No. That means “no”.

by , under life, o tempora

Phone: Ring ring!
Me: [my name]
Woman on phone: Hello, this is [mumble] from [previous energy provider]. Is it convenient?
Me: (thinks: No, phone spam is never convenient.) Er… Well, I know what you’re going to ask and the answer is no. We didn’t change providers for nothing.
Woman: But I’m going to make you a better offer!
Me: Sorry, I’m not interested. Anyway, you’re not supposed to call us at all because we’re in the don’t-call register.
Woman: Oh, but we’re allowed to call our customers.
Me: We aren’t your customers, and we haven’t been for a while now.
Woman: We’re still allowed to call our former customers once.
Me: Once, yes, but this isn’t the first time, you called us when we’d just left.
Woman: (in a disbelieving voice) Shall I connect you to the don’t-call register then?
Me: All right, if you like, but I assure you we’re already in it.

Whereupon she connects me to a horrible phone menu which I abandon almost immediately for the register’s website. After requesting a new password (I have to do that practically every time I want to use that site) I can see that all our phone numbers are already set to block commercial calls from all sources. I mail the register maintainers asking whether the energy company was really in error and what to do now, and get a reply at once pointing me to the right people (Consuwijzer) to send a complaint to. Kudos! (But do you really think, Ms Mumble, that you will get customers back who left of their own accord by calling them against their explicit wishes? Rather, when companies do that they go on my “never do business with again” list, and I don’t think I’m the only one with that reaction.)

Time passes. Dinner is eaten. Girls run to supermarket because I forgot to buy chocolate and we all want some. Coffee is made.

Phone: Ring ring!
Me: [my name]
Man on phone: Good evening. Is this a convenient time to call?
Me: Well, no, not really but it depends what it’s about.
Man: Am I right in supposing that you had a trial issue of Historisch Nieuwsblad 
a while ago?
Me: Goodness, that’s ages ago! (mid-2009 in fact, when I sent in a voucher from the history trivia calendar; I had to ask the girls) And this is the third time you’ve called me about it, and I know what you’re going to ask, but if you want to hear my opinion go ahead and ask.
Man: (some embarrassed noises)
Me: Anyway, we’re on the don’t-call register.
Man: That isn’t an issue, because you signed up for a trial and you should know that we’re going to call you then.
Me: Three times? I just heard from someone that it’s only once. Anyway, I asked you both of the previous times not to call me again.
Man: There’s no such rule. And you’re on our list as interested.
Me: I told you –or probably your colleague– the first time that I’m no longer interested, and I told you the second time, and I’m telling you now. This way, in future I’ll think twice before I ever request free trial issues of anything again!
Man: Well, but I’d still like your opinion. (Points for persistence and inoffensiveness.)
Me: As I already told you the first time, and the second time, I was very disappointed with the magazine. It was all teasers really, it didn’t have any depth. Also, the style was so trite and simple that I read it as underestimating your readers.
Man: (taken aback) Are you sure you won’t consider giving it a second chance?
Me: No, all the more so because I’m so annoyed about you calling me again and again. Please don’t do that any more.
Man: All right, I’ll make a note of it.

I should really investigate whether the “call old customers once” rule gets invalidated if someone has signed up for a trial issue, but I suspect that this man said “there’s no such rule” because he’d never heard of the rule. I’m curious whether he really did make a note of it, and what happens to the note. If these people call me again, for the fourth time, then I’ll complain.

    • Irina

      Somehow I don’t think US law applies to my relationship with a Dutch business in the Netherlands 🙂

      Anyway, there is a rule (perhaps not an actual law) that says that customers can break the business relationship just by saying “please don’t call me any more” and businesses have to respect that. I don’t know what the penalty is, except my usual “don’t do any business with them again, ever”.

      • Sai

        Heh. Not saying US law applies, just that it’s at least plausible that you have something parallel to our “established business relationship” based rules. 😉

        Happy telemarketer-banning!


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