The Money Shot: out in the cold

Annoyed woman on the phone
A cold call recipient, yesterday
"So perky, so enthusiastic… such a good opportunity to unleash both barrels of unrelated stress-fuelled fury"
  • | by Derri Dunn

Who doesn’t love receiving a good cold call, eh?

You’ve had a bad day, you’re feeling a touch tense and there they are – offering to win you recompense for a fictional trip, slip or fall, promising that they can save you money on your home broadband, or proffering assistance in reclaiming that PPI you were so rudely mis-sold.

So perky, so enthusiastic and helpful… such a good opportunity to unleash both barrels of unrelated stress-fuelled fury on the poor schmo.

So if you delight in tormenting those unfortunate call centre inhabitants, you’ll be gleeful at the news that a Glasgow-based professional pestering firm has been slammed to the tune of £200,000 for filling up its victims answering machines and just generally being extremely annoying.

The really naughty thing that Home Energy & Lifestyle Management (Helms) did, though, was to use software to send automated messages, rather than employing dogged and determined types to prattle on at length about ‘free’ solar panels.

At the Money Shot we reckon that completely goes against the true spirit of cold calling by denying enraged recipient the chance to practise their favoured response.

And if you’re in need of inspiration for the next time ‘withheld number’ flashes up, here are the favoured tactics of the Covered staffers…

Emily 'pushover' Bater

I tend to be polite to cold-callers, much to the annoyance of my boyfriend who shouts at me to ‘Hang up!’ while I’m waiting patiently for them to stop talking so I can mention that, actually, I’ve not had an accident recently/don’t want to find out more about PPI/don’t want to donate to their charity at the moment.

I then speed through a combination of thank you/sorry/no thank you/really, I can’t/sorry/goodbye, before hanging up and feeling guilty.

Kristian 'humour 'em' Dando

Seeing as my first job in the #content game was cold-calling companies to sell them advertising space, I often have an urge to humour the errant young phone jockey on the other end of the line. I’ve been in the position of just having the phone continually slammed down on me, and I’ll tell you this for nothing: it does nothing for the old self-esteem.

So, a few kind words never normally go amiss, even if the answer is usually ‘no thanks’.

Sean 'salesman' Davies

I always try the old ‘reverse-sales technique’.

An example: “Yes, I’d love to talk about your exciting investment opportunity in the Caymans. Before we get into that, though, can I interest you my latest book? I’m sure you’ve heard of the Last King of Wales? Well, this is about his successor, the first prince of Wales…”

Unfortunately the line is usually dead by ‘can I interest you’.

Derri 'if you can't say anything nice' Dunn

I’m a polite person in real life. Really, I am. So I resent cold calls because they put me I a position where I feel I might become… ill mannered.

Consequently, they normally hear nothing from me but an exasperated sigh before I cut off the call mid-spiel, then add them to my phone’s blacklist.

Do you like to flummox the cold callers? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter

News in brief

The payment processing whizzkids at Worldpay revealed that they're making a chip-and-pin machine that can recognise facial features.

Former science minister Lord Drayson didn’t mince his words when he said diesel cars were “killing people”.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) discovered that complaints about current accounts had rocketed by more than 30% in the first half of 2015.

On Covered mag this week

Emily Bater gets the latest on the Consumer Rights Act.

A run-down of rugby moments that made the history books.

Look at our lovely BOTM – Britmums founder Susanna Scott.

Money Shot letters

To the esteemed Covered mag editorial troupe,

It was with a sense of vindication that I read of the impending demise of diesel in last week's instalment of the Money Shot.

The reason? I feel this latest development will finally force the politicians and general public to take my carbon-neutral 'foot-mobile' seriously.

When I first forwarded my blueprints to my local authority, the transport minister, the BBC's Dragon's Den programme and a number of prominent vehicle manufacturers, I was bemused to be informed – by more than one party – that it resembled a concept debuted some decades ago in a popular cartoon series called 'the Flintstones'.

Well who's laughing now, eh, transport honchos?

Marlon Tootlebrey, Perthshire

Join us next week for another ear-bending edition of the Money Shot. In the meantime, send us your letters