Telemarketing Is Dead, But I Still Won’t Answer My Phone

TelemarketingTelemarketing used to cause me to screen my phone calls, now the irresponsibility of others does.

A series of phone calls I received Tuesday reminded me why I screen my calls and have confirmed that our society is in trouble because we cater to the lowest common denominator. We have stopped treating people like individuals and have started lumping everyone into the same irresponsible bucket. I resent that.

The first call came Tuesday morning. I had gone to a clinic for treatment of a sinus infection in April and the clinic had billed my insurance. On the previous Friday I received the first bill from the clinic showing a balance of $35 due after the insurance payment. Over the weekend I paid bills and included a payment to the medical clinic. Tuesday morning I received a phone call from the medical center’s collection department telling me I had a balance due of $35, they were calling to collect, and asked “how would I like to take care of the bill today”. Keep in mind this was 2 business days after receiving the bill that was postmarked 2 days before I received it. Needless to say I was not amused and let the person calling know this. Come to find out they call to collect on 100% of their bills a few days after they are sent out! They don’t look to see that someone has always paid their bills; they assume everyone is a deadbeat.

This is the second time this has happened. The first time was from a different medical facility I swore I would never use again as a result of being harassed by their “collectors”. It was the same situation (and now I assume the same process and even collectors) only I had not yet written the check for the bill by the time they called. I told her I pay my bills twice a month and that they would get paid on the 15th when I paid my other bills. The collector insisted that I give her my credit card over the phone that day or they were going to “send it to a collection agency and damage my credit”. Are you kidding me? Needless to say she got a piece of my mind and not my credit card. I only wish I didn’t live in Alaska and had more options for medical treatment, as it appears that this has become standard practice at all the medical centers here. I consider it nothing short of harassment and will make sure to remove my phone number from my medical records. It is not my fault that so many of their patients don’t pay their bills. I am not one of them and as such deserve to be treated like the responsible person that I am. I will no longer answer the phone when they call.

The second call came later in the day. It was from my eye doctor’s office reminding me of my appointment the next day. I didn’t answer because I was making supper, but their automated message was left on my answering machine. It was very long and detailed and reminded me to do everything but put on my shoes prior to the appointment. Even at 5 years old I would have found it condescending. Of course the fact that they gave me a reminder call at all—or that my dentist sends me multiple texts—irritates me. I am a responsible person who maintains a calendar and keeps or, if necessary, changes appointments. The world assumes I am not. They assume I am incapable of running my life. I can only assume many others have demonstrated to the world that they cannot. If this is true, what hope do we have for these individuals’ ability to show up for work or become independent and self-sufficient. We are doomed. I will not be taking the eye doctor’s phone calls or dentist’s texts either because it reminds me that I might be the only person who has it ‘together’ on any given day.

Both of these calls just serve to remind me how irresponsible and dependent we have become as a society. Yet, we will only make things worse if we don’t show some respect for those who are responsible. That means treating people in a manner that is consistent with their behavior and not the behavior of the most irresponsible among us.

So if you call me and I don’t answer the phone, don’t take it personally. Leave a message. If your call does not involve an intention to harass, belittle, threaten, or treat me like less of a responsible or intelligent person than I am, I’ll call you right back.

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Phone image courtesy of Stuart Miles

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3 thoughts on “Telemarketing Is Dead, But I Still Won’t Answer My Phone

  1. I suspect the market is a little underserved out here. I’ve had poor service experience at a clinic out here as well. They wanted me to pay the entirety of my bill up front instead of billing insurance. I did but resolved not to use them as a clinic again.

    Back to the underserved market comment and painting with broad strokes, my primary beef with the so-called, “ObamaCare” is that is does a lot to increase demand and nothing to increase supply. If one wanted affordable care, you’d think there’d be incentives to increase supply like tax breaks, scholarships, or debt forgiveness programs to get more doctors out there competing for your dollars. Just a thought.

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  2. I found a way around this. After 10 years with the same phone number, it was so gummed up with BS, I got a new one. And I gave it to NO ONE. I provide everyone with a Google voice number, but don’t connect that number with my new phone number.

    People can leave a message on the Google number and text me. I will get an email with the transcribed text. And if I don’t want to hear from them again, Google let’s you block numbers.

    In the rare event I want to call someone back, I call from my new phone, with the “block phone number from showing on caller ID” feature enabled. So my phone never rings and it’s absolutely blissful.

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    1. Baked-That sounds like a great idea!

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