Telemarketer revenge and privacy protection

I just got off the phone after having a little chat with an “Account Executive” from one of the more sleazy local banks, offering credit cards and other junk that I have no use for. Such calls, and those too to my personal mobile number, have become a bit too common lately and I think it is time we started talking about legal action, or at least some countermeasures against such hideous practices.

I used to get very annoyed and rude with these people and would usually just hang up, but nowadays I find that it is more satisfying to return the favor and it may actually be working. This is roughly how today’s conversation went:

  • [Telemarketer]: Hello Mr. Sajjad. I would like to ask you a few personal questions
  • [Me]: (sternly) Personal questions? Who is this and what kind of personal questions are we talking about?
  • [Telemarketer]: Urm…. I’m calling from XXX bank and we’re offering credit card serv…
  • [Me]: So you’re selling something and want my personal information. What was your name again?
  • [Telemarketer]: Ur…this is Rashid…
  • [Me]: FULL NAME
  • [Telemarketer]: Malik Rashid
  • [Me]: M A L I K R A S H I D (making sure that he can hear the tapping on the keyboard). Designation?
  • [Telemarketer]: Erm.. I’m the account executive (aka stinky weasel). Maybe it isn’t the right time…
  • [Me]: I’m getting 10 calls from you people every day despite telling you to remove my number from your records
  • [Me]: Where exactly did you get my number from?
  • [Telemarketer]: Mr. Fayyaz gave it to me together with a few other numbers
  • [Me]: What’s the number of this Mr. Fayyaz?
  • [Telemarketer]: Er…er.. I can’t give it to you, it wouldn’t be right
  • [Me]: Yes, off course. And passing around my number without my consent is just fine. Who’s your incharge?
  • [Telemarketer]: My manager…Mr. Ali
  • [Me]: Get me his number, unless you want me to contact someone higher up.
  • [Telemarketer]: No, you can talk to him. His number is 0321-5906898
  • [Telemarketer]: I’m sorry Mr. Sajjad, but this is the first time I’ve called …
  • [Me]: Off course you have. Everyone calls just once
  • [Telemarketer]: Please, let me expl….
  • [Me]: Thank you
  • (I hangup)

Now you might say that it was a bit harsh or that he was just doing his job, but there are decent ways to make money and everyone has a choice. If I let go of all ethics and morals, I’d be filthy rich, but I choose not to follow that path (just imagine the amount of money a person like me could earn spamming, peddling pr0n or getting juicy kickbacks).

The worst part is that if you actually apply to one of these banks for a loan or whatever, they’ll take your particulars, documents, soul and what not and simply disappear. I must have filled in a dozen applications because the previous ones were either lost, had to be changed or the person handling the case had mysteriously resigned. To top it off, I still kept getting fresh calls from their awesome telemarketing department while this was happening.

On the bright side, I have virtually stopped getting calls from a certain other, internationally well-known bank with a penchant for hiring the least mannered scum of the earth. It took dozens of calls that were sometimes even harsher than the one above, but I guess it finally paid off.

One of the greatest bothers is that a mobile number isn’t treated as a private thing here. People pass it around like a newspaper and it is written on everything from your official name card to corporate ads in the media. No wonder everyone expects to receive 24/7 support here and may call you at anytime, as they will, for the slightest issue.

Other countries have policies in place to protect their nationals against such nuisances (like do-not-call lists and company policies), but all this is badly lacking here. I’ve also noticed an increase in Pakistani spam and it seems that nothing is being done about it at the national level.

Anybody want to join in and do something about this? How about not supporting or promoting these forms of advertising? Or doing more to have consumer rights recognized.

I can’t wait to receive the next call from the poor sod whose life I may succeed in saving.