Cap'n Arbyte's


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Privacy and Advertising

<ring ring> "Hello." "Hi, this is Annoying Voice with AmeriLoanCashoutEquity Mortgage. We have a great new program to help homeowners in your area lower their mortgage payments. Blah blah, blahblah blah…"

Oh, yeah. You know the drill.

They've gotten less customer-friendly, lately. A little more than half of these types of calls are now placed by people who aren't even authorized to talk about interest rates. The only thing they can do is collect your information and tell you when a real loan officer can call back. When I try to explain to them that my mortgage is only at 5% and that I know interest rates are higher now, they don't care. They'll keep trying to get information.

It used to be the case — and blessedly sometimes still is — that when I said I was only paying 5% they'd say that's a really good rate and thank me for my time. Because they knew they couldn't do better.

I know I could end these calls by adding myself to the national do-not-call list. But I don't want to do that. I'm one of those maladapted souls that likes advertising. I don't want to spend my time hunting for goods and services. I'd rather sit back and be marketed to. I want to hear about how Gadget X will improve my life.

But I want targeted marketing. I'd be perfectly happy if certain knowledge about me was widely known — such as the fact that my mortgage is at 5% and I don't need to lower my payments or to get cash out. If all these loan companies knew that, they wouldn't bother calling me, because they'd know it would be a waste of their time and money.

Of course, it wastes my time too. Today I told one of these loan people that I get about ten calls a week from companies who want to refinance my mortgage, and that none of them can do better than 5%, so they're just wasting my time. Especially so when the first caller isn't authorized to talk about interest rates. They're stubbornly unwilling to believe me when I tell them I know their loan officer won't be able to beat 5%.

I got rid of that one, and another one called less than thirty minutes later. Different company, same script. So here I go, throwing privacy out the window. Marketing folk, take notes.

Things to know so you'll stop wasting time:

  • My mortgage is 15yr fixed at 5%. I don't need lower payments or cash out.
  • I already have satellite television. Stop trying to sell it to me.
  • I am male. I don't need breast enhancing supplements.
  • I am young. I don't need erectile disfunction medications.
  • I am thin. I don't need diet pills.
  • I am single. Nobody in my house needs a make-up catalog or spa coupons.

Things to know so you'll be more likely to get my money:

  • I want your business to be open during hours when I'm not at work.
  • I want the functions of a satellite receiver, DVR, DVD player, radio receiver, and television receiver to be integrated into a single device that I can use like a PC.
  • I want a smarter house. For example, if I'm running the bathroom fan and the furnace comes on, the bathroom register should automatically close so I don't blow hot air directly outside.
  • I'd pay big money for a machine or robot that could fold laundry.

Is that a good start?

Tiny Island