New Castle News

April 6, 2013

Josh Drespling: But the time it finally clicked, it was too late — I had made a big mistake

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — OK, I did it. I’ll admit it.

I clicked on the flashing banner on the side of the web page. You know, the one offering you great new discounted auto insurance rates or some miraculous cure to all that ails you. I know you have seen them all and have been tempted to click them just to see if you could save a few bucks or transform your life.

I went for the auto insurance one. Since I’m frugal, or as my wife would say a “cheapskate,” they drew me in with the lure of saving money. I filled in my first and last name as visions of savings danced in my head. As I was hypnotized by the flashing cheesiness of the alluring graphic, I even gave them my real address.

They never asked for vehicle makes or models or for any type of driving history. Nor did they ask for any additional identifying items such as birth date, Social Security number, or credit rating. Maybe it was the mesmerizing graphic or some other type of voodoo magic that compelled me to provide my real phone number. Big mistake!

The following Monday I received an avalanche of solicitation calls. A grand total of 28 — 17 of which were from one company. At first, I explained I was not interested and was not in need of their services. But they continued the bombardment of calls. After the first few I was getting angry, frustrated, and annoyed. The next time the phone rang I decided to have a little fun. If they were going to waste my time, I was more than willing to waste theirs.

I answered the phone with an intangible broken-English dialect, proclaiming I was from Israel and didn’t need insurance. The kid on the other end of the line stuck to his script and stumbled his way through, asking what state I lived in. I proclaimed that I lived in Israel, the Holy Land, land of our Lord. He eventually hung up.

Another time I answered by saying “Anaheim County Sheriff’s Office.” The person on the other end didn't say a word and immediately hung up.

Another time I acted like an old and senile man, asking if this was my son Josh calling (I know, it was the first name that came to mind). I kept asking why he only calls when he wants money. I also went on and on about “the war” and how these kids don’t understand what it means to be patriotic. They eventually told me to have a nice day and hung up.

On yet another call, I told the guy that my friends and I were having a contest to see how many solicitation calls we could get in one day and that he just put me in the lead. I also told him if I could get him to call me back I would get extra points in our little game. He laughed, and I asked him to call me right back. He agreed and hung up, but never called back.

They also flooded my mailbox with quotes and offers. I received no less than 20 letters from State Farm, Allstate, GEICO, Erie, and several different independent brokers. I even got two different quotes from the same State Farm agent in the mail on one day. These quotes were, of course, for two different amounts.

I'm not sure what they were basing these “quotes” on. As I said, I didn’t give them any driver’s information, Social Security numbers or vehicle information. But somehow they were able to offer me all types of numbers and figures. Funny thing is that every single quote I received from these companies that alleged to save me hundreds of dollars, were significantly higher than what I'm currently paying.

Just goes to show, you can’t believe everything you see on the Internet.