Those who follow my Twitter would know that for the last week, Origin Energy have been trying to call my mobile phone daily. I say trying because I don’t pick up the phone. I refuse to. This has been a daily occurrence for 7 days now, and I’ll tweet about it every single day it continues.
People have also tweeted me back, asking me various questions. This post is for answering some of these questions and also hoping to shame Origin Energy somewhat in the process.
How do you know it’s Origin Energy calling if you don’t pick up?
After a few days of calls, I googled the phone number.
Seems I’m not the only one curious / being harassed.
So it seems like it’s just a sales call, why don’t you pick up and find out?
I have my energy account with Origin Energy! I’m happy with this account – as far as I’m concerned there’s no reason to have a dialog with them about it.
Maybe there was a problem with your bill, and they’re calling you about it?
I double checked — I paid my most recent bill, on time and to the right amount. Even if they have some kind of problem with billing, I argue its bad form to notify me by phone. Your bills come by mail, therefore all correspondance relating to billing (overdue notices, other issues) should also come via mail. Without being savvy (googling the number), how would I know that the person on the other end is really Origin Energy trying to get me to pay up and not some kind of phishing/social engineering? It happens. Credit card fraud in particular is a huge business.
So perhaps they’re trying to sell you other services they offer, or affiliate services?
If this is the case then it’s highly disruptive. I use my phone for work purposes, too. Therefore I leave it on while working. I leave it on in case someone I know goes under a bus or has a stroke. When it goes off it better be for a decent reason, not “would you like to purchase a plasma TV off our affiliate company?”.
I know I wouldn’t have ticked some kind of box when signing up to Origin saying “please call my mobile phone with further offers” and if its embedded in some lengthy terms and conditions I signed, then I object to its unethical manner. Just because Apple’s 20-page iTunes terms and conditions might slip in “we have the right to behead you if we feel like it without repercussions” doesn’t make it right, or legal – or not ethically abhorrent.
Bloody hell, Steve: just pick it up once and it’ll go away!
I’m no tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist. However, I find it easy to conceive of a world where if we don’t stop this now then every company you engage with will give you a phone call from time to time that you must pick up and say “no thanks” to get rid of them. Sure, for this particular case with Origin Energy it’s a one time annoyance. HOWEVER:
Imagine your preferred supermarket (via your loyalty card), phone provider, internet provider, travel agent you used that one time, gym, the company you bought your TV off, airline you regularly use, clothes store, magazine subscription, car manufacturer you bought your new car off, sport club you’re a member of — ALL feeling like it’s okay if they call you on your mobile to find out how you’re enjoying their product OR trying to up-sell you on further products and services because consumers originally felt it was okay just to kindly and briefly interrupt their day to say “no thanks”.
Telemarketing on your land line is one thing. It’s also well-loathed and objected to. On your mobile is 10 times worse and just because you engage(d) with a company shouldn’t give them license to call you every day until you say “no thanks”. The day I get 6 of these kinds of calls a day is the day I disable my phone number and instead use my smart phone for voip (ie skype) and messages over ip (eg. iMessage / whats app).
It’s not the caller’s fault. They’re just doing their job! You’re wasting their time.
It isn’t the caller’s fault. I’m not blaming them at all. They have a call list and a robot dialler that cycles them to the next call on their list, daily. In fact, I’m not saying Origin Energy is solely to blame here either. I’ve been told of Telstra and other companies in Australia doing the same thing. But the one that happened to me was Origin, and I’m going to make sure people know about it — including them and others like them. They’re setting an annoying precedent – and complacence on behalf of the consumer is giving marketers the inch that allows them to take a mile with your daily peace of mind when out and about.