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07:31 pm: Barclaycard argh
On 1st January 2009, I was awoken (well, I wasn't really asleep), by a phone call at about 0930. This rather annoyed me - who calls people that early on Monday morning?

It was an automated call from Barclaycard asking to speak to a "Manif Yasim". I am not a Barclaycard customer and I never have been.

It asked for their customer number, if that was me, and options for me, if I was someone else, to tell them that "Manif Yasim" would call back later. There was no option to speak to a live operator, and attempts to type nonsense in or strange noises at the prompt did not get me to a live operator.

I've not seen any post for that person here. This repeated an hour later, and then an hour later. The third time I was actually coherent enough to grab a pen to write down the contact number it provided for Manif Yasim to call back (0844 811 0324). Three times I phoned this, each time asking for the phone number to be removed from their database and there not to be any calls made to me again. Three times I was told this was done. Eventually, they stopped. But maybe that was just because

On Saturday, I got another phone call, from Barclaycard, asking to speak to Manif Yasim. This time I am writing the times down. I get called again at 10.09, and I call the contact number again and explain my predicament. This time I am put through to an external number, 0151 473 2528, where I talk to someone. She says she has removed the number from the system. I go to Ikea for about an hour and a half, and when I return, I get calls again at 12.02 and 12.56. I phone the Liverpool number again, and this time I am told they can't find my number on their system at all. I am further told that the system in any case should not be calling me hourly - maybe twice a day, but not that often. Maybe, they say, the day's jobs have already been generated and I am just getting backlog calls. They will stop after the overnight run has happened.

Today, I got a call from the same people at 08.36. And then I went to work. When I got back from work, I got one at 19.21. I call again, and am told my number is not in their system, and that maybe it was just because it was removed at a weekend.

I think this sort of system ought to be illegal, frankly. Any database-generated call ought to have some way of breaking out to a human. But that's not the point. How on Earth can I speak to someone who is actually capable of stopping this? I'm at my wits end.

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Comments

[User Picture]
From:janieluk
Date:February 2nd, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
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Occasionally, bashing 0 a lot takes you to an operator.
[User Picture]
From:abigailb
Date:February 2nd, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC)
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I will try that the next time it happens.

I wonder what it would do if I repeatedly entered valid-formed but incorrect customer numbers.
From:thatmakesmemad
Date:February 2nd, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC)
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http://www.ofcom.org.uk/media/mofaq/telecoms/silentfaqs/
see sub section 4. Note it doesn't apply just to silent calls so give ofcom a call.
Note Barclays have prior rep for nuisance calls and ofcom (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7637419.stm) though again this is silent calls but one would hope a call from ofcom at the moment will get them moving with more enthusiasm.
[User Picture]
From:blue_mai
Date:February 2nd, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC)
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0 or # will usually break through to an operator if such a thing exists.
1st of jan was a Thursday?
you could maybe call BT and have them block the number if they can trace it. i haven't done it but i know people have.
or you could call Barclaycard on their customer helpline, pretty sure that will put you through to a real person. try 0870 1540 154, is written on the back of my card...
[User Picture]
From:abigailb
Date:February 2nd, 2009 05:46 pm (UTC)
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I have ended up talking to various real people, who tell me I will not recieve further calls, and then I do, which is the annoying thing.

I should do the BT thing. They oughtn't be allowed to run this system if they can't do so competently.
[User Picture]
From:barakta
Date:February 2nd, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
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BT charge to block numbers iirc.

OfCom need to know and CC it into the information commissioner as you repeatedly asked for your details not to be used anymore cos you are not the bloke they were trying to call. The privacy and electronic communications act may have some merit.

there's also cases where people have invoiced big orgs for every call received at $$$ per minute and instance and advised that small claims will be taken if calls are received and not paid for by big org.
[User Picture]
From:abigailb
Date:February 2nd, 2009 06:31 pm (UTC)
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So I have found out, although apparently I get a 30-day free trial of blocking, which they say is usually long enough.

I am going to call the Nuisance Calls Bureau tomorrow, which are apparently a different to the Nuisance, Malicious and Silent Calls Division, who I phoned this evening.
[User Picture]
From:annie_lyne
Date:February 2nd, 2009 06:15 pm (UTC)
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I was going to say pretend you are Manif Yasim and see what happens, but that just might make things worse.
[User Picture]
From:abigailb
Date:February 2nd, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
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Really not a good idea. And anyway, I don't have his customer number.
[User Picture]
From:hairyears
Date:February 2nd, 2009 06:44 pm (UTC)
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Go straight to BT and report it as a nuisance caller. Do not entertain any offers to have the number 'blocked' - this is a paid-for service, and without prejudice to the offending caller - unless and until the caller is reported and registered as harassing BT subscribers in breach of the law and BT's terms and conditions of service.

Get a complaint number and confirm it in writing. Make regular follow-ups by telephone to BT to confirm that the complaint is 'active' and progressing towards penalties being imposed on Barclaycard and a written confirmation that the autodialling service and caller database have been withdrawn from service.

The Information Commissioner will do nothing whatsoever about the inaccurate database being used by Barclaycard: the Data Protection Act is a paper tiger and there is no purpose to the commission's existence other than the payment of salaries to its employees.

[User Picture]
From:psych0naut
Date:February 2nd, 2009 07:39 pm (UTC)
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I second this.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 29th, 2009 10:15 am (UTC)

Info Commissioner

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I couldn't agree less. The Office of the information Commissioner has been *very* helpful, both with nuisance calls, such as this, and information privacy issues with an energy company and a telephone company. Join the Telephone Preference Service to block sales and marketing calls - it take a while but really works.
[User Picture]
From:nyecamden
Date:February 2nd, 2009 09:19 pm (UTC)
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I have no advice. Sounds really annoying, grr at them.
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From:purplekaz
Date:February 3rd, 2009 07:59 am (UTC)
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There's some good advice above regarding BT, but this is how I would do it personally:

Keep asking to speak to a manager or supervisor. Get a contact name for the highest-up person in the company you can find. Send them a letter by snail mail, marked "strictly private and confidential - addressee only" and also send it by fax if possible. Write down all the details in the letter that you've mentioned here, tell them you've reported them to BT for making nuisance calls, and remind them they are acting illegally and you have the right to take action.

I usually find that sending something in writing makes people take note of things a bit more.

[User Picture]
From:pplfichi
Date:February 5th, 2009 11:19 am (UTC)
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Ok that really is quite despicable, not to mention illegal. I hope they've stopped by now. Also, Happy New Year to Barclaycard too!

I need to chase Barclaycard too, as they appear to have an account open (and in default) that I closed and paid off a couple of years ago. Only way I found out was when checking my credit record last week. >:/
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 7th, 2010 10:18 am (UTC)

Your comment re an open account etc

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Hi there - I don't know if you're still checking this but if so, can you let me know how and if you resolved your query regarding the account that Barclaycard had left open erroneously. Exactly the same thing has happened to me and I'm furious. the onus is apparently on us to prove that we did close the account. This was 7 tears ago, and we don't keep paperwork going back that far. Many thanks, Kate (katie_button@yahoo.co.uk)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 17th, 2009 10:20 am (UTC)

reasons

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Aren't these prerecorded messages just to get you to phone the expensive contact number mentioned?
[User Picture]
From:abigailb
Date:February 17th, 2009 10:24 am (UTC)

Re: reasons

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Thinking that would be highly paranoid. It is a traceable debt collection agency owned by a bank, and I did get their actual number in the end. Liverpool is hardly expensive.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 13th, 2009 07:13 am (UTC)
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Hi, Abi
I am going through the exact same thing at the moment, with the automated system asking to speak to a "Mr Janek Adele" or something. I believe it is utterly despicable to treat people like this. Who do those big companies think they are? And why should I (Capital "I") be the one to sort things out for them? How can it be that a big company can make my life a living hell just like that? I was thinking about reporting this to all the newspapers and TV stations, but I do not know if this would bear any fruit. But I think it is worth a try. Frankly speaking I want everyone to know what a despicable and nasty company Barclaycard are and that people should consider having any business with them.

All the best for you, Abi
Michael
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