For the last two weeks, my mobile phone has been getting calls from a blocked number 5 or more times per day, at times of day ranging from 8 AM to 11 PM. Often I’d answer the call and there would be silence on the line and then it would click off. Sometimes I would hear the tail end of a pre-recorded message and on some occasions the entire message. Two or three sentences in Cantonese, including a phone number, and then it would click off. This has been an annoyance, to put it mildly. I couldn’t get the whole number because the voice is talking very fast and usually the call would come when I wasn’t near a pen or a piece of paper. So after awhile, any time a call came up as “blocked,” I’d simply reject the call. Except that lately I am expecting calls from people and companies that block their number. So I had to start taking the calls again, just in case.
This morning, a call from a blocked number and an actual person on the line, asking for a Mr. Leung. “Wrong number,” I told him. And he hung up. This afternoon, I was able to get the entire phone number when “blocked” called again. So I called them back. The call went something like this.
Me: What company is this?
Them #1: Who are you?
Me: I’m not telling you who I am until you tell me the name of your company.
Them #1: Um, there are many companies here, who are you?
repeat several times and then finally:
Them #1: Hold on.
Them #2: Who are you?
Me: Who are you? What company is this and why are you calling me 5 times a day for 2 weeks?
Them #2: Sorry, your number is XXXX-XXXX? We already know that Mr. Leung is not at this number and we will not call you any more.
Me: You just did! I’m still getting calls. I got a call from you just 5 minutes ago.
Them #2: That was a mistake.
Me: If I get one more call from your company, I’m filing a complaint with the OFTA. [The OFTA was the first government agency that came to mind, although I realize that the OFTA only handles complaints regarding telecommunications companies – mobile operators and such – and not collection agencies abusing the phone system.]
Them #2: Sorry. [click]
End of call.
Guess what? Tonight at 10:45 PM, another automated call from them.
Clearly this is some kind of collection agency and this Mr. Leung owes them money. But I have had this phone number for more than 3 years.
But apparently they think they have the license to keep calling me multiple times a day without confirming who I am. Two weeks of automated phone calls before a human thought to dial the number and check. And how long for them to update their computer systems to remove me from the system?
So who do I complain to? The police? Or is there some other government agency that would handle this? I suppose it’s the police. I’ll be calling them in the morning.
In the meantime, for those of you desperate for entertainment, feel free to call the number above and order a pizza or offer them a discount on yoga classes or anything else that comes to mind.