04 Jul2005

This is going to be my worst rant of the year. I can feel it and it is definitely worth reading to the end. If you have ever been the target of assertive phone or other direct marketing, this post is for you. I hope to reach at least 10,000 potential buyers of real butts2estate with my recent experience and I hope my readers will assist. Somehow, someone has gotten hold of my otherwise very private home telephone and fax numbers and my residential address and it is now part of Ayala Land, Inc.’s and associated brokerage and marketing companies or affiliates active “Sales Prospects” lists. They have bothered me at home after office hours, were unable to explain how they obtained the confidential information, they refused to remove my name and contact details from their sales lists after they were nicely requested to do so, and yesterday, they repeatedly left empty messages and tried again to fax me material regarding yet another Ayala real estate project in the works. I quickly found out how appropriate the Filipino term “pikon” can be when applied to salespeople given a dose of their own aggressive tactics, a little amusement in an otherwise serious, intrusive and offensive chain of events.

Over a week ago, a man representing himself to be from Ayala Land, called me at home on an unlisted number during a dinner party and said that he was calling on behalf of his “senior management” to extend a special invitation to attend an event at Fort Bonifacio for the new Serendra condominium project. This same man or others from his organization had also called several times in the previous days but refused to leave his name or number when asked by my staff. By chance, that evening, I actually answered the telephone myself. I would normally hang up on an introduction like he made, however, it so happens that I do personally and professionally know several senior managers at Ayala Land, Inc. and several of their Board members so I figured I would politely listen to what the caller had to say. Once he confirmed that I was Mr. Marketman, he extended a polite invitation to join his “senior managers” at the Serendra building site the following day, a Sunday (I believe it was Father’s Day). I very nicely asked who had given him my home telephone number and was it normal practice for them to call after office hours and on a weekend to boot and he repeated that “senior managers” had given him my telephone number. I responded that I needed to know who these people were specifically before I would entertain his call further. When asked if any of the Board members were the source of my personal details, the salesman stuttered, when asked if it was the CEO who gave my number, he could not confirm. Still not sure if this guy was for real or not, I gave him the benefit of the doubt, politely asked that my name be removed from Ayala’s marketing or sales lists and asked that I never again be disturbed at home at night or on a weekend on a private number. I made it clear that whilst I had been polite so far, I would immediately write a letter or call Ayala Land’s real “senior management” if I should ever receive unsolicited marketing calls from Ayala salespeople again. Since I was in the middle of a dinner party, I did not bother to write down his name or contact numbers which are probably still in the caller ID machines that I have hooked up to all of our home phones. I declined the invitation to see a condominium construction site on Father’s Day.

Let’s just say I have the patience for one intrusion, not more. Strike me once and I will turn the other cheek; strike me twice and you better be prepared for a strike back. Yesterday late afternoon, my facsimile phone at home, an even more private and unlisted number, began ringing incessantly. Because it has an answering machine and fax, people who are perhaps not fluent in English are unable to comprehend crystal clear instructions to “either leave a message or immediately switch to a fax send mode” that my machine will automatically accept. For some reason, the caller was unable to figure this out and left over 3 recorded messages that were 3 minutes long of fax tones. Finally, on about the 5th or so attempt, I picked up the phone and pressed a manual override for those with obvious difficulty following basic instructions in English and a fax proceeded to come in that was YET ANOTHER solicitation from a company named VALUE ASSETSCON CORPORATION, purporting to be part of Ayala Land Inc. Broker Circle. I stopped the fax after the first two pages because the second page was coming in unreadable jibberish. I read the first page which was basically a solicitation for another new Ayala Project near Subic Bay and they are going to offer club shares, seaside lots and villas. They asked that I fax them back should I be interested and the Property Specialist, a Ms. XYZ, gives me her mobile number and office numbers (please note, she gives these voluntarily unlike the manner in which my personal contact details have been obtained).

Here is where I get really pissed. Not only do the marketers have my unlisted phone number and have called it several times, often after office hours and on weekends, but now they apparently have my unlisted facsimile number as well and have called that number several times in a row and finally faxed a solicitation or offer letter. Worse, the letter very clearly indicates that they also have my home address details as well. Let me digress I a bit. My privacy is sacred. I do not go out of my way to play the Philippine social or business scene. I do not attend parties with the purpose of being seen or photographed and I am not a candidate for that bestseller tell all bitchy book and its potential sequel by Kitty Go called When Chic Hits the Fan. I do not give out my private numbers with abandon and I do not condone any sharing of my personal contact information unless I have been previously asked and have explicitly given my consent. To guard my privacy, I have unlisted numbers, all of which have caller ID’s hooked up to them so I know when people repeatedly call. I take other measures that I will keep to myself.So here are the critical issues as I see them:

1. How did the Ayala Sales Team or related brokerage firms get hold of highly private contact details that included my full name, two unlisted telephone numbers and a home address?
2. Is it appropriate behavior to represent yourself as calling on behalf of an unspecified and unnamed set of “senior managers” when you are specifically asked by a potential client to name those managers and are unable to do so?
3. Is it appropriate to repeatedly call potential clients at their homes, not leave messages or identify yourselves, call after hours and well into the evening, leave botched messages on answering machines, and fax unwanted solicitation letters?
4. Is it appropriate behavior to continue the above behavior when you have been very politely asked to remove one’s name from the list of potential sales prospects?
5. Is it acceptable to skirt responsibility by blithely stating that “I am only doing my job” and I don’t care where the information came from and will not bother to find out for an irate prospect?

What action did I take when the fax came in? I immediately called the number which sent the fax and demanded to know how they had obtained my home facsimile number. A person on the other end said they did not know and that Ms. XYZ had already left the office. I called Ms. XYZ’s cell phone (number voluntarily given to me in her fax) and demanded to know where they had obtained my private numbers and she answered that it was given to them by the Ayala Land Sales Department. Infuriated, I demanded that they remove my name from the marketing lists and that I receive verbal and written assurance that I would not be contacted at home again. To drive home my point, I faxed at least 20 pages of dribble to their fax number in bold pentel pen saying to this effect – “how would you like to receive crap like this? Do you think I would be interested to buy property now?” When I did not receive a reply, I decided to call the sales agent back on her cell phone. I asked that a full explanation about the source of my numbers be forwarded to me immediately. She only offered a “it’s okay sir, sorry nalang sir, okay na sir” to which I said “It is NOT OKAY, you must explain and REMOVE my data from your files”. Early this morning, I again called the agent’s cell phone repeatedly before 9 am again to give them a dose of their own medicine and she finally answered after several calls. Let’s just say “PIKON” is a very apt word. If you are going to dish it out, you better be able to take it on the receiving end. I was less than polite but at least I faxed and called numbers that THEY voluntarily gave me in their own correspondence. I asked for a full explanation by noon today or I would write directly to the President and CEO of Ayala Land. By the end of business today, there was no explanation, no call from Ms. XYZ or her boss. Instead, as I prepared an email to Ayala Land’s CEO I called XYZ’s office, was connected with her boss’s secretary and asked for her boss’s email address so I could copy him on my email to Ayala Land. She huffily stated that “this would be the last call they would entertain from me”… how’s that for putting off the beings that FIRST initiated this chain of events??? I am sending an email tonight to Ayala Land’s President and CEO, and at least two members of their Board of Directors.

What am I looking for? I am asking Ayala Land to issue an apology letter for all of the intrusive, after hours, unsolicited marketing calls and faxes that I have received. And in that letter, to clearly identify the source of my private contact information that has now been compromised and spread to several sales efforts for different projects of Ayala Land. If that source happens to be one where I have clearly not given my consent, I would ask that they take great pains to permanently erase my data from all of their marketing lists and ensure that I will not be contacted again by phone, facsimile, cellphone, answering machine, etc. regarding any of the properties they have on offer. I have always viewed Ayala Land and its related companies to be one of the best managed companies in the Philippines. It is unfortunate that they appear to have started a more aggressive, intrusive and potentially negative marketing campaign to sell some of their high-end real estate projects. I am most certainly not amused.

Marketman

 

COMMENTS:

  1. james t. figueras says:

    mr. marketman, you should be commended for standing up for these shameless asses! i was also a victim of these marketeers identifying themselves as citibank market associates until i gave them a piece of my mind, and asking citibank not to give to anyone my phone numbers.

    Jun 30, 2005 | 6:44 pm

     
  2. stef says:

    ayayay. are’nt there laws in place to protect yourself from these @!#%*&s? you most likely know that here in the US telemarketers are REQUIRED BY LAW to take your name off their list and never bother you again if you request it ONCE. what bugs me about your story is the fact that your numbers ARE unlisted; they are not in the public domain so NO ONE should have access to them. how indeed did they obtain the information? (i sure hope it doesn’t turn out to be an indiscreet friend.) yikes. scary stuff indeed. i’ll be sure to pass the info along. these guys need to be taught a lesson, but more importantly people should be aware that their personal privacy is at stake here. i hope you’re able to resolve this soon.

    Jun 30, 2005 | 8:00 pm

     
  3. fed up says:

    Hi Marketman. I commiserate. Companies like Ayala, Citibank, and Megaworld end up driving potential customers away with such tactics…for every one sale they make this way, they alienate five or more potential clients. They should be strapped to a chair with earphones on and made to listen to their spiel for hours. BTW, I really enjoy your site and will continue to visit!

    Jun 30, 2005 | 8:27 pm

     
  4. Woody says:

    Add one more name to the growing list. Value Vision calls unceasingly even after I have asked them repeatedly to remove my name from their list. Other companies whose names I can’t recall have told me many times that I have won a free plane ticket to some place or other, a free week-end in a resort, etc. I don’t let it bother me anymore, I just bang the phone on them.

    Jun 30, 2005 | 9:09 pm

     
  5. wysgal says:

    If you registered for any credit cards with your private lines, there could be some list selling/buying going on. In any case, reputable companies that employ 3rd party sales agents (as these unscrupulous people who have been hounding you obviously are) are usually made to sign very strict outsourcing agreements upholding high quality service standards. Any company worth its name would usually take customer complaints of rude sales agents very seriously.

    Jun 30, 2005 | 9:44 pm

     
  6. Carlo says:

    I know how you feel. These telemarketers are relentless and just don’t know when to quit. There should be some law, like that in the U.S., that protects the privacy of consumers against telemarketers.

    Jun 30, 2005 | 10:34 pm

     
  7. BKF says:

    Telemarketers are major irritants. But having said that, MM, why stop at an email? If you know the seniors personally — and here I am assuming that you do — pick up the phone and tell them. Personal communication always works beter than cold print. Good luck!

    Jun 30, 2005 | 10:45 pm

     
  8. Marketman says:

    Thanks everyone for all those comments! If it were just a case of regular telemarketing, I would simply hang up. But in this case, the combination of 3 pieces of confidential contact information makes this more serious. Responsible companies should be held responsible for the manner in which they obtain their information and what they use it for. I am sending an email/letter so that the President/CEO and some Board members are able to see my points in print and at their leisure rather than my intruding on their precious time… I am certain a call or several calls will follow if their response is viewed to be inadequate. I have not applied for any cards lately, and as a security measure do not use all three of these pieces of information with any one company or individual except in very rare cases which means I already have a very good hunch about the source of the “leak.” Let’s see… thanks again.

    Jul 1, 2005 | 1:27 am

     
  9. bugsybee says:

    At this time, I am not aware of a specific law to stop the telemarketers from harassing you (unlike the one we have that prohibit credit card companies from calling at unreasonable hours, etc. for collecting), I think there must be something in our civil code that prohibits other people from irritating you … something along the “nuisance” line.
    I’ve had a growing number of irritating phonecalls from them also (and even if I bang my phone, they just call back the next day) but yours is an entirely different story that calls for a more concrete action. Count me in!

    Jul 1, 2005 | 2:37 am

     
  10. schatzli says:

    I hope this situation has been resolved. This reminds me when I was at the Phil independence day celebration in Athens, there were agents of real estate and asked me to sign sheets and was asked for my address and contact no. I REFUSED FLATLY!

    Can you sue them? Is there a law back home to protect your privacy?
    I salute you for standing up against these people!

    Jul 1, 2005 | 5:46 am

     
  11. rey says:

    Marketman, di ba lechon yong nasa picture? alam mo pag may tumatawag na telemarketer, sinasagot ko sila nang ilokano hang up sila kaagad.

    Jul 1, 2005 | 7:41 am

     
  12. Maricel says:

    Yeah, that’s a major bummer. Problem is some people are not aware that private numbers are sacrosanct and shouldn’t be passed on without the owners express permission. Basic etiquette it seems is not so basic anymore.

    Jul 1, 2005 | 8:34 am

     
  13. Hermie says:

    I am also fed up with this callers of Citibank, Citifinancial,
    HSBC and other credit cards providers. Also those that giving away free insurance or free hotel accomodations that given only if you claim it from their office. They are calling almost everyday, disturbing with office works. I am actually starting to hate them. I also wonder where they got my name and telephone number.

    Jul 1, 2005 | 9:28 am

     
  14. Apa Ongpin says:

    I am also a victim of Ayala’s intrusive practices. I wasn’t as hotheaded as you were during the telephone phase, as I routinely deal with all sorts of single- celled retards on a daily basis, and thus imagine myself to have a tremendous amount of tolerance. I just answered the calls and politely declined every time.

    However, I totally blew my stack when some clown (her name, if I recall correctly was Tricia Crame) sent a 100 MB file of some brochure to my e-mail address. I really hate it when people are so stupid and inconsiderate that they don’t know to compress their files for e-mail. I was out of town, so this spam ate up nearly an hour of dial-up time before I could access the rest of my mail.

    I fired off an angry riposte, including some strong language. I got a haughty reply from Crame and thankfully, haven’t heard from Ayala since.

    Que se jodan. Stupid jolog sales twats.

    Jul 1, 2005 | 11:20 am

     
  15. Mila says:

    I agree with your rant. It’s annoying and it will only get worse until we make enough noise to stop them. It took 8 months before those Value Vision calls stopped. And I’m uver-careful about giving any personal information to any of the telemarketers even if they say it’s from Citibank; they keep inviting me to upgrade my card even when I don’t wan to! More debt, who needs it?
    If there are enough people who petition against the telemarketers, it could lead to a law against the tactics you wrote about.

    Jul 1, 2005 | 11:37 am

     
  16. ENYA says:

    You go, Mr. Marketman! What they did is rude and annoying, to say the least. Email and fax Ayala Land and demand that apology they owe you. And tell them they better make sure that you don’t get any more phone calls from them or any other marketing people, because if you do — [now this is just a suggestion], you’re going to pay a whole page ad in the leading broadsheets’ business section and (re)print this whole rant you posted here.

    I hope this whole thing is settled soon.

    Jul 1, 2005 | 1:52 pm

     
  17. lee says:

    wow lotsa comments! i hope all our rants and raves pacify MarketMan so that he can continue blogging about life’s essentials… food, produce, markets, drink, food and food. How long does it take to boil a telemarketer until tender?

    Jul 1, 2005 | 3:01 pm

     
  18. Marketman says:

    Don’t worry, while I will leave this rant as the opening page, I will continue to add new posts as the SECOND entry so do not despair. Coming up shortly are posts on minatamis na kamote (on special request), butter cake with orange rind and a great find – an old and fragrant ylang ylang tree. Thank you all for your comments and support; obviously, I was not the lunatic in this case… emails have been fired off to Ayala management and let’s see what their response is and how long it takes! A link to this rant was also forwarded so I think at least a few folks at Ayala Land will be reading this post and all the comments you have made. Maraming salamat!

    Jul 1, 2005 | 3:17 pm

     
  19. suzette says:

    let’s hope that there will be now a law or something to protect our privacy from these annoying people… these social irritants deserve a good beating :P

    Jul 1, 2005 | 4:51 pm

     
  20. Ivan M says:

    Mind you, its not just people from the Ayala group of
    companies who has these intrusive marketing tactics. My
    daily dose of email contains TONS of email spams selling
    me uhhm…’manhood’ enhancers, houses in LA , OOFun (!?!)
    and what have you….Annoying!

    That’s showing them Marketnman, I hope they realise the
    futility of their actions in making that supposed sales
    pitch.

    Jul 2, 2005 | 9:12 am

     
  21. Marketman says:

    Greetings All. Some misguided soul has just left a totally descriptive four letter type phrase that was just erased. Think this post has nailed someone squarely on the head??? They tried to mask their identity but the nice thing about the internet is you can trace the writer back to his/her unique internet address… hope you didn’t use a company email address or you are linked to a company that may have been covered by this rant… you’d be in even worse doodoo. Computers can be great, don’t you think?

    Jul 2, 2005 | 1:17 pm

     
  22. Dylan Gozum says:

    The best way to get back at these people is give them a taste of their own medicine. Apparently, they haven’t heard of that phrase before!

    Jul 3, 2005 | 4:42 pm

     
  23. kyla says:

    I am also a victim of these kinds of marketing and sales strategies. Mostly from citibank and standard chartered offering credit cards. I have been very polite in declining their offers repeatedly. One person even called me two days in a row as if I didnt decline the day before.

    Most real estate companies are really hard sell and that includes the Ayala Land group.

    I haev sevaral friends who work with real estate companies. Most of them sell Ayala Land high end developments. Most of my friends work in house and they are graduates of UP, Ateneo, La Salle, UST, etc. Good schools in fact.

    From the story of Mr Marketman you can tell that the people who have been pestering him are what we call BROKERS. These people are accredited to sell the projects of Ayala Land and other developers and are not monitored closely by Ayala Land. Tehy have their own offices, their own style of selling, and apparently no ethichs at all.

    We cannot blame purely Ayala Land for the acts of these brokers. They are not monitored by the company. Of course they could have undergone some sort of training but how can the company monitor their every move? That’s the reason why they became brokers. They dont want to be monitored. It all boils down to education and breeding. And probably age, becasue most brokers are over 40 years old. Matigas na ang ulo. I have never heard any similar story from my friends. Well becasue they work in house and can be easily reprimanded.

    Mr. Marketman if you really want to get back at the person who pissed you so much, you can actually request Ayala Land to suspend her right to sell their projects. Or even worse, have their accreditation revoked.

    Jul 4, 2005 | 5:28 pm

     
  24. Marketman says:

    Kyla, thank you for those insightful comments. I gather you must be an “in-house” agent. While I fully agree that perhaps control over quality is better for “in-house” agents, Ayala as a corporation has still agreed to formally associate themselves with the “external brokers” as evidenced by the logo “Ayala Land Inc, Broker Circle” on their correspondence. Gone are the days when Ayala announces a project and hundreds beg for an opportunity to buy. In today’s competitive real estate marketplace where selling an apartment at say PHP90,000 a square meter when it costs just PHP 25,000-35,000 to build depending on location and finishing, even ALI has to turn to pushier and more offensive selling methods. I have already communicated directly with ALI’s President and CEO, several of the Board Members and the Head of Sales and they are doing everything they can to get me answers to my questions. At the very least, I am certain agreements with brokers will be more carefully reviewed and monitoring of sales practices will be stepped up. However, I should point out that up until now, ALI has NOT determined if the first person who contacted me regarding the Serendra reception is an “in-house” or an external broker. I am not sure if external brokers would have been able to bring hundreds of potential clients to the site all at once; that sounded like more of an “in-house” event but I could be wrong. If it was an “in-house” guy then calling me at home on a private number well after office hours and on a weekend would likewise call into question that person’s modus operandi and selling/phone ethics. As for the external broker and her boss, I do have their names and they have been reported to Ayala Management. As we post messages here, I am confident that ALI management is doing everything they can to get to the bottom of this issue. Most importantly, how were my confidential numbers obtained and used… and I will not stop until that is fully answered and the culprits fully sanctioned. As for your comment on good schools and ethics, I unfortunately do not agree that that is necessarily true. Considering that The President of our Republic has just publicly admitted to serious ethical lapses and she, being a graduate of The Assumption College and holding a post graduate degree from the Jesuit Georgetown University, and later having taught at the University of the Philippines, should have known better, I do NOT think there is a strong correlation…Thank you very much for your comments.

    Jul 4, 2005 | 5:48 pm

     
  25. ANNE says:

    As i read the comments, i guess there’s no law to control such issue. As mentioned by Wisgal “If you registered for any credit cards with your private lines, there could be some list selling/buying going on. In any case, reputable companies that employ 3rd party sales agents (as these unscrupulous people who have been hounding you obviously are) are usually made to sign very strict outsourcing agreements upholding high quality service standards. Any company worth its name would usually take customer complaints of rude sales agents very seriously.” There are companies really sells personal informations where in this is uncontrolable. As we all know “CALL CENTERS” are booming and this agents who calls for some promotion are being paid and has a QUOTA to reach . Thus, no matter how irrate would be the person they are calling – they’re just doing their job. But of course i didn’t say that to reason out for them. But somehow is how the business works for them. So the CEO’s doesn’t really mind at all that there are lots of complains about invading privacy . Because they don’t really care as long they are making profits out of it.

    Jul 5, 2005 | 12:49 am

     
  26. Gigi says:

    Pay your credit card bill in full and you get calls offering you ANOTHER credit card because you are “SPECIAL” and “PRIVILEGED” as Citibank and Standard Chartered put it. Miss paying it on the due date and you get a call from Citi Loans offering you UNSOLICITED financial assistance. The funny thing is I’m not even a Citibank credit card holder. Question now is, did I unknowingly slip into the rabbit hole? Is Big Brother watching?

    Telemarketers are like the customary horrible mugs you get as Christmas presents. They don’t make the world a better
    place.

    Jul 5, 2005 | 10:29 am

     
  27. Kevin N says:

    Marketman,

    After dealing with e-mail spam other unsolicited messages at work, tele-marketing spam comes in. Sheesh!

    Do we have a local Do-Not-Call list agency or whatever foundation here in Manila? (or in this lifetime?) :P

    Jul 5, 2005 | 3:28 pm

     
  28. selina says:

    sadly, i don’t think there are ways to be protected from intrusions such as these. especially if there’s a record of you floating around out there with very specific contact details. these things can be easily bought, especially in a country like this.

    that’s why i’m wary about giving out information to individuals who man credit card booths in malls, hand out real-estate related flyers, accost you while you’re shopping. you know the types. i make sure it stops there. to have them call my home and disturb me is the final straw, and i’d have to say i’d definitely be within my rights to lose my temper if they get too persistent or obtrusive. and these telemarketers fail to see that their efforts actually annoy people to the point they would never want to have anything to do with those individuals, the services or products they offer, or the company they represent.

    best way i’ve found to counter what they do? i just tell them i’m not interested and hang up. if they call again, i disconnect the phone. anyone else whom you want to reach you will find another way to get in touch, such as your mobile. these telemarketers will not ever resort to such means, because it will be more expensive for them.

    Jul 8, 2005 | 9:08 pm

     
  29. lucas says:

    Just an additional info. I have 2 friends from the U.S. who tried to jointly buy a condo from Serendra while visiting the Phils.. I think Serendra is a joint effort between Ayala Land and Community Innovations. There had been problems with their applications and Serendra salesperson took their time to respond to their problems. Needless to say the time period allowed in their contract for them to finish the application and Serendra would not refund their reservation fee.
    I heard from former condo salepeople who are buddies of mine that their main source of income if they could not make the sale is the reservation fee they got. You’ll be fighting tooth and nails to get those back even if it is Serendra’s fault. There should be similar complaints from other Serendra or Ayala Land clients for sure.
    So everybody beware !!!

    Jan 3, 2006 | 10:24 am

     
  30. Blaise says:

    This particular thread practically made me feel insignificant, for what you have guys said that telemarketers are jologs and stupid people. I myself is a telemarketer but I don’t deem myself to be possessing those distasteful adjectives which you have mentioned above..

    But I do understand where you’re coming from, you are very private people that are being harassed and pestered by these “sales” people with their products that otherwise, you really have no interest on. But I do believe that there are salespeople out there (like me ;) ) who strives to give their best in their jobs, that they don’t see their job only as a source of income, and couldn’t wait till the next pay day sort of thing, that if they really have other choices they wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing..

    I love my job, there are times that things don’t go well, it all happens to the best of us, but at the end of the day, I look at it not by how many sales call I’ve made but how I’ve dealt with people..

    And by the way, I don’t bother getting the personal info of the people I need to make my sales pitch with.. I speak with their secretaries or assistants, kahit na mahirap kausap, kung bastos kausap, I’m not pushing for it, why would I serve someone who is bastos in the first place? If they give me their personal contacts, I rarely contact them in those either, I usually still speak with their secretaries unless totally urgent..

    Aug 14, 2007 | 5:38 pm

     
 

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