"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."

('The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Some months ago, we closed our Sky TV package and opted for BT Vision instead, which we are quite happy with. The suspicious ease with which we were able to close the Sky package has proved itself to be just that, suspicious. Since then we have had quite a few calls from Sky, usually asking to speak to the account holder (Keith) about 'your Sky account' which immediately makes me think we still owe them money, which is not the case, of course.
Recently the calls have become more frequent and usually during the day, which means that I answer the phone, if I am around. The problem here is that, although I tell the callers repeatedly that we don't want to subscribe to Sky again, they won't listen to me as I am not the 'account holder'. The fact that, as we have closed the account, there is no account holder as far as they are concerned seems to have passed them by.
Fast forward to Monday when I received a call from a female who insisted on talking over me, reading from her script as I gave my usual answer and asked her not to bother calling again.
"We'll ring again when Mr A is in," she assured me and cut the call.
Tuesday brought another call, this time from a male.
"Ah, I'm glad you've called," I said, "I would like to speak to your supervisor."
He assured me that there was no supervisor present. I decided to ignore his blatant lie and launched into my attack anyway, telling him about Monday's call.
"I object most strongly to someone talking over me when I am trying to explain something," I said, talking over him as he tried to explain to me that it was a question of 'data protection' which dictated that they had to speak to the account holder.
"Well, if it happens again, I shall put in a formal complaint," I said.
"We'll ring this evening when Mr A is in," he said and rang off.
So last night, true to their word, Sky rang again and this time spoke to Keith who told them in no uncertain terms that we do not wish to subscribe to Sky again and not to ring us any more.
We sat back, confident in the certainty that that was the last we would hear from Sky....
This morning, the phone rang, after Keith had gone out of course, which meant that I answered it. Someone wanted to speak to Keith. Who? Sky, of course.
"What? Sky again??" I exploded and launched into a resume of all the recent calls.
"I can only apologise," said the voice at the other end when I finally drew breath. "It has been put down as a 'return call'," and he rang off before I could say another word.
Well, you have to give them marks for not giving up.


Flighty said...

I'd say hold on then put the phone down and just leave it! Trying to talk them is both pointless and exasperating.
If you do then stay calm and polite, ask them for their name then say that you're recording the call. If they mention the Data Protection Act ask them which specific part of it they mean so that you can look it up.
My problem is that I get regular letters from Virgin Media addressed to The Occupier, rather than my name, which means that I can't get them stopped by complaining to the Mail Preference Service. I write return to sender and put them back in the post unopened.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

It is about time our expenses-obsessed politicians got their fingers out and developed laws to outlaw cold-calling over the telephone. I am getting heartily sick of bellowing down the line - "NEVER, EVER PHONE HERE AGAIN!"
Speak to anybody. No one wants these unsolicited intrusions and for more vulnerable citizens they could be more than upsetting but costly too.

Jennyta said...

I really admire your professional way of dealing with them, Flighty. I'm afraid sometimes I get to the stage where I just don't 'do' calm and polite. :)
Very true, YP, Lots of elderly people get very anxious about these calls, as well as the 'silent' calls, which are now supposed to be illegal but still happen.

Silverback said...

Speaking as an elderly person, I don't get anxious, I get freakin' annoyed. Trouble is I then can't remember why !

No seriously, get a whistle and blow it into the phone when Sky call next. I believe it's hard to make another call when your ears are ringing.

(Victor Meldrew)

cheshire wife said...

I would let them talk to the answer phone.

Jennyta said...

Ian, I had thought of getting a whistle to blow down the phone, but maybe, Cheshire Wife, your solution would be better - less fun though! ;)

The Birdwatcher said...

Mrs BW lets her anti rape alarm go off next to the ear piece. I expect we'll get sued.

Jennyta said...

Maybe, but wouldn't it be worth it! :)

Kippers Dickie said...

I would say "Hang on a minute, I'll go and fetch him".......

Time is money to them and they would get very very fed up!!

Jennyta said...

Well, let's hope they are permanently fed up now after my ear basking, KD. ;)

jay said...

I usually lay the phone down and let them ramble to thin air if they won't listen and talk reasonably. In your case, if they say they want to speak to the account holder, you could try saying 'There is no account holder because there is no account'.

Alternatively, I've found the following stragey to be quite satisfying. Whatever they say to you, pause, then say 'I'm sorry, could you repeat that?' You can add a few variations, such as 'No .. no, sorry, I still didn't catch that .. ' and 'Uh .. sorry, I was just reading the post, could you say that again?'

It won't stop them calling back, but you will at least know you've managed to annoy them every bit as much as they are annoying you.

Oh yeah, and ask them what their name is, including surname, and ask them to spell it out for you. Make a point of letting them know you're writing it down.

Jennyta said...

Actuslly, Jay, part of me feels a tiny bit of sympathy for them although they are annoying me. It is the organisation which is at fault, the person on the other end of the phone is only doing his/her job and it is a stressful one, as I know from clients I've had. However, that doesn't help when they are rude!


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