Communication skills

The cold call challenge

Karen talks about her experiences with an aggressive cold caller and Angela Rippon shows us her method for getting rid of them.

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Woman One: The thing that really annoys me is cold calling on the telephone.

Woman Two: They ring until they get an answer. It’s just annoying, very annoying.

Man One: Everybody trying to sell you something. One way or another.

Julia Somerville: Karen McKracken was thrilled when she received a call from a withheld number claiming she’d won some money.

Karen: Hello, yeah speaking. (on the phone)

Karen: They phoned up at about half past ten in the morning saying that I’d won this £10,000. It was quite exciting to be fair, I must admit.

Julia Somerville: But, to claim it they asked her for a £50 admin fee.

Karen: I said I’d have to speak to my husband about it and he said I’ll phone you back on Monday.

Julia Somerville: He did call back on the Monday morning, but when Karen declined the offer, he became aggressive, insisting they must have that admin fee, whether she wanted her prize or not.

Karen: They just kept saying that I would need a solicitor, and he went I’m going to send the police round to your door to get this money because you’re breaking the law not giving it. And it got me really scared to be honest and then when I come off the phone, I cried.

Julia Somerville: Karen didn’t fall for what the man was saying. She reported the calls to the police and to Nottinghamshire Trading Standards who issued a warning about the scam.

Karen: Well I think they’re actually picking on people that need the money. Very nasty people.

Julia Somerville: BBC Skillswise have put together some tips on how best to deal with those unwanted sales calls with an actress playing the part of a salesperson. They’ve come up with a cold call challenge to put consumers, including us, to the test.

Angela Rippon: Hello

Actress: Hello, is that Mrs Jones?

Angela Rippon: Yes

Actress: How are you today Mrs Jones? I hope you’ve been making the most of this lovely weather we’ve been having.

Angela Rippon: Ah you’re going to sell me something aren’t you?

Actress: Ah well I have got a fantastic offer to make you Mrs Jones

Angela Rippon: Ah let me stop you right there. Thank you so much, but I’m really not interested. But, thank you so much for your call.

And that’s how I’d do it. Just get rid of them.

Quick tips for tutors

A short video about Karen's experiences with an aggressive cold caller that left her feeling upset and afraid. Also features the Skillswise 'Cold Call Challenge' featured at the 'Rip Off Britain' pop-up shop. Angela Rippon shows us how she gets rid of cold callers.

May be used in class to stimulate discussion around the featured story. Alternatively could be used to introduce the following topics:

Communication skills

Speaking and listening