UK call centres all over India have sent requests to their phone providers to block calls from Edith Matthews, 87, from Hewish. She has been persistently ‘cold calling’ them for a chat after an initial 30 minute talk with an employee from Three UK’s call centre.
‘All I was doing was sitting there doing my job’ the employee from Calcutta explained. ‘Edith’s number came up and I called it to see if she would pay £15 a month for mobile broadband. By the time she hung up, I had found out how many children she has, what her late husband did during the war, and how the new cream for her piles was a bugger to administer.’
That phone call saw Edith start calling the centres ‘for a chinwag’. She explained that she has been getting lonely as more of her friends have passed away. ‘As the years go by I have fewer loved ones in my life to talk to, but I noticed that these people were calling me most days. I was so glad of the company I thought I would start calling them. Although I must say some of them are quite rude. When I say ‘it’s Edith from England’ they just hang up.’
Describing her phone manner, some of those being ‘harassed’ by the elderly pensioner said that no matter how many times you said you didn’t want to talk, she wouldn’t take no for an answer. Others say the amount of calls they were receiving from Edith led them to see a councillor. They found it difficult to deal with the feeling of being wanted instead of constant rejection. The situation has got so bad that the person responsible for selling her ‘cheap international phone calls’ has been forced into hiding.
Since the request to ban calls from Edith’s number, the Indian call centres have reported that she has started using ‘sales techniques’ to trick their agents into talking to her. One call centre manager told us ‘she now calls up and starts the conversation with ‘good afternoon, this is not a quick chat call’ to lull us into a false sense of security. Only yesterday she tried to make herself sound familiar, but with that English accent, we all know her real name’s not Shilpa.’