Why NAV.com belongs in the clueless telemarketers hall of fame

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So I got a call last week from an unfamiliar number. I answer these because sometimes they are leads from my site. But then . . . well, we’ve all developed the instinct — my spidey-sense started tingling immediately.

Ring.

Josh: [Waits a few seconds, then] Hello.

Caller: [Three second pause, click]. Hello. Is this Mr. Josh Bern, Bernoff from wuh, woh, woobs?

Josh: What do you want?

Caller: My name is Angel. I’m calling because someone has requested information on your company and you can register it with credit bureaus for free. If I could . . .

Josh: No. No thank you. Goodbye.

And I foolishly thought that would be the end of it. But over the next week I got five calls from the same area code (different numbers), with the same deal, and the same message. I decided it would be fun to mess with them. And while I could not swear it was the same person each time, the voice sounded very similar.

Caller: My name is Angel. I’m calling because . . .

Josh: Take me off your list, now. Goodbye.

Caller: My name is Angel, I’m calling because . . .

Josh: Ah, bonjour, comment ça va Angel? Qu’est qui ce passe? Ça fait 15 minutes depuis votre dernier appel, chérie. . .

Angel: Hello, hello. . . .

Caller: My name is Angel. I’m calling because . . .

Josh: I thought you said you would take me off the list!

Angel: I’m sorry, Mr. Bah, Bernoff. It can take 30 days to go through.

Josh: Take me off now. I’ve had it with you guys.

After a few of these, I knew they were coming so I decided to start messing with Angel in earnest.

Caller: My name is Angel, I’m calling because . . .

Josh: Angel, Angel. Please tell me more.

Caller: I’m calling because someone has requested information on your company and you can register it with credit bureaus for free. I’m from NAV.

Josh: Really! That’s awesome, how does it work?

Angel: If you’ll give me your email address I can connect you with . . .

Josh: Wait a minute. Free credit bureaus? I need to know more. Please explain it in more detail.

Angel: If you’ll just give me your email address?

Josh: I never use email. I do all my business in person with a handshake. I’m old fashioned that way. Couldn’t you just tell me about how it works?

Angel: I need your email address.

Josh: I told you I never use email. Wait a second. You said the report is free. Your company must make money somehow. What is your source of revenue?

Angel: I don’t understand . . .

Josh: How does your company make money? They must make money to pay you somehow. Where does that come from?

Angel: I don’t know.

Josh: You don’t know? You don’t know how the company makes money?

Angel: Umm, no.

Josh: Amazing. Well, look, why don’t you pass me off to someone who can answer that question? Can I talk to your supervisor?

Angel: Just a second.

[Clicks, fumbling. Another person gets on the line]

Supervisor: Hello, how can I help you.

Josh: Hi, I’m Josh Bernoff. What’s your name?

Supervisor: Maeve.

Josh: Maeve. What’s your last name?

Maeve: I can’t tell you that.

Josh: That doesn’t seem fair. You know my name but I don’t know your name. Anyway, I had a question your caller couldn’t answer. How does NAV.com make money?

Maeve: I can’t tell you that.

Josh: You can’t tell me? Or you don’t know?

Maeve: I’m not allowed to share that information.

Josh: Well I have received five calls from your company in the last week, sometimes several in one day, and I keep asking to have my name removed. But you keep calling and calling. It’s very annoying. I’m going to write a blog post about your company and its telemarketing.

Maeve: I can take you off the list.

Josh: OK, that’s what I asked for the last three calls. What makes you think that . . .

Maeve: I’m at the end of my shift, so I’m going to have to get off the phone. Thank you Mr. Bernoff.

Josh: It’s been wonderful chatting with you, Maeve.

And I thought that was the end of it . . . and resolved to leave it at that until I got a call the next day from the same area code . . .

Josh: Hello? Is this NAV?

Angel: My name is Angel, I’m calling because . . .

Josh: I thought you were going to take me off the list.

Angel: Now, Mr. Bernoff, I told you it can take 30 days to remove your name from the list. Now, let me tell you about . . . .

And if you want to know how to render me speechless, well, now you know.

6 responses to “Why NAV.com belongs in the clueless telemarketers hall of fame

  1. One of my pet peeves is door-to-door marketers who greet me by cheerily telling me “This is just a courtesy call to let you know…” I correct them that they’re actually making a sales call; a courtesy call is “a visit made because it is the polite thing to do” (Merriam-Webster).

  2. I keep a marine emergency whistle by my phone. When a live person gets on the line, I give them a loud blast to make their ears ring. Generally, that’s the last time I will hear from them . . .

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