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One of the minor frustrations of my job is that I tend to get a lot… - John C. Kirk

Feb. 18th, 2006

05:46 pm

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One of the minor frustrations of my job is that I tend to get a lot of stupid phone calls. Not from my colleagues, or clients, just from random external companies - these are normally either trying to sell me something or wanting me to do a survey. A typical example is the call I had about BT broadband last week:

Caller: Hi, this is X from BT. Can I ask you about your broadband needs?
Me: Actually we already have a leased line from BT. I'm surprised you didn't know that...
Caller: Ah well, I'm not from BT as such, I'm calling from Y on behalf of BT.
This is now so common that I start most phone calls by saying "Are you really from BT/OFCOM/whoever?"
Me: Uh-huh.
Caller: Anyway, we can offer you an ADSL line at 20 megabytes per second, for only £19.99 per month. Would you be interested in that?
Me: Is that 20 megabytes, or 20 megabits?
Caller: 20 megabytes.
Me: Are you sure about that?
Caller: Yes.
Me: Are you absolutely sure?
Caller: Yes.
Me: Because if it's 20 megabytes then I'm interested, but if it's 20 megabits then I'm not.
Caller: Yes, it's definitely megabytes. So, can I get one of my colleagues to call you back?
Me: Yes, that's fine.
At this point, I assume he's talking out of his arse, so I mainly agreed to talk to the other person as an effective version of "let me speak to your manager".
Caller: Ok, someone will call you within 48 hours.
Me: It's now Friday afternoon, so are you saying that they'll call me on Saturday or Sunday?
Caller: Ok, I mean working hours.
Me: So, 48 working hours is 6 working days?
Caller: Ok, I mean Monday or Tuesday.
Yes, I'm just being picky at this stage, but hey, he makes such an easy target.

The upshot was that I had the follow-up call yesterday (a week later), and I went through a similar conversation, except that this guy was willing to listen to reason.
Caller: We have a 20 meg ADSL line service, at ...
Me: Ok, just backing up there slightly, is that 20 megabytes or megabits?
Caller: Megabytes.
Me: Are you sure? Because I've been working in IT for 10 years, and I've never heard of an ADSL line being measured in megabytes. So are you absolutely certain about this?
Caller: Hang on. [...] Ah, no, it's actually megabits.
Channelling Vala from SG-1 for a moment: "What a complete shock!"

Ah well, that got rid of them, and hopefully they've learned something in the process.

On a lighter note, this story did amuse me - it's one of those tech support calls that leaves you beating your head against the desk. And I liked the comment to the post, saying that it sounds like an old Abbott and Costello routine. ("Who's on first?" etc.)

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:shuripentu
Date:February 20th, 2006 05:05 pm (UTC)
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I'm wondering if there's some sort of smackdown you could lay on them for what essentially amounts to repeatedly lying to a potential customer...
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[User Picture]
From:johnckirk
Date:February 20th, 2006 09:48 pm (UTC)
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Not easily at this stage, since I didn't keep detailed records of names/companies. I did ask the second caller to put that offer in writing, which he agreed to, but then he backed down over the speed before he actually sent me the info. (For that matter, I think that the first caller was supposed to email me some info, but didn't.)
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