8

Last week I was contacted by a financial planner who was affiliated with the tax accountant firm I go to and they talked about reviewing my Superannuation. When offered an appointment I told them I wasn't sure I needed it but they suggested to book it anyway and when they called I can make up my mind then.

I received an email yesterday about what I will need and one of them was my tax file number, something I'm not comfortable providing over the phone. When they called today I told them that I felt I didn't need the review at this time, as I have only been working for about 4 years. However they then talked about how people who get a review on their super are better off in retirement using statistics about how a lot of people end up broke. Ultimately I told them I didn't have my tax file number, but I ended up agreeing to a rescheduled appointment.

I feel if I tell them I don't want to share my tax file number they'll probably say how they keep it secure and they will only use it securely on some Australian Government Web service but I still don't want to unless I do it face to face, which can't be done because these financial planners are in another city two hours away.

So how can I get out of a phone appointment for a service I no longer feel comfortable in having?

  • If they are actually affiliates with the tax accountant, shouldn't they already have your tax id? – Catija Jul 25 '17 at 13:01
  • This story pops up all sorts of red flags for me. Even "I talked with other people, and I changed my mind." Which, in this case, is very true. – aschultz Jul 25 '17 at 21:34
13

Dealing with the sales process of companies like this can be tricky.

The sales process often relies on the fact that many people find it difficult to say no and putting them in a frame of mind to make it even more difficult. It often relies on the 'prospect' not being willing to break social convention or politeness rules.

You have raised concerns and they have brushed them aside in order to move on with their sales process rather than dealing with the issue itself.

I hate this type of sales process (I have done a lot of sales training myself over the years). I have found the better way out of the process, rather than putting up blocks with regards to their product or service which they are trained to deal with is to take a step back and make it about the process itself(politely)

I'm sorry but I am not enjoying your sales process. It is not leaving me feeling comfortable or good about what is going on. I feel pressured and I would like it to stop. I understand you have to make sales but I am not going to buy from you.

If you wish to avoid a phone call then put this in an email and simply say you will not be answering your phone to them and consider the meeting cancelled.

You must be firm and polite. If they find out that people do not enjoy their sales process then perhaps they will change their methods.

  • 2
    Additionally threatening to take all your business away from them may get them to leave you alone. – Catija Jul 25 '17 at 13:00
8

I would think that tax file numbers are similar to American Social Security Numbers (essentially how you are tracked by the government for income, your credit score, etc). I am also leery about who & how I give that information. It is good to be leery with it.

That said, when someone is overly pushy about any service, I know it can be hard to get yourself assertive enough to say no while not feeling like you are being rude. It really is something that I think just takes practice & you practice by simply doing it. You can say something simple like,

I have decided I do not want to do this right now. If I change my mind I will contact you. Please do not contact me about this matter again.

In the states we have a rule that if you ask them to remove you from their call list, they can be fined if they call you again. So if you have something similar, make sure to ask that they remove you from the contact list. As far as I am aware, here, merely asking them not to contact you is not enough to get removed off the list. You have to actually specify you want off their call list.

5

Just give them the consideration that they deserve. Which is very little.

Just tell them that you've changed your mind about using their services, that this is "not working out" and that you would "rather not go further with them."

You don't owe them any consideration except to hear them out (the first time). You're the one who has the money and is paying the bills. They are soliciting." You're doing them the "favor," they aren't doing you any. In this position, you're the one that has the right to "stop talking" at any time for any reason. Don't let them lay a "guilt trip" on you.

5

Just be firm. That is easier to say than do, I know. Say something like:

I'm sorry, but I have to cancel my appointment. I am just not ready to take on this job.

Then, just repeat this mantra whatever they say. Do not explain, do not apologize further, do not agree to accept any materials. Do not allow yourself to be drawn into a conversation. Do not reschedule for later. Do not be receptive if they say they will call back at a time of your convenience. Just repeat:

Thank you, but I am not ready to take on this job.

And it is a job they are trying to get you to do.

Response to comment "why is it a job?" You are going to have to spend time with them, listen to them, assemble materials for them, evaluate their recommendations, and see other financial planners for comparison. (You wouldn't buy your first car from the first dealer you went to, would you.) Every service someone offers you will involve your doing some work. I'm not arguing against financial planning, but the OP wanted to get rid of this person, and that is the thrust of my answer. Don't explain any of this to them. Just stick with the mantra.

When you get tired, say:

Sorry, but my cat just threw up. I have to go now. Thanks, and goodbye.

  • The „broken record technique“ you suggest is a very effective tool, and while being assertive, it is not aggressive. – michi Jan 16 '18 at 0:34
3

It's not a good idea to give your Tax File Number over phone to someone. First think if you really need that service or not. If you don't, then tell them politely that I don't need this. Be firm but not rude while telling this.

For latter case, see if they are comfortable meeting you personally. Though they live in a different city, but still you should try to meet them personally. You can ask for it over phone, like

I need to ask a few things which can't be discussed over phone. Can we meet personally?

If they try to refuse to meet you personally, then there is something fishy. Cut the phone right after. If they do agree, check their background to confirm they are exactly what they are pretending to be.

After that, it now kinda depends on you whether to give them Tax File Number or not.

2

They are trying to sell you a service, not do you a favor. Keep that in mind. I've had this experience several times (usually with financial services of various sorts, including insurance), and I've found that the best approach is to decline without explaining your concerns. If you tell them you haven't been working long enough to need their service, they'll tell you why everybody needs it. If you tell them you're concerned about giving them your tax number, they'll tell you why that's safe. If you tell them you're concerned about their bad reviews on Yelp, they'll tell you why that's all fake. And so on.

Instead, be brief, be firm, and leave no openings:

Thank you for your offer, but I am not interested.

That's it. If they push back, repeat it and add "please do not contact me again". If they keep pushing, hang up on them.

You said that they are affiliated with your accounting firm, and another answer suggests threatening to take your business elsewhere. I agree that if they are pushy or violate "don't contact me again" you should escalate, but don't do it to the person trying to sell you the service; he probably doesn't care. Instead, raise the matter with the people you already have the relationship with -- your accountant if you have a regular one or the manager otherwise. When escalating, unless you are prepared to take your business elsewhere right now, I've found that gradual escalation works best -- you don't want to make a threat you're not prepared to act on, but maybe you don't need to make a threat at all. Here are some ways that conversation might go:

1:

You: I want to let you know about a negative experience I've had with one of your financial planners. (details)

Them: Thank you for letting us know. That is inappropriate and we will deal with it.

If it goes like that, you (probably) get a good outcome and you didn't have to put anything on the line. (Only time will tell if they actually took action. There's not much you can do about that.)

2:

You: I want to let you know... (as above)

Them: Oh you can trust them. / We offer this service to all our customers. / That's just how they are. / (anything else that excuses their behavior or downplays your concern)

You: They wouldn't take 'no' for an answer. They continued to call after I told them to stop. This is inappropriate.

Them: (anything other than "we will deal with it")

You: I am reluctant to continue doing business with a company that treats me this way.

In this scenario you start by raising the issue (as in #1), then stress that it is a problem, and only if they continue to resist do you proceed to the soft threat. If even that doesn't get their attention, then you can begin the process of moving to another accounting firm on your schedule, rather than having to do it today because you just said you're firing them. (I'm assuming that you'd need some time to research and choose someone else and that there might be better and worse times to make a move. If none of that's true and you would be ready to walk out that day, you can be more direct.)

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