Leave me alone!

We moved into a new office a couple of weeks ago and (eventually) got our new telephone lines installed… which will be the subject of a later blog in its own right.

Since then we’ve been inundated with calls asking us, nay, telling us to transfer to a different service provider ‘cos we’re on a retail tariff and paying 60% more than we need to.

I’ve had two calls this morning already, one from Arctic Telecom and the other from an outfit called Daisy PLC, and these are on top of the seven or eight calls I received last week.

Apparently (according to a friend of mine who works in the industry) part of the BT network has been franchised out. But these franchise operations only start earning money when potential customers agree to do some business with them… what that business is, doesn’t matter! Oh, and the agreement can be verbal, over the ‘phone and Robert’s your uncle, you’re in a contract with them…

The upshot of this is that I get a load of telephone calls telling me I’m not on the best tariff, I’m paying 60% too much for my calls and I just need to say ‘yes’ and they will take all my troubles away.

Tempting…

My friend, though, gave me some hints and tips to help with dealing with these calls. Firstly, the businesses in question should be introducing themselves not as BT but as an independent company. I may have missed it but I certainly didn’t hear that particular piece of information.

The second thing to watch out for is that these types of businesses (and I’m not suggesting that either of the companies who called today did this) have options for the length of contract to put their new customers on to… there are four boxes on their sheet – 12 months, 24 months, 60 months and ‘other’.

In the absence of a customer being specific the 60 month contract box gets ticked, with a minimum usage clause and, when the customer wants to leave the service in, say, two years time, they get whacked with a penalty.

Fortunately, I knew this before this morning’s calls and was able, in a very subtle and friendly way, to explain that I knew their game and that they should push off… which they did.

The other thing that made me laugh was this: we’ve only just got into a deal with BT for lines and calls so I asked if there would be any cancellation fees. ‘I can almost guarantee there won’t be any’ was the reply. Ho ho… sounds like a fudged answer to me! I asked for more specifics. ‘Well, if you ring BT they’ll tell you there will be a cancellation fee, so if there is, I’ll cancel the agreement with us!’

‘Goodbye.’ It was just someone who had a quota of forms to fill int oday!

I wonder, as franchisor, whether BT should consider putting in some better systems?

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