There I was, last knockings on a Friday, when the helpline rang. The caller display panel on the phone flagged the call up as ‘International’. I usually ignore these as they are bound to be call centres but, for some reason
There was a very polite Indian voice saying: “Hello ma’am, have you any injury claims you know, maybe you slipped over in the supermarket? We can help.”
Couldn’t resist it: “Where are you calling from?”
“Manchester,” he said.
“No, you’re not. The caller display panel on my clever phone says ‘International’. Do you realise you have rung a helpline, so how may I help you?”
“Well ma’am, we were given your number by an agency that says you may have had an accident or claims for PPI.
“I’ve had this phone line since 1995,” I said, “and it is owned by a large media company in the UK.”
“Oh, umm, okay,” he said. “I was seven years old in 1995.”
“Where are you, then? India?”
“Yes, in Delhi, the capital.”
“What’s the weather like?” I asked. “It’s very hot,” he said.
I asked him about his job I was genuinely interested and I must have been the nicest person this lad had spoken to in ages.
He said: “Well, you get a lot of abuse and sometimes people lie. We have to research their claims. Someone said the other day that he had had five accidents, but it turned out he was lying.”
I said: “Well, at least you have a job. Are you paid a daily rate, or just get paid on your successes?” and he said: “I get paid 50,000 rupees per month for making the calls and if I hit the target of 50 sales, I get another 20,000.”
Just as we were getting along famously, another voice cut in saying, “Hello. I am Peter.”
“Oh hello,” I said, and where are you calling from? The UK, he said. Then he asked who I was. When I told him, the line went dead. I guess my original caller was being monitored. I hope he didn’t get told off, or worse.
My regular contact Hitendra Patel (Costcutter, Romford, Essex) says you can live quite well on 50,000 rupees a month.
I report this because, well, we all want to know, don’t we?•