I recently received an unknown call, which, like you I’m sure, I answered very reluctantly. Not only did it remind me why I don’t answer withheld numbers, but I couldn’t believe what happened. I’d like to share it with you, hoping you don’t end up having the same bad experience I did – or worse!
I picked up the phone and a nice enough gentleman said “Hello there, I’m calling up from Opus to discuss your business energy contract as it’s due to end soon…” Huh!? Immediately this rang alarm bells because I don’t use Opus!
I asked the question “Thanks for calling, how do you have that information?” he replied, “It’s on our database…” Hmm, I’m confused, and intrigued.
He then quickly changed the subject back to my account…”so sir, your account is due to finish, I’ve got some prices here that will save you a lot of money, we can get this set up for you right now.” Unimpressed I decided to get to the bottom of it.
I said, “So you are Opus Energy then yes?”, he replied “I’m not Opus no, we are a company who can work with Opus and I can save you money”. I replied “OK… but you initially said you’re calling from Opus, you’re now saying you’re not Opus, that’s worrying, and the information about my supplier is incorrect, I’m not even with Opus”. He totally ignored my comments about him working for Opus and he jumped straight in with “So who is your supplier?”
At this point I said “OK,OK, enough is enough. You’ve called me at random from a third party company, you’ve masqueraded as Opus [until you were found out] and have since then tried to find information from me in order to get me to sign up with you RIGHT NOW, on these ‘rates’ you’ve found that will ‘save me money’ even though you have no idea which supplier I’m with, when my contract finishes or what rates I’m on – this is totally unethical and miss-selling.” I followed this with an explanation about how I own a company within the same industry and how shocked I was with his ‘sales tactics’ .
His reply? … “I’m the best salesperson in this company mate,I don’t care what you think”, he then hung up!
I was appalled. This should not be happening to me, and what concerns me more, especially not to you.
Please be aware
These are tactics that can be used in order to try and obtain information from people. He was assumptive and confident, which can lead people in to trust; he must work for who he says, how else would he know my information? He asked questions in order to obtain customer information he didn’t have; this will only strengthen his ‘pitch’ and will falsely build more trust between himself and the customer.
These are incredibly unethical, appalling and criminal tactics that some people use in order to obtain business. Here at Simple Energy we live by our core values – Transparent, Reliable, Professional and Understanding, unfortunately not everyone does the same.
Please be vigilant. Here are some points to consider and look out for:
-Be aware of unknown numbers – all reputable companies will call from a number you can see. On the off chance you get an unknown number calling and you’re unsure, remember that if it’s important, they will leave a voicemail.
-Be aware of questions – this can be a tactic to obtain your information.
-Make sure you’re aware of who your supplier is – in some cases this is tricky if you have many accounts with different suppliers. If you’re unsure, remember that if they are who they say they are, the person calling will have all your information in front of them – they would be able to confirm information with you such as your name, your address, how you pay, account number etc. They wouldn’t ask you for this information.
-Double check your details – if you’re unsure, tell the caller you’ll call them back, end the call and check your supply details – this can be done fairly quickly with a call to your supplier or broker. We have a direct number for our customers to call and this goes straight to their personal account manager who can access all their customer information.
-Don’t be bullied! – be aware of pushy, bullish tactics to try and get you to agree something there and then. (There’s no immediate pressure to sign at that exact moment, if you’re unsure ask them to email you some details, you can then check this over at your leisure, prices don’t rise within minutes so don’t panic you might miss out!)
-Scare tactics – some people will use ‘scare tactics’ in order to make you sign. They’ll say things like ‘your contract has finished or is finishing now’, ‘your prices have increased’, ‘your supply is due to be turned off unless…’ – anything as severe as this would be notified by post and/or email. As stated above; if they call you they should be able to confirm your account information with you, not the other way around.