So we’ve had Jackson the dog for one month now, I know this because the one month Petplan pet insurance expires today and I know that because they’ve been pestering the life out of us for the past four weeks to take up a permanent dog health insurance policy with them.
So because they support The Dogs Trust and because they have spent a small fortune on advertising to stuff through our letterbox I gave them a ring on Saturday because as instructed you only get “The Special Deal” if you ring them and state your free Dogs Trust policy number.
So I did.
It wasn’t a good start, it was a foreign call centre, I know someone who lost their job in a call centre because their employer located to a place in another, much cheaper country, far, far away, his employer even offered him £5000 to go there for one month and train the people who would be taking his job from him, I still hold that up as a wonderful example of what Iris Dement sings of in “Wasteland of the Free”.
The man with the almost understandable accent was very insistent that I had done the right thing in calling him and equally insistent that he wasn’t going to hang up until I’d agreed to his proposal, which amounted to their basic “The Essential” package at a cost of £16.26 per month.
The main point of “The Essential” package is that it consists of £3000 worth of veterinary treatment per year per condition plus a few other bits and pieces that I cannot possibly ever think that I would use, the fact that the last letter they sent me said that “The Essential” package covered £4000 worth of treatment per year seemed to not have reached the foreign chap doing the talk-through presentation on the phone.
I let him waffle on barely listening to him and while he was waffling on I logged on to their own web site and clicked the “Get Quote” button, filled in all the details and for “The Essential” package got an online quote of £12.27 per month for exactly the same amount of cover.
I don’t claim to be a genius or anything but I started to smell bullshit around about this time.
“Thanks, I’ll speak to my wife about it” I told him, intending this to be my final line
“OK sir, I can wait on the line while you speak to her”, this guy was desperate
“She’s at work right now, I’ll call you back later”
“I can call you back sir, what time would you like me to call you back”
Yep, old school call centre, commission based operatives working from a script in hot-house conditions, scared to hang up on a call unless they’ve made a sale, their supervisor hanging over their shoulder ready to berate them for hanging up on a call without making a sale, not only did we lose these jobs in the UK but we condemned generations of far eastern employees to a life of call centre misery, still, at least the shareholders of the UK based companies who don’t actually employ any UK based employees are happy.
And just to round it all off I went to Alexander’s price comparison web site and got the Meerkats to do some digging around for me – exactly the same policy for exactly the same benefits for £8.01 per month.
Yes, the word “heist” springs to my mind too.