Telemarketer from Hell!

December 10, 2007 Blog 9 comments

Courtesy of Cayusa (via Flickr)

This incident which happened five months ago riled me so much that I still remember it to this day. I guess it was triggered from the recent spate of telemarketers assailing my private space. Yet again.

Ordinarily, you would think that telemarketers wouldn’t bother selling to public officers. After all, most of us are bound by certain rules and regulations to ensure proper governance. There are certain procedures to follow to ensure that public funds are well spent.

Well, I was wrong.

This most extraordinary form of harassment came from a very insistent telemarketer who called me all the way from London. Yes, you heard it right. He had a clear distinct foreign accent and was trying his utmost to convince me to take up a particular outdoor advertising package in celebration of Singapore’s 42nd birthday.

Now, there were a few problems here:

1) I heard TWO voices instead of one, with a person in the background reciting something and the telemarketer following it word for word. It sounded as if he was a robot following instructions from another person.

2) He didn’t give me a chance to speak most of the time when he recited all the gazillion benefits and reasons why I should take up an advertising package.

3) The caller appeared to be oblivious to the fact that I cannot just commit to spending tens of thousands of dollars without some internal procurement procedure. He probably thought that I owned the organisation or company, which was far from the truth.

4) When I asked for a website address for his organisation, he seemed reluctant to give it to me until towards the end. What seemed very strange was that the website had absolutely no indication of the offer which he spoke to me about.

5) The caller kept pressing me for a decision, asking me to give him a time the next day to call back and “close the deal”. I said that I will call him if we are keen but he insisted that he should call instead and that I should decide soon.

6) As the caller claimed links to various national bodies and committees handling national level events, I asked for a name and designation that I could contact to verify this. He didn’t give me any in the end, saying that it wasn’t necessary as they were the officially appointed agent.

7) Towards the end, I asked him to email me with all the particulars of the deal, including normal rack rates, special discounts and the full entitlements. I gave him my email address too. He never got back to me with a black and white.

At the end of the tele-conversation, I didn’t know if I was speaking to a scam artist or a bona fide organisation. All I do know though was that it was probably interruption marketing at its worst. Something that we should never ever do on anybody in this lifetime or the next!

By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.


  1. what crappy telemarketing.

    am almost glad that u didn’t just slam down the phone so that you could hear him and tell us this story!

    what makes him think people will authorize such spending without some form of validation by their company? and in this day and age, no proper swanky website and portfolio?? tsk tsk.

  2. friend kena once by some Macau or Hong Kong telemarketers. Apparently they said he won some money and even provided him a print out of the cheque of a few hundred thousand HK dollars.

    Of course my friend being the civil servant he is tried to verify the print out of the cheque with the bank and as we all know..turns out to be a fraud.

    Seems they needed a few hundred dollars from him as processing fee before he could could the money..nice try people..keke..

    In another incident, I once got a call from some China girl who asked me in Mandarin if I could speak Mandarin. Knowing it is one of them fraud cases again, I replied in some fake American accent that I can’t and she immediately hung up on me. Man I hate these people..uggh!!

  3. The most annoying ones for me, are the ones from one particular bank. I get calls EVERY WEEK even though i repeatedly said, NOT INTERESTED.

    And there were times I got calls from this telemarketing company, I think they can only speak mandarin. They would ask,” can you speak mandarin?” and when i said, “not too well” in my really not too good mandarin, and asked who is on the line…she slammed down my phone. — TWICE! gggrrrrrr

  4. i have experienced similar event with telemarketers in msia, from established companies mind you.

    when asked for further info to be emailed to me, they were quite reluctant to do so stating that their offer is limited to certain privilege people, offer period is almost over, this offer limited only phone calls, etc

    they kept talking but not responding to your request for further info. properly trained? i wld say that they have been trained to get prospective clients to say ‘yes’ to whatever they are going to say and not to listen to what i will say to them…..ridiculous!

  5. I know my comment is super late but I developed this new method of being an “arsehole” back to those “can you speak mandarin” callers. It works. I’ve not received a call for the past 4 months

    “Can you speak mandarin?”
    “You’re very irritating. Stop calling” (in mandarin) – and IMMEDIATELY slam the phone down.

    I know its crappy attitude but I don’t have a choice. I was bugged for 2 months non stop.

  6. Here’s one that will shock you. Some company got my number from an online chat I had months ago before I lost my steady job. I was talking about further education. I got several calls that didn’t so much say who they were but just kept leaving a tracking number, and the caller mumbled a lot. I thought it may be the postal service, so I called. They’re Education Bridge. So, I tried to be nice and say that I can’t particpate now, but maybe down the road, and as I said goodbye, the person said they’d keep calling. I asked them please not to and to remove me from the list. She answered that they can’t do that. To which I said, “Yes, you can. You have been asked not to call clearly.” The next day, I started getting calls sharply at 8 AM. The first one heard my answering machine greeting reiterating that they have been asked not to call. Then what I heard blew my mind. The caller started talking to others in the room repeating my number and that they were asked not to call. She tied my message line up for several minutes to do this and mocked me for not being interested. Then every 5 minutes, the firm called me until I had them blocked by my phone carrier and lodged serious complaints with Do Not Call and with the manager of the company itself, citing harassment. My phone message now informs them that if they use another line and call, they have broken the law twice by calling someone who asked not to be called, and that it’s harassment.

  7. In the fast moving digital and social media world, information and ideas move quickly. Perpetually connected to their mobile devices, consumers and working professionals increasingly look towards search engines, websites and social media platforms to help them buy.

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