Wednesday, July 4, 2012

This Is Your Last Chance

Every week, or even more often, I get the same phone call. It’s a robocall telling me that this is my last chance to get a more favorable rate on my credit card. You would think that a last chance would come about only once, instead of for weeks on end, but in the word of telemarketing, that is not so. It’s like particle physics, completely counterintuitive. 

I used to get a version of this call that allowed me to push the number 3 if I wanted to discontinue future calls (a strange option given that this is already supposed to be my last call), but now the only option I get is to talk to a live operator. I have toyed with the idea of connecting to the live operator and asking to be taken off their call list, but I worked as a telemarketer once, between my senior year and the start of college, so I try not to make their lives hard. 

Yes, before you ask, my number is on the Do Not Call list. It doesn’t seem to help. Twice in the past I mailed in a request to that address you send to to get your name taken off junk mail lists and I swear both times my junk mail increased. That may have been pure coincidence, but I’m not going to risk it again, or the telemarket equivalent.

Today I got a variation of the "this is your last chance" credit card offer. To take advantage of it, I would have to have at least $3,000 in total on credit cards and at least one card in good standing. I have zero dollars on my credit card at the moment and my husband has the tickets for an upcoming trip but that’s it. I’m really not their target market.

What worries me is that there must be people out there who respond to these calls, otherwise the companies that use them wouldn’t be doing it. The scare tactics (this is your last chance), misleading wording (making it seem like there is a problem with a card you already have rather than an attempt to sell you a new one) and sheer relentlessness work on somebody, and probably the somebody who can least afford to fall for these tricks.

Some people have no shame.

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