Tuesday 29 October 2013

3.2 British million people are scared of answering their phone. And this isn’t even MSN butchering the published information of the original survey publication: unsurprisingly they have barely changed the press release that the company behind the survey, Step Change, released.

The survey was of 2,017 adults. So 3.2 million of 2017 are afraid to answer the phone. That is impressive. Yeah, we all know how surveys work; it’s a sample. Bollocks. The survey was done over three days online. No way is that an accurate sample of the population, accurate enough to factor it up in that way.

And scared? “Nearly 8.8 million British adults find unsolicited marketing calls or text messages stressful or they make them anxious.” That’s what the Step Change survey says. Bizarrely MSN reports this figure as: “These calls can lead to serious stress and anxiety related problems – just over 3.2 million British adults say they have been left afraid as a result of unsolicited calls and texts.”

I am not sure I have seen a sensationalist bit of data used by a news agency but diluted like that.

I can’t really comment properly on this, without seeing the survey questions, but I would like to know what responses were available to people if 3.2 million/8.8 million (out of 2,017) described themselves as afraid of these calls. The press release from Step Change quotes a survee, Janie, “It was totally exhausting, very very stressful, my mobile was going off at work, I was getting into trouble for taking personal calls, and there was no respite at home. You’re trying to relax at the end of a working day and phone keeps going off, you’re just hounded and hounded until you give in. It was either give in or get rude. It was just awful.”

Well just get rude. If you have two options and one of them is take out a high interest loan that you don’t want or be rude to someone then I’m not getting afraid of being rude to someone. Maybe I’m just not as nice as Janie.

I’ve definitely got a bit annoyed at being cold-called. I’ve definitely said to someone, “I wish they would fuck off mithering me”. And I have answered my phone and told the caller I wasn’t interested, politely, and then hung up if they didn’t end the call at that point. That’s not being rude.

It’s enough to make you think that people who would do an online survey for a debt support company are the kind of people open to over-simplification of the tactics of companies. And just saying that means that 1.7 million British people are happy to stand up to the cold-calling debt sellers.

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