Fribble Feeling Sorry for Telemarketers

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By Kelly Bowers
October 24, 2000

Like everyone else, I get calls from people trying to sell me credit cards all the time. I'm never rude to them but I never accept the offers. I'm polite and consistent in my message -- no thank you, no thank you, no thank you. I usually have them off the phone of their own free will in 60 to 90 seconds.

Every now and then, I'll actually engage them in a conversation, asking for details about their offer. Recently, I was offered a credit card from a Big Mucky-Muck Financial Organization. The guy on the phone was pretty persistent. I explained that my primary goal was getting out of debt and that another credit card was hardly the way to do that.

He countered that I could transfer my balance from my current card to his card and take advantage of their low introductory rate. Being a veteran of the credit card wars, I asked him about their interest rates after the introductory period passed.

He happily explained their rates, pointing out that if I had a high balance to transfer I had an advantage. Turns out, the interest rate goes down as your balance goes up. Gee, sweet of them, don't you think? Of course, it means your interest rate goes up as your balance goes down.

I pointed that out to him. "So, the closer I get to being debt-free, the more you're going to charge me for it?"

He was silent for a moment. "You know, I never realized that until you pointed it out." He quickly gave me the "Call us at 1-800-yada-yada-yada if you change your mind..." closing and hung up.

I don't know whom I feel sorrier for -- the people who don't know this and but still accept the card, or the guy who just realized he's been talking people into paying more for getting out of debt.