I AM relieved to discover that it isn’t just me who gets infuriating nuisance calls every day.
I thought I was being picked on but Culture Minister Ed Vaizey says his department receives more complaints about them than anything else. They have trebled in six months. Maybe I should phone him up and add my own nuisance call to the total.
But I shall hold my horses for the Government, he says, is finally preparing to take action against the large companies responsible.
“It is driving people to the point where they don’t answer their phones,” one concerned MP said.
The other morning was typical. I was in my home office and took four in two hours. One was silent – which always gets me shouting irrationally down the line – one was a recorded message about life insurance from a major bank (I shouted again). The third, about Payment Protection, I cut off in mid-stream: “I am not interested and please don’t call me again.”
I mean, if I had paid for payment protection I would be fully aware by now that banks were handing out millions in compensation and would have made my own claim, without asking a company to do it for me so they could pocket some of the loot.
The fourth was a chirpy young woman who said: “Hello, I’m calling about your Sky account.”
“That’s strange. I don’t have one. Now will you get off the line and take your scams somewhere else.”
The trouble is, calls like this tend to make me forthright when I answer the phone with a challenging: “Yes?” because I am expecting some prat on the other end trying to sell me something.
Which is why, when my telephone and broadband company called (I’m Virgin, by the way), I was distinctly cool towards the girl at the other end of the line and it took her ages to convince me to take her seriously. Glad I did. She saved me money on my phone bill.
Then another lady called and asked to speak to my wife to which my usual response is: “Why?”
A little blunt, but it often has the desired effect of putting a nuisance caller on the back foot. Only this time it really was a personal call for my wife.
“Bit aggressive, your husband, isn’t he?” she said to Maria.
Sorry for that, but aggressive I shall remain until something is done to stop the appalling cold calls everybody gets, even if you have signed up to the Telephone Preference Service. Companies simply ignore it, or use call centres located abroad.
But, if we can believe the Government, action is at last being considered. About time, too.