“I’m calling to offer you an upgrade…”

Recently, I’ve been plagued my 2 or 3 phone calls to my mobile each day, each claiming to be acting on behalf of O2 to offer me an upgrade to my contract. Apparently, once you reach the end of your contract, O2 declare open season for all manner of third-party companies to contact you offering contract renewals and new phones. I’m not currently in the market for a new phone, being more than happy with my Galaxy Nexus, so with the first couple I was more interested in a reduction of my monthly tariff. This led to the following conversation with one particular operator (slightly paraphrased)

Operator: “How much are you paying at the moment, and how many minutes/texts do you use?”
Me: “Surely you should already know that, if you’re phoning on behalf of O2”
Operator: “We don’t know that because of data protection”
Me: “[Stunned silence]… I’m paying around £20 a month, but only need 100 minutes and 300 texts. I’m more interested in increasing my data limit from 500MB to 1GB”
Operator: “Okay, well for £27 a month I can give you 500MB of data, unlimited texts and minutes”
Me: “That’s more than I’m paying now.”
Operator: “Yeah…”
Me: “I’ve just declined your offer of a £180 phone for free, so why don’t you try taking £10 a month off my contract for the next 18 months? Sound fair?”
Operator: “Well, for £25 a month…”
Me: “You’re not listening”
Operator: “I can see you’re just trying to waste my time… [hangs up]”

Now, I really don’t appreciate someone cold-calling me to sell me something, then being rude and hanging up once they can tell I’m not willing to give them any more of my money. I really didn’t know what to say when I’m told that my phone number being passed around was fine, but woe betide whoever passes details of my contract as well, because of “data protection”. I’d argue that my phone number is more sensitive than how many minutes/texts I get per month. The accusation of me wasting their time is just laughable as well.

Obviously, I was pissed at O2 for giving my details out to these clowns, so I took to the twittersphere to try and find out what was going on.

From some of the replies I got, it seems O2 aren’t the only operator doing this, Orange have been accused of passing on renewal customer details to third parties as well.

Subsequently, O2 have contacted me directly asking for details of who called and when, and so far have only come back with the answer that “these people are not O2”, and suggested using the Telephone Preference Service to block the calls. That’s not really going to work when O2 are passing on my details. I’m still waiting for a decent answer from O2, I can feel a strongly worded letter heading towards their customer complaints department (again) enquiring as to why they would sell on a long-term customers details to moronic third parties.