Friday, April 23, 2010
My Dad, who is 92 this year, takes a while to get to the phone these days. He still beat me to it the other day. He listened to the caller, explained he 'wasn't interested' and put the phone down.
I was intrigued. Who was that, I asked.
'Somebody selling burglar alarms. Apparently break ins have risen in this area'
I 1471ed, got a Salford number, and called them back. My dad's number is part of the Telephone Preference Service database and so should not be rung by salespeople. I encountered a girl called Lucy.
'What's the name of your company?' I asked.
'Erm, I can't remember.'
I think I may have expressed disbelief at this point.
'What's your full name?' I inquired.
'I'll get the manager'
After an interval the 'manager' came on the line. I pointed out the TPS problem.
'We'll delete your number' he promised.
'What's the name of your company?' I asked
'Crime Prevention UK' he said.
'Where are you based?' I asked
'We don't disclose that' he said.
There is no mention of any firm 'Crime Prevention UK' anywhere on the web.
My Dad now gets an average of three of these kind of calls a week. He is obviously on a list of old people who could be targetted profitably by scamsters. What is the point of the TPS if it does not protect the elderly from these calls? The TPS complaint form, since I obtained one and filled it out, says it will relay the complaint - with all your personal details - to the company you're complaining about. Not reassuring.
There is a dark underbelly of business in this country populated with salespeople making a desperate living preying on the vulnerable either door to door or by phone calls from shabby call centres in low rent business parks. I caught a glimpse of it in this incident and it wasn't edifying.