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BIG SCREECHER - Don’t get mad at telemarketers – get even!

Akim Tamiroff was an old wonderful character actor with a Russian accent, who I don’t even know is still alive, and what suddenly brings him to mind is what he once said in a movie…Don’t provoke me! Three simple, but succinct words that has remained with me as an integral part of my temperament.

I can stay relatively calm in any confrontation, but watch out if you push the wrong button. My button has now been pushed with telemarketing sales; especially the constant calls made by everybody and their mother warning me, that the extended warranty on my vehicle is expiring. Which vehicle? The one I returned when my lease was over or the new one I just leased?

Extended warranties are costly and to tell the truth I’m glad that I did when I leased my Pontiac Vibe. In this instance I’m lucky that I bought the extended warranty here’s why in this paragraph taken from a column I wrote last year. “My saga began on Friday, Dec. 28 at 10 am. I was on my way to Long Island to escort my son Carl to get his car serviced. Between exit 19 and 20, I developed car trouble, the “check engine” light was on, I heard rhythmic noises like tapping, and when I saw in the rear mirror the black smoke following my car…I deduced that I wasn’t going to make it to Massapequa. And when the car started slowing down, I knew I wasn’t going to make it anywhere. I signaled to get to the right side of the parkway, hoping that I could make it to an exit. I’m lucky I was able to get off the road itself and by the JFK underpass I hopped the curb and the car died right there and then.”

Getting back as to what prompted me to buy the extended warranty in the first place.

The lease for the Vibe plan was for 42 months, but it only had a 36 month warranty. Not wanting to leave the car unprotected, I opted to take the extended warranty for the extra year, which cost $840, an extra twenty dollars a month for four years. But in my case, it was worth it, because the engine blew and had to be replaced.

What made me sorry taking the extended lease was being put on a universal telemarketing list that identified me as a potential customer. So I started getting pre-recorded solicitation calls from the entire world; even after I returned the Vibe.

It was getting to be more than annoying… especially getting called 4 or 5 times a day. Hanging up on the recording only programmed it to call again and often. Dialing the number to speak to a live service representative was just as futile, despite the promises to remove my name from the list.

I was now provoked! I dialed back on the next call and decided to play along with the representative who asked “what kind of vehicle was I driving?” I responded, a 2008 Subaru. She checked into the computer and seeing it was recent said, “I’m sorry your car doesn’t qualify for an extended warranty.”

“So why the f%&k did you call me in the first place, you stupid ass?” I asked as I slammed down the phone. To tell the truth it felt good cursing them out. But it feels even better, when you go along with them, ask questions taking their time, asking more questions, having them repeat the terms and then tell them you don’t have the car. If that doesn’t get your name off the list, nothing will. And my phones are registered on the DO NOT CALL list…but they still keep calling. However, although abusive language doesn’t work, it does feel really good, because you are taking their time and time is of the essence. Just think the more you delay them, the less time they have to call you and your neighbors again and again. As Meade Esposito used to say, don’t get mad, get even!

Screech at you next week!

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