a good mood, I really make the best of these calls. I tell them I am a lawyer in need of some obscene amount of personal loan, and they look for escapes to close the call. Else, tell them I am a politician, and again my need for money is indeed very acute.Or that I am a second year engineering student.Wasting their minutes becomes my objective, even if that costs me time!
And suppose they want to offer a credit card, I pretend that I need six cards, without names, so that I can gift to my friends after 'writing their names', since it comes 'free'. They quickly backtrack, saying the card is free but the bills would come for the purchases, but then in explaining this difference, they go into further mess. Trust me they do. Again I want to waste their minutes, and this works very well. They run off. The call lasts 3 1/2 mins or so and they get nothing.What a waste.
One organisation I have to give very high marks for DNC compliance is Citibank. I was a regular in their telecalling list and calls became absolutely zero after signing up with their DNC. I do not have such luck with organisations such as ICICI and ABN Amro.
The current pain comes from lack of a unified Do-Not-Call registry in India. Today I read about such a possibility. This is indeed very acutely needed in India. I would miss the fun on the calls though.
Closing now. My phone is ringing. Cannot wait for the fun.
Test

4 comments:

Elaine Vigneault said...

Do not call is a good idea.

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Rajesh Kumar said...

Thanks Elaine so much.

Girish Chandra said...

I have a strange incident to say after reading this post. One month back, I got a miss call on my mobile, I called back thinking that caller may be an acquaintance. To my surprise, I found that it's from car loan department of ICICI.:) And she's offering me a loan.

What an inexpensive marketing strategy.

Amit Shekhar said...

Hi Rakesh, good post and very relevent.We all have suffered this intrussive marketing which i consider as worst form of marketing.