About a year ago, I started receiving nuisance calls to my cell phone. I couldn’t understand it because, unlike my home phone number (which has long since been retired alongside the likes of VHS tapes, VCR’s, and Freddie Prinze Jr.), it’s a number I never gave out. Or so I assumed. Back in the day, I wouldn’t think twice about giving up my home phone number because, the truth was, I never answered my home phone. In the last few years of its life, it’s only practical function was to act as the high-tech equivalent of a bug-zapper or roach motel except, instead of annoying insects, it was attracting and neutralizing telemarketers. And then, something changed. I noticed it started to happen to me a couple of years ago after I signed up with Shaw as my home internet provider. Suddenly, I started receiving calls out of the blue, not from friends or family, but from Shaw representatives with fantastic deals which would allow me to bundle my pre-existing internet services with their basic cable package. It would undoubtedly have saved me a few bucks but I refused for two reasons: 1. A number of my fellow producers on Stargate had the Shaw cable package and they had nothing but bad things to say about the Shaw home service. 2. I don’t contribute to charities that come to my house soliciting donations so, by extension, I don’t sign up for offers from companies that call me up on my private cell phone number. Fed up, I in essence told Shaw to “knock it off”. And they did.
Over the past year, however, I’ve started receiving calls from mysterious third parties offering everything from travel giveaways to insurance. As a rule, I don’t answer unknown calls from any number who’s area code is more than a half hour drive from my place. Sometimes, however, I answer on reflex and end up in an, albeit brief, conversation with these mysterious third party shillers. One such call came the other day from a company offering me – ironically enough – password protection and piece of mind for my online banking. I turned them down and though nothing of it – until this afternoon when I noticed a missed call from an unfamiliar number: (855) 465-4016.
A quick internet search of the number revealed several online discussions from individuals who felt harassed by theses nuisance calls that originated from a company called Zedd Solutions. It is, apparently, a marketing agency that works for companies like Rogers Communications and, as it turns out, my bank. When I phoned up my bank’s customer service center for some clarification of the issue – and, more importantly, an answer to the question: “Why did you give these people my number?” – the person I spoke to played dumb but said he’d received a similar complaint that morning and would be happy to put me in touch with Zedd Solutions to ensure my name was removed from their call list. And so, I was put in touch with a rep from Zedd Solutions who told me he’d be happy to remove my number from their call list for the “password protection” offer they were currently calling about. I told him I wanted to have my number removed from ALL future calls and he informed me that wasn’t possible.
Annoyed, I asked him how the hell he got my number. He demurred, then claimed he wasn’t, technically, with the call center so he wasn’t privy to that sort of information. I called bullshit on that answer and pressed him. Finally, reluctantly, he confirmed that Zedd Solutions got my phone number from my bank. “Should I go ahead and remove your list from that promotion?”he asked me.
“Don’t bother,”I told him because, really, removing my number from one promotion wouldn’t stop the cold calling. No. It became readily apparently to me that there was only one way to stop the cold calling.
Tomorrow, I’m going to my local bank branch and closing my existing accounts.
Presumably, they can’t offer me deals on a service I’m no longer using.