Buy Buy

Hello, am I talking to Mr. Mithal?

Yes, you are. Who is this?

Good morning sir. I am calling from Country Bank. The Medical Insurance Policy issued by Regional Insurance Company of India (RICI), that you have purchased through your Country Bank Credit Card, is coming up for renewal next month.

Yes, I am aware. I did receive the renewal notice.

Sir, the policy will be automatically renewed on its due date. Please ensure you have sufficient credit available on your Card so that the premium debit can go through.

Sure. I will.

Sir, as I can see on your account, you and your wife are covered to the maximum limit allowed. However, your children are only covered for half the maximum permissible limit.

Yes, I am aware.

Sir, in today’s world, where emergencies can arise any minute, and where medical costs are rising, we would like our customers to be secure.

Thank you. I am touched by your concern for my security.

Sir, we at Country Bank would like to suggest that you increase the coverage for your children as well to the maximum permissible limit.

Thank you. As the recommendation arises out of your concern for my well-being, should I assume that there is no increase in premium for the suggested increase in coverage?

Sorry sir. It is not like that. There will be a nominal premium increase for the increased cover. Shall I go ahead and tell you the revised premium for the enhanced cover?

No, thank you. There is no need at this point.

Fine sir. I understand you don’t wish to know the revised premium. Shall I then go ahead and process the enhanced cover?

No. I don’t need it.

Sir, we understand you are a busy person and do not wish to get involved in procedures and administration. We have made it very easy for our valued customers like yourself. As a Country Bank representative, I am authorised to take your instructions on this phone line. This call is recorded and will be available for future reference in case of need. Shall I go ahead and process the enhanced cover for your children?

No. I think I have already told you.

Sir, at Country Bank, we respect your time and decisions. We have recently introduced a Life Insurance Policy that also provides cover for Permanent Disability. In today’s world, where emergencies can arise any minute, and where medical costs are rising, we would like our customers to be secure. Would you like me to go ahead and issue this policy for you, sir?

No, thank you. There is no need.

Sir, we have made it very easy for our valued customers like yourself to buy a new policy. As a Country Bank representative, I am authorised to take your instructions on this phone line. This call is recorded and will be available for future reference in case of need. Shall I go ahead and process the new policy?

No, thank you. No need. Actually, hold on a minute!

Yes sir! Yes sir! I am so glad to hear that sir!

That reminds me. I want to remove my older son from the Medical Policy.

Stunned silence.

But why, sir? I strongly suggest you increase the cover for your elder son.

No. Please cancel cover for my older son.

Sorry sir. For cancellation you will have to visit the bank.

But why? I thought you said you were an authorised representative of the bank and could take instructions on this phone call, which is recorded.

Sorry sir. I cannot take these instructions. We are authorised representatives only for selling to customers. For all other cases, we are a vendor.

So, how do I cancel?

For that, sir, you will have to visit the bank.

OK. Can you help me with the nearest location I can go to for this purpose?

Sure sir. I believe you are located in Gurgaon.


Sir, as I can see from the system, the only centre of the bank that handles cancellations globally is located in Alba Mons.

Nice name. Is that the name of the building? Can you tell me the full address please?

Right sir. It is located on 40.4 North latitude and 109.6 West longitude and is in the Tharsis region.

Tharsis? What on Earth are you talking about?


Stunned silence.

It is located on Mars, sir.

Stunned silence.

I hope I have been able to help you, sir.

Stunned silence.

Meanwhile, If you are interested in buying theatre tickets, or cricket gear, or a yacht, or anything at all, please do give us a call. As authorised representatives of Country Bank, we will be able to do it for you instantly, on this recorded line.

Hello, sir. Are you there sir?

Sir, as there has been no response from your side for thirty seconds, I am authorised to disconnect this call. We wish you a pleasant journey to Alba Mons. Buy buy!

23 thoughts on “Buy Buy

    • I think there will be a long queue. If I am a valued customer with no money in their bank, no loans, no usage of their Card except this one transaction which I am tied to, I am sure there will be quite a few others.

  1. That’s hilarious and I suspect close to the truth. Oh my. The rage over here on my phone of late has been non-stop calls from the social security legal department (social security handles my government ‘pension’) telling me there’s a problem they’ll help me with. That infuriates me! Preying on the worries of elders.

    Sigh. Thank goodness you and I are too smart for these shysters.

    • This call, with different names, happened yesterday. It’s relentless, innit? These pesky, preying calls. BTW, I learned a new word today, “shyster.” Thanks to your comment. Rhymes nicely with fraudster, monster, et al. There is even a book called “Bankster” by an Indian writer, as the name suggests, about a crooked banker.

  2. Ankur, you did an amazing job of handling this caller with patience and finesse. Had it been me there would have been many expletives describing the bank and its representatives on the recording.

  3. This is another great example of your satirical – I am tempted to say – Ankurian posts, which describes so well today’s aggressive marketing techniques we have to deal with quite regularly. It is my experience also that it is very easy to add products to existing services, but next to impossible to cancel any existing services. I could write an entire post on how difficult it was to cancel my satellite TV service from Bell Express View.

    • I am grateful for your comments, Peter! This is one of the nicest things anyone has said about my writing, calling it ‘Ankurian.’ My one consolation is that better regulated markets like Canada and the US are struggling to cope with this menace of unwanted calls. Satellite TV, is it? You just touched a raw nerve. Thanks to a new TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) regulation earlier this year, ostensibly to protect consumers, my annual subscription that would normally have expired in December, will now expire next week, almost a month earlier. So much for consumer protection, either from big business or from big regulators.

  4. Lol working for a bank currently. Can totally relate to it . The only silver lining is that you didn’t get featured in the ‘lucky customer’ database for offloading bank products. Always cute to see customers getting excited for occupying a small cell in a list which runs in thousands of rows 🙂

  5. I got a call like that the other day. He asked, “May I take some of you time to explain?” I said that was all right with me but I was a bit deaf so he would have to talk loudly and very slowly. He started. I put the phone down and I went outside to cut a few flowers for inside. Yes. He was still going. Then I made a cup of coffee. He was still going. Then I interrupted and said “It’s too complicated. I will transfer all my business to another establishment.” Then I hung up.

  6. By the way, because silence is a sign of agreement and you’ve been silent for more than 10 seconds, the Country bank has now added all the insurance coverages it was trying to sell to you. They haven’t told you about it since they value your time and wanted you to have a good call experience.

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