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Avoid Public Service Events – Hard Sell Unsolicited Calls

I’ve just received an unsolicited marketing call from a “Nick” (based in Birmingham, withheld number) at Public Service Events (aka and telling me details about an event they are holding on the 26th of September 2012 at The Barbican in London for “Excellence in Customer Service – Supporting Quality Public Services” and asking if we’d be interested in attending as “it’ll help benefit your company and get some of the £X million per year spending in the public sector”.

Whilst he said he ways on a deadline (“I need a decision by 3pm”), it still took 20 minutes for him to give the web site address for Public Service and then when I found the event page, I saw that they were going to charge us £895+vat each to attend (Public Sector, who according to Nick, are facing big cutbacks and are looking at finding ways to save money – “only” have to pay £395+vat each!). When I asked if we were going to have to pay the £895, he said “no, as that’s not what I’m offering”. He then went about networking, business opportunities and that it’ll be a shame to miss out on this event. 25 minutes in: “Whilst I’m not able to negotiate on the time, as I need a decision by 3pm, I can negotiate on the price. The list price is £3,000“…

Yep, £3,000! For that he was offering “delegates email address and contact details at the end [opt in only, but you can pass their details to other people to recoup the cost], flyer in the delegate bag, mention on their website [which has 30,000 public sector visitors per week] and 3 complimentary passes [which you can sell/give to other people to recoup the cost]”.

I said we didn’t have the budget and whilst we would like to attend, we couldn’t justify that price. We had a maximum budget of £500 we could spend. “But couldn’t you use a contingency or emergency money, surely you’ve put some aside?” Well, yes, for an emergency! He said he’ll be able to get it down to £2,000 (after “speaking to the events manager”) and then down to £1,500 (that’s “half price and the lowest I can go” and then to £1,000 (I feel sorry for anybody paying the full £3,000).

Note that all those prices are still above the £500 budget stated.

35 minutes in and I terminated the call.


They also operate as Public Service Review has had similar complaints about “hard sell” techniques recorded. Who Calls Me has listings for 01782630200, 01214558820, 01214563336, 01782667340, 01782633159, 01315553970 and other numbers: I think we can guess why they are now with holding their number (so you can’t search for it).

Oh – they’ve also had an ASA Complaint upheld against them.

One Comment

  1. While my call took 45 minutes, the script hasn’t changed in the last few months. Swap out the event name, and replace the 3pm deadline with a 2pm deadline and I had nearly a carbon copy phone call.

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