STRAIGHT TALK: Hard sell showing no sign of abating in these hard times

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WITH the recession biting deep as it is at the moment, many of us have had to take a good look at our outgoings and cut our cloth accordingly.

But have you actually tried lately to stop something that you have been paying for? In my experience it’s far from easy.

For many years I have paid for Sky TV as the kids love the cartoons, I enjoy the football and my Brazilian partner likes to keep up with the news from her native country.

But the fact is, we don’t watch it enough to warrant the expense. I end up watching most of my footy on highlights shows, there’s plenty of freeview kids’ channels and Josi can catch up with her news online – so we decided to save ourselves £40 a month.

Once I’d negotiated all the various numbers the automated voice on the telephone instructed me to dial, I finally got through to a cheery Scottish fellow, who asked how he could help.

When I told him I wanted to cancel all my channels he seemed gobsmacked. What would I do for viewing pleasure? What other entertainment mediums were open to me?

He then asked me whether I had children and I stupidly confirmed.

“What! Do you know this contract will be cancelled on December 24? What are your little ones going to watch on Christmas Day? It’s one of the biggest TV days of the year for kids.”

I couldn’t end the call there and then as I wanted, as I had to make sure the direct debit was cancelled. So I humoured him for a while longer before the deal was finally done.

I’ve since found, when relaying my story, that the same type of aggressive hard sell is happening to everyone.

A friend phoned his mobile phone provider recently to see if he had qualified for an upgrade.

Straight away the man on the end of the phone bombarded him with prices and specifications as he sought to make a sale there and then.

My friend asked for a week to think about it and asked them to call back at a specified time while he made a decision. During the next seven days they called him no less than 30 times.

My girlfriend was also targeted recently when she paid some money into her bank.

She’d was trying to pay an overdraft fine, but no way was she going to be allowed to get away with this one transaction.

Why didn’t she pay a £15 monthly fee rather than the £20 overdraft fine? And had she thought about changing her home insurance?

She did finally escape without signing anything but, like me, was angered by the seller’s tactics.

Many are having a hard enough time lately anyway, so less of the hard sell please guys.