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Another Joe Story

Another Joe Story

*Warning! Before proceeding, beware that this is a continued rant.

We have caller ID back on our land line. Perhaps because I called the company complaining about how high our bill was on a service we didn’t really need or use, but had to have bundled with our internet costs so we could even afford that. Caller ID was the little incentive we were given to placate – that and a tiny discount of $6.00 less per month on our bill –I’ll try not to spend that all in one placemaybe I should have asked for it to be retroactive. I’ll wait them out a few months and then call back. It always depends on who you get on the other end.

With caller ID activated I can now see who I’m not answering to. H, on the other hand, tends to answer all calls no matter what the display reads, thinking one may be important. I tell him they will leave a message if it’s important…and sometimes they will leave one if it’s not.

I’ve come to realize ID doesn’t live up to its original purpose. Most of the numbers lighting up our handset are from our area code and more often than not they actually show up with a name or even a business attached, trying to convince us that an old friend or business may be trying to get in touch.

I voiced my concern about this deceitfulness one day and my daughter mentioned to me that she recently had a ten-minute phone conversation about phone spoofing with someone she didn’t even know. Her call went something like this:

brriiinnnnggg……brriiinnnnggg…….

Jessie…..hello?

Caller…..Hi. I just missed a call from this number.

Jessie…..From this number? I didn’t call you. Are you sure?

Caller…..Ooohhh. They’ve got your number.

The caller went on to explain how telemarketers use this spoofing technique.

Evidently, it’s called spoofing when a caller has the ability of having a different number show up, on your caller ID, other than from the number he’s actually calling from. I’m not sure exactly how this is done and I don’t see any need to learn that talent, however, you can read about it here.

You can block those numbers till the cows come home, but there is always a new number available. Joe has a multitude of alias’s but the bottom line is – on the other end of the line, it’s always Joe. He/she peddles anything from medical equipment, to extended car warranties, to free cruises for you and yours. Right now we are being bombarded with offers of a second mortgage on our home – a home we don’t even have a first mortgage on. Running a close second is an extended warranty on a vehicle that is no longer in our possession.

Joe first showed up a couple of years ago in my most widely read story – A Telemarketer Nightmare. And then later he appeared in When Is Free, Free? If he is being paid for each and every connection he makes he is well on his way to wealthy. Evidently, he’s not ready for retirement anytime soon.

I often wonder what these people are really like who have jobs as telemarketers and do they make enough money out of being rude and obnoxious to live on? Is there not a better job for them out there somewhere instead of one that rudely interrupts people’s lives with empty promises and useless junk?

Tsk…tsk…tsk…tsk. Will Joe ever learn to take no as an answer?

~Elle

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When Is Free, Free? Another “This is Joe” Enterprise

When Is Free, Free? Another “This is Joe” Enterprise

My land line just rang. It was Joe again, a medical health care advisor. Apparently, someone in our household is suffering from hearing issues. That may or may not be the case but if and when it happens, Joe won’t be the first to know.

I’m just about fed up with telemarketers. Day and night they call, badgering me with good news of free medical care, debt consolidation, offering a special promotion that is going on for this or that, or congratulating me on winning a free trip. That 5 day free cruise I won will only cost me $199 per person – yadda…yadda…yadda. Free is not free anymore!

By the time you’ve paid all the hidden tax and fees, bought a new wardrobe for the trip, gathered up spending money, and arranged travel to and from the ship, you’ve spent a small fortune on a trip you didn’t know you wanted – and can’t remember signing up for – you may have to take out a small loan to pay for it.

The difference between my answering the phone and H answering the phone is about twenty minutes. I can usually tell when something’s not quite right. I always say no quickly and hang up. And when they ask for H, I say he isn’t available – even if he’s standing next to me. He tends to listen to the whole spiel and then ask questions before saying no and hanging up. This tends to happen, more often than not, as we are walking out the door.

Have you ever gotten one of those calls saying you have been awarded a free government grant? Really? I sincerely believe that if the government was going to give me a chunk of money I never applied for, they would not hire foreigners to advise me of how to go about receiving it. Who’s with me here? Puhlease!

Calls from medical advisors stating Medicare as the key word aggravate me to no end. Numerous times the voice on the other end – usually a foreign accent that no normal person can completely understand – informs me that they have been notified that someone (if they had been notified, surely they have my name) in the household is having knee or back pain.

Of course older people have back or knee pain. It’s called a fact of life. I haven’t admitted knee or back pain to any medical offices and haven’t authorized disclosing my medical conditions to a third party. When they mention the word Medicare and you are there or nearing that age, most of the elderly stand up and take notice. Or they stay seated depending on the amount of pain they are in at the moment. These senior citizens are drawn into the web of deceit by the spider. I’m nearing that stage, but not quite there yet, and my mental faculties are still in tact!

Getting old means not always hearing or clearly understanding the guy on the other end of the phone line. These telemarketers know exactly which words and phrases to use to draw in the elderly and prey on their lack of knowledge. Mention pain combined with Medicare to someone who doesn’t know any better and you have the formula for disaster. By the end of the conversation you could be the proud owner of a piece of medical equipment you’ve been convinced you can’t live without – one that will do you no good sitting in the corner, still packed in the box, because it’s too complicated to understand – and a chunk is missing from your bank balance no matter how much Medicare chipped in.

I have no problem understanding Joe, but there is a lack of communication between us when I say, “We are not interested. Don’t call back.” What can I say? He’s a man and has selective hearing.

As soon as H retired we started getting calls informing us not to worry. Our credit cards were not in arrears, but we were eligible for a program to pay off our debts at a greatly reduced amount. That threw up a red flag because we didn’t have but one credit card and it carried a zero balance.

The daily mail to retirees and the elderly contains offers of programs to consolidate their debts with the letter worded consistently and expertly to make it sound as a notice informing you of the fact that if don’t pay them off immediately, with funds from their offers, you will be facing ruination or possibly a lawsuit. Another disaster in the making if you don’t read and understand the fine print.

Another offer we get quite regularly is for extended coverage on our vehicles – both of which are less than three years old. The letters are worded as though our warranty has never been activated and if we call now all will be fine in the world. Actually, they are trying to sell us an extended warranty which Dave Ramsey says to never buy.

I signed up for Social Security last year because it made sense for me to draw at sixty-two. I immediately started receiving offers of supplement insurance by phone, mail, and email daily, even though it would be three years until I would be eligible.

What happened to the days when you wanted some information you went looking for it? Now it comes looking for you whether you want it or not and doesn’t take NO for an answer.

I’ve decided that there is no way to stop these calls or letters or offers in the mail. They will keep coming as long as we have a phone and an address.

“Try it for free today!” Watch out for that statement, on the phone and in print, and never give your banking or credit information to these people.

Be careful. It’s scary out there! Rant over…
~Elle

COFFEE-DRUNK OR BLIND IS NOW ON AMAZON
IN PAPERBACK AND KINDLE

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