Thursday, April 5, 2012

What Are They Called? Oh Yeah, The "I Want Your Credit Card Info" Calls

Or at least that is what I'm starting to call them.  Those marketing calls are getting smarter to catch your attention. I am an accounting manager that works as a tax accounting manager for a small/ medium size company that my father left after he passed away.  Therefore, when I got a call to my office from the International Women's Leadership Association (which, by the way, is an official and legal association that I have much respect for), I immediately answered with a smile. However, after the lady asked me about myself and I gave her simple information about my career and working life, she wanted my credit card number (for different services the lady said that the association would give).  When I told her I needed to think about it, and if she could leave a number I could call back (naturally, as the accounting brain in me would analyze every detail of the payment/s and service/s), she began to offer lower payments with other options, until finally SHE HUNG UP ON ME.  Hahahahahaaa!!! Usually one hangs up on marketing calls, however, in this call, the lady could not handle my questionings, or my answers for her own questions.  This is very unusual, and I would like to share the conversation with you:

My co-worker answered the call, and then transferred it to my desk.
Me (M): "Good morning."
Female Caller (C): "Good morning Laura. How are you this morning?"
M: "Fine thank you, how are you?"
C: "I am doing very well, and thank you for asking." (she sounded a bit surprised, it looks like not many people ask about how she's doing). "I'm calling from the International Women's Leadership Association. I would like to speak to you about you being featured in our association.

She then proceeded to give me a brief, but a long brief, explanation of what the association does, and what it involves.  She mainly told me that important women who where leaders in their communities were powerful, successful, and very well known. I already know a little about the real International Women's Leadership Association. But she was reading from somewhere, or at least that is what it sounded like over the phone. Now usually I just hang up on these telemarketers, however, I recently read this quote from my daily calendar from Richard Carlson, Ph.D. (in psycology), and he has a New York Best Seller book:

Having read this, I thought about putting communication in effect, and began to listen.  I had no interest in having a better, more loving relationship with this lady.

C: "Would you answer some questions please?"
M: "Sure, no problem." (I have nothing to hide -- except my credit card info).
C: "Please be aware that we may be recording this conversation. Is this alright?"
M: "Ok." (The recording part was strange, however, I still did not have anything to hide -- except, of course, for my credit card info).
C: "What is your first name?"
M: "Laura." (Didn't she just say 'good morning Laura' to me? Oh, that's right, she's recording!).
C: "What is your last name?"

I gave her my last name, and she also asked for my middle initial if any.  What was my address (I obviously used my office address, this was about business, right?)?  Phone number? Then she proceeded with a few professional questions; What is your position at the company? How long have you been at this position?  What would you say is your most successful event in life? What would be the hardest thing you ever had to overcome in your life? (by the way, cancer was that one, along with seeing my dad go through cancer; the lady gave a sorrowful 'Oh...' on the other side of the phone). What would you say made your success in your career? Who do you most admire?  Woe... many questions, many answers, and suddenly she said:

C: "Well, you have been approved to be a part of the International Women's Leadership Association, and with this you will be featured in our newsletter." (Didn't she just say that I was being featured in the association? Now I'm approved to be featured in the newsletter? Ok, she's not making much sense... I was taking notes during this conversation, this is why I am able to recreate it in writing; she also sounded like she was READING -- total telemarketer). "You will also have access to our marketing events in New York City, and you will have access to our many services in the association. Now Laura, there are different packages that we offer.  The first is a $698 one time payment package, and the second is a $289 package with a $35 a month payment.  The $698 one time payment package, might seem big at the time, but it is a one time payment only and it includes many advantages: gift certificates to your favorite restaurants, special hotel and travel discounts, all for a value of $6000, but you only pay a one time $698 payment. So if you think about it the $698 package would be the best deal to get!

She paused, and I never said anything so she continued:

C: "The second payment package..."

She kept going, and I kept thinking, 'So I have to pay to be featured and they do not tell me directly? I don't understand why they are not just straight forward.  If they are really targeting successful business leaders, why would they not understand that this is not the way to get their attention? They are not being sincere with me... and I wonder how many more people they are trying to dupe also. I'm listening, but I do not think she is listening back at me. So much for having an effective communication.'
Now, as I said before, I usually just hang up when telemarketers just start rambling about prices, etc., but this lady just let me know that this was the International Women's Leadership Association. I was not going to let her go that easily (either).

So after she finished with this first part of her scheme, she said:

C: "So Laura, tell me, which one sounds more appealing to you?"
M: "I'm not sure, these are the only options?" (I was not going to let her go without completing the conversation, with my side being totally sincere).
C: "Well if you think about it..." (and she continued to ramble on about which option would be the best -- in her opinion -- then finally said,) "So what credit card are we going to use today for this? And you do want the $698 deal, right? It's totally worth it!
M: I need to think about it before I -- (and she cut me off, of course).
C: The second package is for $289, and keep in mind that there is a $35 monthly payment. This is a more economical option with features..." (bla-bla, bla-bla, bla-blá, ms. pu-uushy kept on reading) "So what credit card do you want to use for this Laura?"
M: "I need to think about it, go home, and speak to my husband about it before making a decision." (I was surprised that I was not cut off this time).
C: "Well there is a package of $253 with $59 monthly payments, this does not include..." (wow, another package just came up? How convenient!) "So what credit card will you be using Laura?"
M:  "Is there a number I can call you back? It would be good to call you back once I talk it over with my husband, and I make a decision after thinking about it."

Then she paused, sighed very annoyingly (how rude, she was the one duping me, right?), and said:

C: "Listen Laura, this sounds like we are going around in circles, it would be so much easier to get this over with. Don't you think? So how about that credit card number."
I slowly and clearly said:
M: "Yes, I agree, we are going in circles. I don't like going around in circles. I like being straight forward so that these circles are avoided. They get you no where. You told me I am being featured in this association, and then that I was approved to be featured in the newsletter. You keep asking me for a credit card number, and I keep telling you that I have to think about it. I will ask you again for your number in order to call you back after I have made a decision before giving you a credit card number."

And finally she sighed annoyingly again, then *click!* she hung up.

I started laughing!! It was just so darn funny... very ironic the way people assume you will just give them a credit card number over the phone. Hahahahahah!
This leads me to think that someone is using the International Women's Leadership Association to get credit card information. I wonder how many other organizations have been victims of people trying to get other people's information?
I hope this does not continue to happen, however, on the other hand, this will be easily stopped by the big companies.  Very obvious that this person was not with the actual association she said she was with.  I know that an association like that will not treat people this way, keep asking for a credit card number, instead of giving people time to decide what to do. Regular companies give you a number to call back. And continue the communication for better business purposes. If I was not interested in the association, I would not have told her I needed time to make a decision, I would have simply told her I was not interested.  Anyways, there are so many, what's the word I could use, "wrong things" about the conversation that led me to think in the end that this person calling was not from the International Women's Leadership Association.
Instead of getting mad, I just had fun with it, with a good mood! :)

Feel free to leave me your thoughts and comments. I appreciate them!

Have a wonderful and positive day! You are the one that makes it positive. Go for it! :)