Monday, August 07, 2006

Telemarketing agencies - are they bothering you?

Call 1: Hi, this is Ramya calling from ICICI Bank. Are you interested in a free credit card?
Call 2: Hello saar, naanga HDFC bank lendu koopadrom, ungalukku loan la interest irukka?
Sound familiar? Hell yeah. The two calls are a sample of the umpteen calls I have recieved over the past two years from telemarketing firms hawking 'free' credit cards, mutual funds, home loans and other junk I do not want. Most of the time, I ask these telemarketeers as to how they got my number and the answer would be "Saar, we have it in our database." I once got a call from ING Vyasa, Bombay asking me if I had an interest in mutual funds! No, I don't. If I am interested in a particular bank's services, I will call them.
What irks me the most is that the companies care two hoots about privacy. Let's say you go to shop A in a swanky mall and you buy stuff, you are asked to fill out a feedback form. If you write down your contct number you can be assured that your number will be sold to telemarketing companies that can hound you and irritate you.
This topic about the telemarketeer menace has been troubling people ever since mobile phones became popular in India and has been done to done in mos of the mainstream newspapers. So what action has been taken by the government this blatant pilfering of confidential customer information? Most of the time, calls are made to mobile phones between 9 a.m to 6 p.m.
My suggestions to stonewall these bozos:
1. Banks and other agencies that specialise on customer information must desist from selling information to outsiders(does the RBI have a rule for that for banks?)
2. Initiate a don't call me list(I assume that already exists). Such a list exists in the United States. Firms found to be violating the agreements will be sued for hefty sums by customers.
3. Stiff penalties or closure for banks and firms that violate privacy agreements(That won't happen. Indian laws are like old people without their dentures). No teeth to bite.
4. Bank applications should contain a clause that says customer info will not be sold to outsiders and this clause should be enforced(people reading this post will take me for a loony).
For the telemarketing agencies who hire people for this crappy job:
Don't call!!
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