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Automated calls ....

I've noticed in the last year or so an increase in the number of calls I receive where instead of being greeted by a living agent I am greeted by an automated one. Usually these calls start with an annoying 2 second gap where I say "hello" several times before the machine begins to play its recorded spiel. Today, I received another of many calls I've taken from a company that claims (through the robotic voice) to want to provide me with a better rate on my auto insurance. The only problem is that I don't have a car, and haven't had one since 2002. The automated message is interested as it goes something like this:

"If you wish to speak to an agent about our package please press 1. If you do not wish to take advantage of this offer and wish to be removed from our call list please press 2."

Unfortunately, the company in question is deceptive in both options. In the several times I've received this call (often at the most inopportune times) I've pressed both options. At first, I pressed option 2, thinking that I would not hear from the robot again....I was wrong, I did it 2 more times before realizing that option 2 is false, they are using a hard sell tactic to force you to speak to their agents. After being annoyed with the message yet another time, I decide to press 1 just to hear what the agent would say. During this call I must admit to having been quite upset at the call, and I am sure the agent heard the frustration in my voice when I told him "take me off this damned list." his response was immediate. "I'll go ahead and do that for you, good bye."

This worried me as it was too fast an answer. Sure enough a few days later the robot call was back, after composing myself I selected option 2 again, thinking maybe it didn't "take" the first few times (still holding out hope that it would work irrationally) ...a few weeks passed and I thought I was free of the scourge of the robot but today that joy was smashed by the call yet again. This time, I chose option 1 again composed myself and readied for the agent.

Agent: "Good morning , my name is Tasha , How are you doing today?"

Me: "Not very good Tasha."

Agent: "Click!"

Now, it maybe the case that she's received many such introductions but there was no reason for her to assume I was talking about the automated call I'd received but it seems she did. Likely caused by the many fire breathing calls she must take every day thanks to the slimy tactics of her company. However that is no excuse to hang up on a potential "customer" without saying a word. Here behavior is a reflection of the slimy tactics of the company she works for and it doesn't surprise me that she works there. Next time I plan on answering with absolute joy in my heart, to see what happens if I inquire about their plan. I'll tell them that I will be getting a car in the future but want information on their plans just to see what goes on.

stay tuned.

Update April 29, 2009

I received another call about 2 weeks ago and this time selected the option to speak to the representative again. I put on a joyful spirit and when connected with the representative expressed interest. I told them that I didn't have a car at the moment and the response was:

"You don't have a car?"

*click*

So he sure will get the customer service medal of the year. It seems clear that the company is not interested in even making the effort of treating anyone who they won't be able to extract money from as a human being.

This very day, a local radio station had a story about the calls and the fact that Verizon (my phone company thankfully) has fined and removed the companies from their system, finding the calls abusive. I sure hope I never have to answer another call from that or any similar service!

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