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Published on April 26th, 2013 | by Joan Hamilton-Smith


Rant of the Month – Perfect Timing, Unfortunately!

Timing has always been one of my bugbears as I do believe in punctuality. However, the timing of cold callers is absolutely perfect!! The minute you walk through your front door, intent on a hot cuppa and feet up before the evening’s chores begin, the telephone rings and it’s a number beginning with 0845, 0843 or some totally unrecognisable string of digits. I’m fortunate that I have a ‘phone which displays the number of the caller – although I do get ‘out of area’ sometimes, so that could be another county or somewhere in the Middle East!! I check my ‘phone when I get in from work, and invariably have to delete at least five or six cold calling numbers each day, none of whom have left a message.

I would like to pass on a piece of information which may be useful to those who can ‘scan’ their calls before picking up the ‘phone….. If the number shown is a line of zeros, do not answer it. I heard on a radio programme a while ago that it’s (obviously) a scam and the moment you pick up the telephone handset, you’re charged! One person who called in to the radio programme said she had answered this string of zeros several times to find out who it was that kept calling her, and when she received her ‘phone bill, it was nearly £100 more than usual because she had been charged for someone calling her. It is, of course, up to an individual whether or not they answer their own telephone, but please be aware of this.

On occasions I have been upstairs when the ‘phone has rung, so I’ve answered it. You can always tell if it’s a cold caller as there’s a long delay before anyone speaks, so it’s winging its way from Outer Mongolia or some far-away country.
Another trick I’ve learned is, should I inadvertently pick up the ‘phone and it’s a cold caller, I start a conversation about anything I can think of at the time. The weather, state of the world’s economy, how many children have they got, how long have they been doing their job etc. That way, you’re taking up their time and obstructing them from inflicting their pointless calls on anyone else. They either hang up out of pure boredom or I say “sorry, must go. Nice to talk to you” and put the ‘phone down. It’s quite a satisfying feeling when you know you’ve disrupted their calling schedule but they’ve got absolutely nothing out of you!

If you do not recognise a number and you have a computer, visit the Who Called Me website and you can use the reverse telephone directory by entering the number and seeing who it was who bothered you. There are some great comments on there and you can leave your own (providing it’s polite and legal!)

In the time it has taken me to write this – and I can touch-type! – I have had three calls from 0843 numbers. They were duly ignored!

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