xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' The Font of Noelage: What has happened to No More Calls?

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

What has happened to No More Calls?

What has happened to No More Calls?

Today I received three unsolicited phone calls. All of these callers were foreign. All of them mispronounced my surname.

My name is Bourke. It is Irish in origin. It rhymes with work. All self-respecting Australian has heard the phrase Back O ‘Bourke. Most Australians know that Bourke Street is Melbourne’s main thoroughfare.  It was named after Sir Richard Bourke, an Irish born colonial Governor of Australia from 1831 to 1836. Bourke was an enlightened, liberal minded administrator, who worked hard to alleviate suffering, establish universal schooling and develop a form of representative self-government in NSW. He also played a major part in establishing Melbourne as a major settlement at Port Philip Bay which grew into the state of Victoria.

My Irish grandfather and his three brothers fled the Irish Potato famine in the 1850s and headed for the goldfields at Ballarat. So, we Bourkes have been up and about in Australia for over 160 years Pronouncing the name should not be difficult. There are over 100 people named Bourke in the Perth telephone book. But these unsolicited callers wanted to know if they were speaking with Mr Bowk, Mr Bok or Mr Borkay. So, putting it mildly, I was a little cheesed off getting their unwanted calls.
Having established that I was indeed Mr Bourke, Mr Bowk, Mr Bok and Mr Borkay , the first caller then told me, in halting English, that she was calling from Windows Technical Support.  I have had previous calls from “Windows Technical Support” and I had no intention of giving this lady access to my computer.

“Actually, my windows are working perfectly,” I told her. “They open and shut quite noiselessly and I only recently had them all cleaned. Thank you for your interest.” I hung up.

The second gentleman told me, “Mr Bok, you have had a recent accident in the family.” This was news to me. It was the third time this month that somebody had telephoned with this rather startling news. I told him my family were all fit and well and hung up.

Then another foreign gentleman enquired, “Mr Borkay, are you aware of the commonwealth solar panels subsidies?” “Actually,” I replied, “I live on the ground floor of a multi storey building, so solar panels are none of my concern. Thank you for your interest. Goodbye.”

However, it doesn’t matter that I gave these three callers the brush off. I know that they will be calling me back again sometime in the next few weeks.  Just as I know that I will also be called by the Heart Foundation, The Diabetes Association, The Cerebral Palsy Association, The Cancer Foundation, Breast Cancer Foundation, The Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Autism Society and the Three Strikes and You’re Out Society. OK, I made that last one up. 

Now, my wife, Lesley, and I do regularly donate money to some organisations, but we only ever do so in response to a written request. I know it may be cheaper for the charity to seek money over the phone but my answer always is, “We do support various charities but we never make any financial arrangements over the telephone. Please take my number off your list. Thank you. Goodbye.”

The callers are most polite but for some reason they do not take my number off their list.
Whatever happened to No More Calls? About ten years ago I registered my telephone number with this government organisation and it for quite some time I ceased getting unsolicited calls from all manner of people trying to sell me something. Charitable organisations were obviously exempt from the No More Calls restrictions but all other sales pitches cut out.

Then we started getting calls from overseas, asking me to buy things I did not want or telling me that my computer was carrying a deadly virus or viral trojan that was allowing thousands of hackers to gain access to my passwords and bank accounts. All I had to do to protect myself was give the unknown caller my password and bank details. No, thanks!

Fortunately, I had a Caller Identity facility on my telephone, so whenever I saw Overseas come up on the screen I did not pick up. The unwanted call would go to my answering machine and the caller would hang up.

But now these overseas calls are coming from within Australia and are only identified as Private Call. Very tricky and decidedly annoying. There is not much I can do to stop these unwanted calls if No More Calls cannot stop them.

I have thought about telling the person to hang on while saunter off to have a cup of coffee and read my newspaper. Or shouting at them, or blowing an ear-splitting whistle at the mouthpiece. However, friends have warned me that you do not really want to upset these unsolicited callers. They know your name, even if they cannot pronounce it. They know your telephone number. They know where you live. Sounds very sinister and threatening to me.

Also, if you really rile them, they could simply not hang up after you have ended the call. This would mean that you could not make any phone calls until they finally put their receiver down. Could be very frustrating.

So, I suppose I will just have to reconcile myself to getting these unsolicited Private Calls until they put No More Calls on steroids.

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