Tuesday, 20 November 2012

I'm sorry your home is not suitable

I'm working from home today and was interrupted by a cold caller. He said he was from Solar Panels. I had no time for a proper windup so went straight to the ridiculous

"Hello, can I speak with the home owners?".
"Im from Solar Panels. Are you the home owner?"
"Do you own your own home?"
"That's right I'm the home owner."

I'm not sure what the source of his confusion was but he wasn't convinced.

"Do you live in a flat?"
"No" I replied, " I live in a secret underground bunker."

This didn't seem to worry him as much as the sneaky suspicion that I might not be the homeowner.

"Do you pay rent?"

"No of course I don't pay rent. Its a secret underground bunker. You don't rent decommissioned nuclear missile silos"

This seemed to satisfy him so he asked me for my address.

The Secret Underground Bunker
43 Horseshoe Lane
Enfield EN1 4PS

"Oh thank you very much sir have a nice day" "Wait! what about the solar panels?"

"I'm sorry sir, your home is not suitable"


Saturday, 22 September 2012

A Severed Head

We frequently get calls from people asking about personal injury claims. I should probably follow through one of these days to see what the scam is because it must be a scam if they are dishonest right from the start of the call.

So a few months ago I got a call from some guy with an indian accent who sounded like he was reading from a script and didn't have a good grasp of the english language. He told me that his records showed that I had had a personal injury. I very enthusiastically confirmed that I had indeed had an injury recently.

"Can you tell me the nature of your injury please sir?"

"Yes, my head was severed"

There was a long silence that I felt I had to fill. "Of course I'm much better now"  

There was another long silence. The line was completely dead and I was about to hang up when the supervisor came on the phone. This new guy sounded as though he had a much better grasp of english language and he sounded much more on the ball.

"Sir I understand you have had a personal injury"

"Yes" I over enthusiastically replied "My head was completely severed"


"Yes it was completely cut off"

"And how did this accident happen sir?"

"I was walking past a building site and someone dropped a sheet of glass, I was bending over to pick up a penny and the damn thing came down and cut my head clean off!"

"Your head was cut off?"

"Yes, completely severed.. Some passers by picked up my head until the ambulance came. Its amazing what they can do with microsurgery these days. The doctors just sewed it back on"

The supervisor was clearly impressed. "Sir. In all the time I have been doing this job I have never heard of someone having their head cut off"

"Well it surprised me me as well. It was bloody inconvenient and took me months to recover. Do you think I could claim compensation?"

"Oh yes sir you are going to get lots of money"

I'll confess that I can't recall how the call ended, but but he seemed to find the whole thing amusing and we both had a good laugh.

But while I was entertaining him and his trainee, he wasn't scamming someone else.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Can I interest you in a conservatory?

Looking back a few years I think the first time I wound up a cold caller was when I was at my wife's flat some time before we were married.

The man was very keen to tell me about the conservatories they were selling. I feined interest and asked all sorts of questions and eventually we got around to booking an appointment.

He must have been feeling pretty pleased with himself for getting a sale, but he was soon to be deflated

"So what's your address?".
"Flat18, 4th floor, Witchcoate point"

He interrupted me. "4th floor?" "Yes" I replied, "We are on the 4th floor"

"So you don't have a garden?"

"No, but we do have a balcony. You can build a conservatory on a towerblock balcony can't you?".

The line went dead

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Hello is that Mr Rodri?

I love it when I hear those words. It means that the person on the other end of the line is going to be some hapless telesales person.

I always used to struggle with these calls because I feel as though I'm being rude if I hang up. After all these people are just trying to do a job, but on the other hand they are so persistant that you end up having no choice but to be rude and end up feeling angry and guilty.

So instead of getting angry or being rude I have decided to take the piss. It entertains me, and hopefully brightens their day a little and it costs them money. If only we could all keep them on the phone for no return maybe they would stop bugging us?

Today a nice indian lady called Amy called because she was concerned that I had been mis-sold payment protection insurance.

Amy wanted to know if I had taken out a loan in the last ten years. Oh yes I replied.

"What was it for? A holiday a car?

"No I replied, "I needed the money to raise a private army to over throw the government in Equatorial Guinea . "

She started to sound a little bit incredulous at this point. "How much was the loan?"

Four million pounds I replied.

"4 Million pounds?"

"Yes private armies don't come cheap"

Amy obviously wasn't stupid, but she wasn't going to be diverted from her script either. "When did you take out this loan sir?" I told her I'd taken it out in 2003 and paid it off in 2007. "And you think you were mis-sold payment protection?"

"Yes" I replied, "Do you think I'm entitled to compensation?"

I think sir that you are having a joke with me."

"Oh no" I told her. "I'm very serious, a lot of my friends went to prison over this, the government weren't very happy about our attempted coup" .

I like to think that this reassured her, or perhaps she wanted to get back on safer ground, so she started to ask for details of this transaction. "Who did you take the loan out with?" I feigned reluctance to answer,

"Perhaps I shouldn't say this because it might get him in trouble, but it was Mark Thatcher"


" Mark Thatcher, the former prime minister's son. He was worried that we were going to get caught and he insisted that I take out payment protection insurance, I think he may have mis-sold it to me"

At this point Amy's supervisor cut into the call and started to quiz me. As I recounted my details again I could hear lots of laughter in the background. I suspect that they had put me on speakerphone.

"Sir, how can you pay off four million pounds in 4 years" "Its easy" I replied,

"I bought a load of cheap chinese AK47s and sold them off to a number of armed groups around the world.".

The idea that someone could borrow that amount of money and pay it back was what seemed to amuse him the most. I explained that it was opportunity cost, I needed the cash to raise the army but didn't have it to hand so I borrowed it knowing that I could pay it back.

"So who loaned you the money?".

"Mark Thatcher" I replied.

"Marks and Spencer?"

"No Mark Thatcher, the former prime minister's son".

"And he just lent you the money?"

"Yes he's very rich"

"Is he a good friend of yours?"

"Oh yes", we traveled through India together, drove across the Sahara, very good friends".

"But it wasn't a bank that loaned you the money?"

"No, but we call him the bank of Mark. He always lends us money. Look I'm worried that he mis-sold me PPI do you think I'm entitled to compensation?"

At this point I was told that I needed to talk to the company director. He explained that they had never had anyone that had borrowed that amount of money and that I would get lots of compensation. but I should ask Mark Thatcher to apply for me and with that the call ended.

What I loved about this call was that I had three people wasting their time on the phone to me and who knows how many listening in on the call. While that was going on they weren't on the phone to someone else.  That made my day