Turning the tables on telemarketers

It’s been an annoying day here at the box factory. November 15th must be some sort of telemarketing celebration day. I’ve been handling three or four calls an hour from these bozos all day long. It drives me nuts.

I have little patience for spammers of any sort. Telemarketers are the worst. I have filters that can handle most of the e-mail and blog spam I receive. But there’s no way to filter the telemarketers. I have to answer each and every call, have to listen to a few seconds of the lousy accents before I’m able to determine whether the call is worth taking or not.

In general, I have one (and only one) technique for dealing with these people: I hang up on them. They’re not worth my time. Yes, I know that I ought to ask them to remove my name from their calling list. I try that with the worst offenders, but you know what? Nothing ever changes. I still get calls from Paper Printing and Converting nearly every day despite having asked to be removed from their list a dozen times.

Some people are unwilling to hang up on telemarketers because they believe it’s rude. My sister-in-law, for example, tries to be very polite. She sits through a lot of tedious sales pitches. I have other friends who simply set the phone down and walk away. This isn’t a bad idea, but it means I have to return to hang up the phone after a couple of minutes. No — for me, hanging up on the telemarketer is the most efficient course of action.

Telemarketers work off “scripts”. Especially resourceful people turn the tables on telemarketers by using counterscripts. There are a variety of counterscripts available on the internet. My favorite comes from Junkbusters:

Every time you get a call you consider junk, just ask the questions in this script. If they answer no, you may be able to sue them. Be sure to put your phone number on the National Do-Not-Call registry by visiting http://donotcall.gov or by calling 1-888-382-1222.

  1. “Are you calling to sell something?” (or “is this a telemarketing call?”)
  2. “Could you tell me your full name please?”
  3. “And a phone number, area code first?”
  4. “What’s the name of the organization you’re calling for?”
  5. “Does that organization keep a list of numbers it’s been asked not to call?”
  6. “I would like my number(s) put on that list. Can you take care of that now?”
  7. “And does the company you work for also make telemarketing calls for any other organizations?” (If they answer no, skip the next question.)
  8. (If yes) “Can you make sure your company won’t call me for any other organization?”

Visit Junkbusters for more information on this counterscript (and on other ways to “bust the junk messages out of your life”).

Just now I got a call from a telemarketer who read from a script with a lot of big words, and who sounded vaguely like he might have an actual concern with our business. I listened for 20 seconds before hanging up in disgust.

A minute later, the same telemarketer called back. “May I speak with the owner?” he asked.

“I am an owner,” I said. “And you just called. I told you I wasn’t interested.”

“Yeah, I know,” he said, “and you hung up on me.”

“I know I did,” I said, laughing. And I hung up on him again.


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100 comments

  1. Heh, yeah telemarketing is very ANNOYING!! Yet profitable and that’s why they keep doing it. Once you sit home during the day for a week, you’ll realize how many telemarketing calls there are.

    When you pick up, usually there is about 1-2 seconds of silence and then comes a voice… I cut them off there.

    I’m also a polite guy but I can stand it so I just save myself the trouble and time by ending it before it starts.

  2. I signed up for the Do Not Call Registry and that has eliminated most calls. But not all, and the few that I get immediately irritate me and send my blood pressure soaring. I’ve come to the conclusion that the healthiest, least time-consuming thing for me, is to just hang up, like J.D. mentioned. And here’s what I learned from someone who worked part-time as a telemarketer. He said they are given a list of phone numbers & names and they just sit there and go down the list. They get $5-? if a person signs up for whatever it is they are selling. He said if someone hangs up on him right from the start, he’s actually grateful because then he crosses them off his list, (realizing they wouldn’t buy anyway), and goes to the next person on the list, hoping they will. Time is money & if someone keeps them on the phone and isn’t going to buy, that’s the worst thing, so he prefers it when someone hangs up and he doesn’t consider it rude, but a favor! He’s there for 3 hours a nite and tries to get as many “sign-ups” in that time frame. Time isn’t money to me in the evening, but hey, it is my free time, so simply hanging up causes the least amount of irritation to me. It’s still bothersome though.

  3. Next time you move, or otherwise change your phone number, sign up for an unlisted/unpublished phone number. I get an average of two or three unsolicited calls a year, and they’re usually surveys or some such. When I answer the phone at my parents’ house (they have a listed number) I always tell the telemarketers, “please put me on your do not call list” as soon as I can and usually the call ends right there.

  4. I usually feel bad hanging up on them as well, but I actually had a friend who did telemarketing and he said he get hung up on all the time and he just moves on. So now I don’t really care anymore, I just hang up. Its not even worth your time, and its so annoying. If someone invents a way to filter out telemarketers, they will be rich.

  5. It used to be if you told them to remove you, they’d read a disclosure, something about it may take up to 3 months to be completely removed, etc. Now they don’t even do that anymore, but once I tell them I’m on the do not call list and if they call again I consider it harrassment, they are very eager to get off the phone with me.

  6. I think I actually find these calls more annoying at work. The thing is, JD, if memory serves, there is no DNC regulation applicable to businesses. My understanding is that they can call and keep selling you office cleaning, phone service, and office supplies till their heart’s content. I’m the one that generally gets them at my day job too.

  7. Its great to mess with them if you are just sitting on the couch watching TV and aren’t busy with something.

    When I don’t want to mess with them, I usually just say hello a couple times and when I hear it click and they say hello, then I hang up because its obvious they aren’t worth my time if a machine is dialing.

  8. I don’t feel bad hanging up on them for one reason: a girl I knew in school worked as a telemarketer for a while and said she preferred people to hang up rather than to say the whole spiel and then hear “no thanks.” Because then she had to deliver a whole other spiel to that person even though she knew their answer was still no.

  9. It’s also just fascinating to me that political calls are exempt from the DNC registry. Yes, it’s a case of Congress making sure it can do what it forbids others to do, but I’m not sure how harassing potential supporters is actually, you know, beneficial. I routinely have this conversation:

    Caller: [starts spiel]
    Me: Excuse me, we’re on the do not call list.
    Caller: Oh, political calls are exempt.
    Me: So your candidate (or cause) deliberately chooses to call people who they know will be offended? Are you sure you’re not REALLY hired by [opposing candidate] to make us hate [candidate]?

    Then I hang up.

    And lest you think I’m being paranoid, I know a staunch Democrat who works for a Republican call center. She’s secretly quite pleased whenever a caller is angry at her, hoping they’ll stop contributing to the Republicans as a result.

  10. I get a lot of recorded ones at work. Not really sure what to do about that, but I just deal. It’s not too bad, since the phone sometimes wakes me out of daydreams and it’s better for me to be alert. It can be like a zen gong. But it’s very annoying if I’m actually doing something. :-p

  11. I, sadly, used to work in this industry. If someone hung up on us, we had to call them back. There were supervisors listening in and if you didn’t call back, you could get fired.

    Terrible, terrible job. I was young. Forgive me.

  12. I like playing with telemarketers if I have the time. My favorite is to go through everything, up until they ask for a credit card. I make sure they’ll ask for one by asking before hand. Something like “you take credit cards, right?” When they ask for the card, I say “Hold on, let me go get it.” I put the phone down and walk away. It’s amazing how long they’ll stay on the phone at that point.

  13. Alas, there is no such thing as a “do not call” list in Hong Kong.

    The best I can do is make their lives as unpleasant as possible – by swearing at them loudly until they hang up on me.

  14. Ashley and Danny are exactly correct, IME. From the telemarketer’s point of view, being hung up on without a sale after five seconds of sales spiel is the second-best outcome, well ahead of being hung up on without a sale after five minutes of sales spiel. Trying to end the call politely doesn’t work; the scripts include responses to all sorts of ‘not interested’ answers, none of which are, “Oh–sorry for bothering you. Goodbye!” (Unfortunately.) And if the telemarketer doesn’t keep pushing on through the response tree, they will inevitably get nailed on a monitor.

    Everybody’s happiest if you just say, “No thanks,” and hang up without waiting for their response.

  15. Just an FYI, but the Do-Not-Call Registry had its first round of expirations recently. It only works for either 3 or 5 years, so you might need to re-register your phone number.

    I feel sorry for telemarketers, but I have had to deal with so many fraudulent telemarketing incidents in business (people calling, claiming they supply you with X and sending you crap you don’t need) that I never bother with them anymore — I too, just hang up.

    Better safe than sorry.

  16. Yes, it’s true, I used to be a telemarketer, too. But, I was fresh out of college and needed a job and didn’t know what working at a “call center” meant! Now, I’m in the insurance industry and while it has its tough days it’s not like it was when I was working the swing shift in Provo, UT calling folks about mortgage loans. It would start off pleasant enough and then would usually lead to a hang up on the other end. Ahh…yes, good times.

  17. I used to try to be polite, but a couple years ago I just started hanging up on them too. The way I see it, an call from a telemarketer is the same as a door-to-door salesman who just walks in your front door. I have absolutely no obligation to hear them out, or even be polite to them.

  18. My best telemarketer experience:
    %%Ring%%
    **Answer phone, listen to 2 second delay and therefore conclude it’s a telemarketer**
    Dave’s Best Wacky Iraqi Voice:
    “Hello!?”
    TM: “Hello, Mr. Dave?”
    D: “Yes! Are you calling about the ad?”
    TM: (taken completely off guard) “Uh, no, I’m… (launches into pitch)
    D: (Interrupting after 1.5 seconds) “Oh, I’m sure you must be calling about the ad for the fresh goat! I have the best and freshest goat for you. I have raised it from a baby along with its two siblings and I can assure you that they will be most succulent!”
    TM: “Uh, no…(confused, tries to restart sales pitch)
    D: “What!?! You are insulting my goats? I assure you that they are the most tender kids you could want. Surely you would not have Easter dinner without a succulent kid?!?!”
    TM: (Thoroughly confused) “Uh, I’m calling about our…”
    D: “You want more than one? This is no problem, I have three for sale and my cousin has another two if you are planning a large banquet for your family and I can arrange a very good price.”
    TM: (Defensive, frustrated and REALLY confused) “I’m not calling about the goats.”
    D: “You’re not calling about the goats?”
    TM: “No, I’m calling because…” (tries to restart sales pitch)
    D: “What!!?! You are not calling about the goats? Why are you calling me then? You are wasting my valuable time! There are people trying to call me this very minute to buy my goats, people who will appreciate them and have a feast fit for a king! Goodbye!”
    –Click–
    I laughed my ass off for a whole week. Best damn time I’ve ever had with a telemarketer.

  19. You know what works for me? Screening my calls. Actually, it’s a little more complicated than that. We have a land-line that we never ever use. We have not ever given that phone number to anyone. If someone calls that line, we know it’s telemarketers. Anyone who gets the voicemail for that line gets to listen to a message that says, “Hi, we don’t answer this line so try our cell phones. If you don’t have our cell numbers, we don’t want to talk to you.” As for my cell, I never answer calls from numbers that I don’t recognize. If it’s important, they leave a message. If not, I don’t have to waste my time.

  20. Haha, Jerry,

    I did telemarketing in Provo, UT for a time as well. So many students, so many call centers, so few decent wages in ol UT county……

  21. Thanks for the link, initially i was like your sister entertaining them but now it irritates me when they call up in the middle of the meeting or some urgen work.

  22. I hardly ever get calls like this anymore… Thank God… I guess only having a cell phone makes the difference….

    JD, You said you have email filters….what kind do you use?? Here in the last month or so I have been getting TONS of spam….And its getting annoying..

  23. The Do Not Call registry works really well.

    This allows me to save my Anti-Telemarketing nastiness for the very handful of companies that try to skirt the law. I’ve had their managers begging me to give them my number so they could wipe it off their list. In fact, I haven’t had a non-legit DNC call in at least 4 years.

  24. As for the ‘charities’ or charlatans that call asking for ‘donations’. I tend to let them do their full spiel. It wastes their time. My answer is pretty much the same. It’s either, “I don’t give money to phone solicitations.” Or for charities that I do know, it’s “I budget my giving on a yearly basis & I have already spent my yearly budget.”

    Speaking of which, why not do an article on charity? I really do all of my charitable giving once a year. It’s budgeted. I pick the charities I really like. And any other inquiry during the year for donations gets the same response. I don’t feel bad for saying no. Their collection schedule & my giving schedule just don’t line up.
    (P.S. I am registered in the forums)

  25. Remember it’s not the people on the phone you resent, it’s the people who employ them and run a business making intrusive calls. I think it’s just spiteful and mean to be awful to the poor minimum-wage folks on the phone. It doesn’t take much extra effort to say, “Sorry, no thanks,” before you hang up. I had a job once collecting information for a PR agency. We weren’t even trying to sell people anything, we were trying to put together a database of meeting rooms. Nevertheless I have never seen so much spiteful human nature in the vicious abuse and flames I got from people I got on the phone. It’s the same impulse you see on the internet — when people are anonymous, they feel free to pour out abuse at others. Come on, the poor guys on the phone are laboring away at an awful job, but they’re people like everybody else. Just breathe and let it go.

  26. I understand your frustration but as I’m reading through your entry I find myself asking why are you even answering the phone? Answering anything that rings, beeps, or jangles in the context of a telephone delivering anonymous callers is so 1970s in the first place. I stopped answering the phone like 5 to 10 years ago.

    I have an answering machine I keep with the volume turned down. Its job is to collect the scant personal or business calls that I receive and that I retrieve later at my convenience. I’m subject to answering machine spam, but never am I ear-to-ear with a telemarketer.

    But even if I didn’t use the machine this way, I’d still rely on caller ID with selective ring-through. Nobody I know needs to be calling me with their caller ID blocked or anonymous – or rather – not *enough* people need to be that I’d ditch selective ringing.

    As an aside, I once saw a contraption that allowed you to program a ring code into it. Anyone who called you had to know it in order to ring your phone, even though they got as far as the ring code prompt when dialing you. If they didn’t, they either got no answer or got a machine. Perfect solution. Strangely, it never took off because no-one I know seems to have such a device or anything similar (outside the usual answering machine or caller ID).

    Dave

  27. I use Vonage at home (2 yrs now) and have never had a telemarketer call me. I hadn’t thought about it until now but maybe they have a filter or perhaps I don’t give my number out… Just a thought.

  28. I think maybe I wasn’t clear: today’s conversation occurred while I was at work, and that’s where I receive all telemarketing calls now. I’ve ditched the home land line and only have a cell phone, so that thing is clear. I can see that in the entry I moved to my sister-in-law and how she handles callers at home. My complaint, though, is with the whole damn telemarketing industry.

    I was even willing to pay a buck to download the image I used in the entry: it’s supposed to represent hell, which is where I hope the telemarketers rot! (I don’t like spammers of any sort.)

    And somebody asked how I cope with email spam. I’m on Mac, and I use Spam Sieve, which I recommend highly.

  29. My wife and I started screening calls a few months ago. One of the best decisions we’ve ever made. In fact I’d go as far as to say it is the only way to deal with cold callers.

    A book called “Clutter Control” which I bought a few years ago has a great piece of advice in it. You own your phone, it doesn’t own you. Therefore you needn’t feel guilty about not answering calls when it doesn’t suit you.

  30. If I have a student (or just someone who sounds young) on the line, I always try to get them to leave the Dark Side and find a different job. One time I actually pulled it off and convinced a now ex-telemarketeer to get a job at burgerking instead. Woohoo! XD

  31. LOL you guys think you’re damn clever don’t you ??
    Let me ask you this, when a telemarketer calls you, do you get HIS full name, address, and date of birth and phone number pop in front of you?
    Well he does.

    I worked telesales for a year, and the rude people ALWAYS got put on the most frequent call-back lists, were signed up online for MORE telesales, were signed up for mail spam, and were called at all hours of the morning from our cell phones.

    Its quite simple, be friendly, be polite, and you won’t get called again, they’re only doing a job. Its not their problem that you cant handle being polite for all of 30seconds.
    Be rude, and they’ll be rude back, just not in the same way. Why piss someone off who has a LOT more info on you than you have on them?

  32. A couple years ago when I moved & was assigned a new number for my landline I immediately contacted Bell and asked for my name not be made available to other organizations. This is different from having an unlisted number and the info is in the front of the phone book. In all that time I’ve only had one telemarketer. I hung up as soon as I heard the empty air after saying hello so I don’t know what they were selling. I had emailed Bell to make this request and a rep called to confirm the request and asked me if I was certain I didn’t want to be contacted!

  33. I haven’t worked as a telemarketer per se, but I’ve been asked to make cold calls before. Look, it’s an unpleasant job, but it’s a job. Many telemarketers are paid commissions. I genuinely feel the best thing is to simply state “I’m not interested” and hang up on them. It takes 5-10 seconds. A telemarketer must continue to try to make the sale even when it’s clear you’re not interested. So now you’re wasting your own time and theirs. What’s the pay off in that? You’re simply making an unpleasant job worse for people who, and I’m guessing here, aren’t thrilled about their current employment to begin with. Hang up — they’ll move on and so will you.

  34. Yeah, I hate telemarketers too. And spam.

    My wife and I are signed up for the Do Not Call list, and as others have mentioned it has eliminated most of the junk calls, but we still get a few. They usually hang up immediately when I tell them I am on that list.

    The really funny thing to me is that when I told my parents about the list (after I listened to them get several junk calls one day during a visit to their house), they said that they don’t want to sign up for the DNC list because they like getting those calls. Who ever heard of that??

    And, I’ve never heard of a single telemarketer calling twice in 2 minutes time! Wow.

  35. Actually, the Do Not Call list DOES apply to businesses (see here).

    If you have a cell phone, telemarketers cannot call that number regardless of whether it’s on the DNC list if they are using an automatic dialer (political organizations might get around this if they are dialing manually; otherwise it applies to them as well). I have received exactly two telemarketing calls to my cell phone, and both times as soon as I realized what they were, I interrupted and told them this was a cell phone number, and they were required by law to take me out of their system. Worked like a charm.

    The one thing I’ve had a hard time with is ending an established relationship with a company that I no longer want to hear from. An example of this is my alma mater, a private university. Two months (!) after I had graduated, I started getting calls asking me for donations. Their career center had not helped me find a job, but I was doing a somewhat high-profile internship in NYC on a STIPEND–this was written up in the alumni newsletter, even. I had to argue with the kid on the phone that no, I could NOT afford to donate even $10, as I was making less than my rent cost per month in the most expensive city in the country. I’ve been trying to get them to stop calling me ever since–I have no interest whatsoever in supporting that institution more than I did while I was there even when I do make enough money to donate. But it seems like since there was an established business relationship at one time, I don’t have the option to sever it.

  36. Wow, John in #34! Please do share the name of the company whose policy is to purposefully harrass people they can’t take no for an answer from. Lovely bit about the full name/address/DOB – sounds like a true threat! Your probation officer must be so proud.

    Polite goes both ways, imagine that. If you can’t be “polite” enough to take NO for an answer the first time, then I could care less what a script says and you better believe I’m going to get “rude” with you. No still means no.

  37. When I had a land phone I liked those calls. I resolved to accept or reject every offer for sound reasons, never saying no or yes until either the seller was convinced I should not buy or I was convinced I should.

    It was a real challenge! I learned to practice Aristotlean logic under pressure, learned what people of all walks are like, and built steely resolve against belligerence. I hope I helped others too, although more than half hung up when their scripts failed them.

    I estimate I spent about six hours on these calls in a year, time well spent. I stopped when diminishing returns set in and I am now glad I don’t have a land phone.

    (I guess I rejected about 15 relevant offers and accepted one for two extra Chicago Tribunes per week for six months at no extra charge. They already had my credit card and I had no problem downgrading before the trial ended.)

  38. Unfortunately for businesses there is no Do Not Call Registry. For violators at home, you can report them. There is a $11,000 fine (that the individual pays not the company), and a state fine, in CT it is $25,000. This is per violation.

    For businesses, its just business. You can place yourself on the list, which may lower the calls but people can still call to solicit business.

    The established business relationship part only last for 6 months maybe 9. After that a business can not call to solicit new business from you without your consent.

  39. These calls are annoying, especially the recorded ones. But folks, telemarketing is one of the only entry-level jobs available to some people. Don’t “mess with them” or curse at them. They already know their jobs suck. Either ask them not to call you or just hang up… then thank your deity-of-choice that YOU are not a telemarketer!

  40. Sign up with grandcentral.com (now owned by Google). It’s fantastic! You get a local number that forwards to whichever phone you want (cell, home, work, etc), and has several valuable features:

    1) you can have it prompt the user for a name
    2) when a call comes, you can choose to answer it (after hearing the name from their prompt) or send it directly to voicemail
    3) you can listen in on the voicemail in progress… and jump in anytime you want
    4) you set calls from certain #s to automatically go to voicemail or to be blocked completely (when blocked, the caller gets a generic “number no longer in service” message
    5) you get an email alert for each call, and can listen to voicemail online

    It’s now the only number I give out online or to businesses.. and can feel safe doing so!

  41. I use the most disgusting profanity in my loudest voice. I’ve been doing this for the last month and the calls have finally dropped off to about one every three days.

    It’s completely horrible for the poor schlub on the other end of the phone, but it has cut the calls down to almost nothing.

    Amazing what it takes to get pond scum to go away.

  42. I see telemarketers as a way to make money. You can sign up for a service like Brring and earn money each time they call you. Save the number you get through this service when filling out online forms and contest entries, or give it out all the time. You will earn some money every time they call.

  43. I want to address the “they’re just doing their job crowd”. This reasoning is bizarre. These people are choosing to take a job doing something that 92% of Americans find offensive. (This stat is from one of the linked sources in my post.)

    92%!!!

    I’m willing to wager that you can’t find 92% of Americans who object to prostitution. I’m not aware of any President who’s had 92% of the country against him.

    Don’t give me the “telemarketers are just doing their job” crap. Find another job. And damn it — do not buy things from telemarketers. If they couldn’t sell anything, and if they couldn’t find employees, they’d be out of business. But they can and they do, so life goes on. It’s just a numbers game to the telemarketing firms, and so long as the numbers are favorable, they’ll keep on going.

  44. lmfao. you just summed it up JD – if 92% of people hate telesales then how come its so profitable??

    and ‘get another job’ ? PLEASE – free country much? why should anyone change jobs just cause you dont like it?

  45. John, you’re not adding to this site by attacking guests and the moderator…that’s not what this community is about.

  46. I’m a bit surprised by the uniform negativity of these postings. I don’t like being interrupted or sold to any more than anyone else. But very few people have occupations that are entirely devoid of any need to sell themselves, at least a little bit, though it may not be as foot-in-the-door as the intrusive calls.

    Throwing obstacles in the way of professional telephone sales agents and seeing how they handle them is extremely good practice for the occasions when you are in sales mode yourself.

    The commonest thing people try to sell me is advertising. I tell them, truthfully, that my company has never advertised. The standard response to that objection is “are you saying you wouldn’t value having more customers?” I say that, as a matter of fact, I’ve got too many customers, and I’d like to get rid of a few. Watching how the salesman handles the undermining of his value proposition is amusing and instructive.

  47. JD- Your comment was harsh, but not TOO harsh. You are in fact 100% accurate.

    John- the reason it is profitable is because people are willing to purchase on the basis of a phone call. I can tell you from personal experience in my practice that there are a goodly number of people (many, if not most of them who are elderly) who are easily taken in by a variety of sales techniques and purchase things that they neither need nor truly want. They do so for the same reason people take out car title loans or pay day loans. That said, you are correct that it is a free market (more or less) and the business is free to try to sell its wares within the limit of the law. Just as JD is perfectly right to criticize the practice and try dissuading people from falling prey to these practices.

  48. In high school I did telemarketing for 6 months. I sat in a cube, wore a head set and a computer dialed a phone for me. I just hit the “R” key if they didn’t answer so it would redial later, hit the “N” key for “not interested” and it would call back next month. If they wanted to be removed from the list, I would take down their number and give it to a manager. It was for a non-profit so we were exempt from the do not call list. Worst job ever. But it is a very successful way to do business. They paid high schoolers minimum wage and each one placed around 250 calls per 6 hour shift. of those, I averaged 30-50 “sales” a day. The job is so repetitive that I could read a book while giving my speech (I wouldn’t stop reading until someone accepted the pitch, because then I had to take down their address and what not.) other than that I was on auto pilot for 6 hours.

  49. The reason you’re getting calls at work is that the National Do Not Call Registry is supposed to be reserved for residential numbers. However, there’s no way the folks in DC (or their computer) will know, so the first thing to do is to register your office number anyway.

    Takes a while to become official. Once that waiting period is over, ALWAYS go online and report every nuisance phone call to the U.S. Attorney General. I’ve found this works–the satellite dish jerks who kept calling me day after day after week after week quit soon after I did that.

    Next, do not hang up on the SOBs!!! As one commenter noted, this just makes their job easier. Quietly set the phone down on the desk and go on about your business. The perp will launch into his prepared spiel and yak on for a good long time before he realizes no one’s home. You’ll know when he’s hung up because you’ll get the phone company’s shrill beep-beep-beep signal. This wastes some of his time, and given the pressure telemarketing slaves are under, it will work toward getting him fired, which he richly deserves.

    Because there’s an annoying exception to the Do-Not-Call law that allows companies with which you do business AND ALL THEIR SUBSIDIARIES AND AFFILIATES to solicit you over the phone, never EVER give out a real telephone number. I do not give my phone number to retailers and never put it on those annoying grocery store or pet store cards. This is just another way of saying “please call me with a sales pitch.” If you must give out a number for a delivery service, tell the sales person that it is not to be put on a phone list (often they can tag your number that way, a request which may or may not be respected) and give them a phone number that does not ring into your home. In fact, I have memorized a fake number, which is printed on my checks (a common source of phone numbers for solicitors); I blurt this out if a really determined sales clerk insists.

    And finally, if you have an individual extension in your office or cube and it’s the kind you plug into the wall with a standard little plastic plug, get a gadget called a Telezapper. I found mine at Radio Shack, but I think you can get them online. Each time you or your answering machine picks up the phone, this device emits a tone that tells the computer dialing your number that the number is no longer in service. About 90% of telemarketing companies have software that deletes out-of-service numbers from their lists.

    It doesn’t work on all telemarketing systems, but it works on enough of them to HUGELY cut incoming nuisance calls.

    As for surveyors, charities, and political hucksters–all of whom are exempt from the national Do-Not-Call law–if I can keep a civil tongue in my head (I usually can’t), I point out that if I wanted strangers to pester me in the privacy of my home, I would not have put my name on the DNC list, and so maybe it would be in their organization’s interest to abide by my wishes. Then I hang up on them.

  50. JD, I understand your ire, but you’re aiming it at the wrong place.

    Look at the responses from people who said they’ve done telemarketing–basically all of them are kids in or just out of school, who don’t know better. Look at all the mea culpas!

    There will always be a steady supply of young people who don’t know any better who’ll step in to do that job.

    The people who you should be mad at are their bosses–who are also the ones making the money off the few successful transactions, if the pay is really as crappy as advertised.

  51. We have Caller ID, and simply don’t pick up the phone for any call which comes up as Out of Area or Private Caller. They are just about always telemarketers or people we otherwise don’t want to talk to. Other calls we screen with the message they start leaving, if we don’t recognize the name or phone number.

    By the standards of the past, this is impolite, but then again, so is telemarketing. Standards quite often shift in response to technology.

  52. Yeah, have to agree with those who are wondering why one allows such a regular part of American life get to you and are standing up for the telemarketers.

    Telemarketing is capitalism at work. I may not like the way you advertise for business but I’m all for you having the right to do so. I don’t tell JD how annoying I find ads on blogs because it is not my business to tell him how to run his business.

    I have worked with telemarketing in all sorts of guises and the people doing the job are just people–get over it. That call puts food in a human’s mouth (either here or overseas). As someone earlier stated, if it didn’t work it wouldn’t be a multi $$$ business.

    You can say “Sorry, Not interested” and hang up without having to just cut the line and bitch about it to all and sundry. It is called courtesy. To put forth the argument that you do not have to be courteous because “they” aren’t is a cop-out. Everyone over 13 “should” understand that concept.

    Ya’ll are just angry at being annoyed. If you don’t want to be annoyed, get an unlisted number. You need a listed number to do business, then put up with ALL the aspects of “doing business” which includes dealing with other businesses. Last I heard there was not a “right to not be annoyed”.

    Telemarketing is technically a business looking for a job. If someone cold calls your business to ask if you are hiring, do you slam the phone down on them?

    “If we were hiring, don’t you think we’d advertise?” I can imagine the commentary on The Vault if you did and doubt you’d make the “best places to work” lists.

    Sounds like preferential logic to me. Can’t stack the deck in your favor.

    If they don’t stop calling, and you have asked to be removed, you can sue. But then you’d be mad over the fact that you’d have to expend money, not to be annoyed.

    Again, same thing that makes JD’s blog and future writing career possible…capitalism at work. Can’t have it both ways however much you may “want” it.

  53. The Do Not Call list works great but, like you, I also get a bunch of these calls at the office and its my understanding that the Do Not Call list does not apply to businesses.

  54. I am making marketing calls as I type this. I do not pressure anybody, I state my purpose in calling right away, and if they are not interested, I thank the person on the other line for their time, and move on.
    I asolutely despise telemarketing calls at home, and I am on the do not call list. This is not a large part of my job, but our corporate brass requires 20 calls per day in addition to other marketing strategies. Oh, and the people I am calling are already customers. Needless to say, I am seeking another line of work, and that is primarily due to corporate’s death grip on cold calls. So please do consider the evil behind the annoying person on the phone.

  55. If I’m in a good mood, I tell them I’m on the ‘do not call list’ … If I’m feeling cranky, I just ask them to ‘tell me ALL about it’ and put the phone down.. When I get the beeps, I hang up the phone.. However, the **BEST** solution I’ve heard of is to tape a ‘disconnect signal’ as the first few seconds of your message… The autodialers that telesales use consider it a disconnected number … You do have to tell all your friends and family to expect it though…

  56. My mom bought a telezapper for her home phone. Supposedly, when you answer the phone, the telezapper gizmo detects if a machine was dialing your number, and “tells” the machine your number has been disconnected, thus removing it from their list.

    The annoying thing is that you still get up to answer the phone, but it essentially hangs up on them for you, and you get fewer and fewer calls over time. My mom loved it, but says she had to disconnected it when she got DSL.

    http://www.telezapper.com/default.asp

  57. @mickie (#59)…

    Yeah, well, payday lenders represent capitalism at work too, but I don’t think they deserve any of my praise.

  58. dont just hang up…
    when they ask for someone ….just tell them to hold on….some callers will wait around 10 min.

    thats 10min they call bug others

    or you could be like my girlfriends mother
    and scream at them

  59. i hate telemarketers as much as the next guy, but i have also been one. They are students, and other people that just need to get by just like everyone. Not saying you should buy what they are selling, but it keeps me polite when they call just to remember that they just need a paycheck like everyone else.

  60. I have one of those air horns near my phone. I just give the person who is calling a blast or two then hang up. If they are from India, I give it 5 blasts just so they understand.

  61. My number is on the Do Not Call list, which has reduced my unwanted calls to political ‘surveys’ and the occasional call from paid fundraisers for the “police benevolent association” (who talk in gravelly cop voices and are a scam, because the fundraiser takes a huge chunk of any money given; even if you want to give your money to the cops, this isn’t the way).

    Plus one marketing call every week, from a carpet cleaning company. They use an automatic dialler and a recorded message, and when I use *69 to try to get their number, it reports 000-000-0000. I would dearly love to find out who they are so that I can report them to the FCC for a round of $1500 fines, but their recorded message offers only “Press 1 to make an appointment, press 8 to remove your number.” If I knew that pressing 1 would get me a human being who I could interrogate to find out exactly who they are, I’d do it, but I’m hesitant to do anything that might implicitly create a “business relationship” with them. Any advice?

  62. #59 Telemarketing is technically a business looking for a job. If someone cold calls your business to ask if you are hiring, do you slam the phone down on them?

    If I am a business, that is the expected job of that phone line. In my house the expected job of my phone line is to be called by friends and family, and in case of emergency, hospitals, police, etc.. The job of my phone line is not for some random company to try and sell me something. If I wanted that companies business I would have called them, not the other way around.

  63. Never hang up on a telemarketer if you have play time. It keeps their business overall profitable and perpetuates the problem.
    Keep them on the phone as long as you can. Motivate yourself with the challenge the getting them to hang up first.
    Fake interest in the product, discuss pointless random things with them, ask them to hold while you ‘answer the door’, ‘let the dog in’, ‘get your wallet’, etc.
    Ask them to call back at a time you know you won’t be their. A call back is much less likely to just be a machine, or an unversed agent.
    Not only does it make their time spent unprofitable, and unsustainable, but while they’re being run in circles by you, they’re not hitting upon the “can’t be no” physiologically vunerable victims they are after.

  64. I don’t get many telemarketing calls anymore. I’m on Do Not Call which my wife just renewed and we only have cell phones. My wife really hates telemarketers, but I don’t mind them that much. This is probably because I get so few and they are usually businesses I have accounts with.

    One that I get regularly is from my internet provider. They are a cable company and they sell a “triple play” plan, but we only have internet with them because we don’t like land line phones (don’t need them) and don’t have a TV.

    The time before last they called me at work they wanted to tell me about how their cable was better than satellite that “I currently have”, so I had to explain to her that we don’t have satellite. So, she asked “how do you watch tv” and I’m like, “well, sweety we don’t have a TV.” And that takes a while to sink in, so now its kind of fun because I’m expanding her mind a little. “How do you get news and entertainment?” “Well, honey we get internet service from you and then we can read news on the web and buy music and movies from the iTunes store and watch them on the computer, but we are pretty busy and don’t have a lot of time for TV. Plus we have a small baby and new studies are showing that seeing images on screens is not that good for babies, so we like to error on the side of caution and not have her watch TV or movies until she’s at least three or four.” And then we have a conversation about her sister’s kids and whether they are watching too much TV and if it might have caused one of them to develop autism. (I’m not sure – I think the definitive data is yet to be determined on that.)

    The last time they called it was a different lady and she pushed the fact that I could get internet in addition to cable and phone in her opening pitch. So, I said, “Well, honey we already have internet service with you.” and then she hung up.

    I don’t get a chance to call women honey other than my wife or daughters in real life very much.

  65. We used to get a large number of telemarketer calls. The things that decreased them the most was:

    … to tell them I was on the DO NOT CALL LIST and to put me on their NO CONTACT list.

    And secondly to go throught each place we did business with (since they are exempt from the DNC list) (Comcast etc) and call their customer service number and asked to have no phone calls (or no mail also if you wish).

    We also seem to be on some kind of senior sucker (scammer) list so we use the voice mail to screen calls occaisionally as they seem come in batches. We use: http://800notes.com/
    and also
    http://whocalled.us/
    to check out those numbers.

    I haven’t gotten around to it yet but someone mentioned above you can put the 3 tone sound file at the beginning of your outgoing message. Do a google search for “sit.wav” —I recently read you really only need the first of the 3 tones but I dont have a way to chop the file myself. That is my next thing to work on.

  66. I cannot believe the amount of anger towards telemarketers. Its like everyones favorite pastime is telemarketer bashing. They get bashed at their job by the supervisors for not making enough calls. They get bashed by the folks that they end up calling.

    I was a telemarketer for my univ asking for donations from alumni. Since I was calling alumni, I still got mostly polite responses – people still care some about their alma mater. And I hated the job. But I had to take it. There were no other jobs that summer on the campus.

    And there is nothing wrong with being polite without being angry. It takes all of 5 seconds to cut off a telemarketer and say you are not interested – politey but firmly. Most of the ones I encounter give up at that point. Maybe some try to counter with a couple of questions. Again polite but firm negations just work fine.

    The ones who persist after that are the ones really cocky or passionate about telemarketing. And they are the ones who get get burnt at my end of the phone line.

    Cmon guys, have a heart, they are just trying to get food on the table for their families. Only a handful feel cocky to make a career out of telemarketing.

  67. DearWife and I have it down to a blurring single sentence that we blurt out just before hanging up:

    I’m-Sorry-I’m-not-interested-please-put-us-
    on-your-do-not-call-list-and-don’t-ever-call-
    again-thanks-bye.

    Takes a second, makes a token nod toward politeness, tries to capitalize on the DNC registry’s existence.

    Although, given what I’ve just read, my armchair economic take is that I need to degrade the efficiency of the callers. I also see a moral impetus: every minute on the phone is 2 or 3 customers (including gullible little old ladies) that won’t get a sales call. Maybe I’ll go back to saying ‘uh-huh’ a few times each minute until they hang up.

    What I wouldn’t give for a telephone butler device that did just that: push a button and it goes to work muttering nocommital noise for a while, then saying ‘um, hold on a second…. ok, I’m back. What were you saying’, then ‘wow’ and ‘mmm’ a few times more, then repeating. Oh, and for fun, the device should take messages if a 4-digit code is entered and keep track of the longest telephone call, just so I could enjoy setting a new record…

  68. Well, nice list. Except, almost none of these apply to DEBT COLLECTION calls or survey’s, which account for most of the telemarketing going on in the United States today. I work debt collection, and we don’t have to
    1. Give our name, at all.
    2. Tell ANYONE, except who we are trying to reach the nature of the call, in fact, we can’t.
    3. Remove them from any list.
    4. Give them any information.

  69. One of my favorite things to do is to listen intently to the sales pitch. Say wows and ahhhhs annd uh-huhs in the approrpiate places. When the pitch turns to money, ask them one simple question.

    “Did you know the gorilla’s loose?”

    The silence on the other end is priceless!

  70. Here’s what I do if I’m bored when a telemarketer calls. I’ll pretend to follow their speech all the way through, and then when they get to providing credit card details, etc, I say that I need to discuss it with my wife/girlfriend/roommates or whatever other person I make up. I ask them to send some brochures or other materials to look at. Most are happy to send something, but then when they ask for my address, I basically respond with something like “you found my phone number without assistance, now go find my address.” Surprisingly, I often get the materials. The best part about this is, it costs the company money both in time on the phone, as well as printing and postage to send me the materials for a product that I never intended to buy.

  71. I was referred here by Kim Klaver who happens to be one of my favorite New School of Network Marketing teachers and founder. You say you “hate” telemarketers and spammers, but you may be best friends with one and not even know it. I worked my business for three years without telling anyone what I did because “friends and relatives” have such a stinky mindset about network marketing that I didn’t want to talk to them about it. My husband was able to stay home and have a real relationship with our daughter during that time because I was willing to do that too. I have no fear about calling someone I don’t know because I find that most people like me once they talk to me for a minute and are sincerely glad I called because they can tell I really care about them enough to educate them about their health. It’s amazing how ignorant people really are about their own health.
    I saw an interview with George Foreman the other night on TBN and he said something like “No matter what happens to you in life, it doesn’t cost a thing to be the nicest person anyone has met that day. The name of his book is called “Going the Extra Smile”. Sounds like good advice to me!

  72. My work study job in college was cold calling new mothers from the phone book via newspaper birth announcements to request they bring in their 6 month old children to participate in a university early child development study.

    I was amazed at the number of people who would help us this way. We paid for their parking but that was all.

    A different era… These days a SWAT team would probably show up at the center.

  73. You are letting people victimize you if you allow how they act to affect your health, day, etc. Instead, why not have fun?

    I look forward to telemarketing calls- I am a practicing actor, and I like to develop accents, personas, etc. I use these calls as an opportunity to act a certain role- aka, one of my favorites, the barely understanding indian (from india, I love the accent, as I listen to a lot of depak chopra)- I pretend that I am interested in whatever they sell, but I rephrase what they say to indicate I wouldn’t have to pay, ever- for example:

    “Sir, we are offering a free trip with a membership to our Auto service.”

    “Why that is wonderful! Phenominal! Please sign me up for the free trip and free limosine service! Have I won a contest?”

    “No, sir, you have won a free trip, with our auto service, may I sign you up?”

    “Yes, Yes, please sign me up now!”

    “Would you like Las Vegas or Florida?”

    “Please I would like to visit my relatives in New York!”

    “Sir, it’s only Las Vegas or Florida”

    “I will go to florida and use your free limo to go to New York! Imagine their faces!”

    “Ok, sir, I’m going to need your credit card number and home address”

    “Please, yes!”

    silence

    “Sir…”

    “Yes! Do you have my confirmation?”

    “Sir I need your credit card number…”

    “What is that?”

    “A Credit card? Sir, It’s a VISA, Mastercard…”

    “Oh, I need a work visa? Why, do you intend to employ me?”

    “No Sir…”

    And on and On, and On. I see how long I can keep them on the phone, they always think they are getting closer to closing the deal, I always wave it just beyond reach….

    Funny, I used to have a lot of fun doing this, however word must have gotten out. They never call anymore. 🙁

  74. Some tips from a telemarketer:

    Placing your number on the Do Not Call list is a good idea and will stop most cold calls.

    The company I used to work for purchased leads (your name and info) for between $200-$400 a pop- because they buy them from companies like…..Monster! As well as many other employment web sites.

    When you apply for jobs on these sites your disclose copious, detailed, personal information about yourself and your financial status. These companies in turn sell this information to telemarketers.

    These are the ones that will call you all the time for weeks or even months at a time, because their boss paid $300 bucks for your number and they know the info’s right.

    It’s not just employment web sites either……

    Many of these companies will not take you off their list if you just hang up. Tell them nicely to take you off their call list and maybe remind them that they can be charged up to $11,000 by the FCC if they call again and you choose to report them…

  75. Take it from someone who has worked these jobs 🙂 Playing with telemarketers can actually HELP them if they are on a computer-based system. Those systems often use a statistic called conversion rate to track the calls. Conversion rate is ratio of people talked to versus ratio of people sold to. If they talk to less people (because you are playing with them) that ratio is higher and the supervisors think they are doing well.

    Also, asking to be removed from other lists the company might have is totally useless. They do not have access to those lists. Usually, these are minimum wager college kids, trust me, you don’t want them to have access! So they will say okay just to get off the phone with you, but they won’t do anything but take you off the list they are calling off of at the moment (which a ‘no thank you plus hangup’ will do just as well). Sometimes, if it large company they are calling for, there may be a 1-80 number you can call to get off other lists.

    So, what is the best way to handle these calls? ne of two scripts.

    1) I’m sorry, we do not accept pone solicitations. Please remove me from your list. Hang up.

    2) I’m sorry, we do not accept pone solicitations. Please remove me from your list. Does your company have a 1-800 number I might call to get off other lists? Thank you. Hang up.

    That really is the best way. Don’t play games, don’t let your blood pressure boil, just thank your lucky stars you are not so financially desperate that you have to be in their shoes to earn your bread, then ask to be taken off the list and hang up. Simple simple.

  76. I cant stand people like the blogger in this story. Iremeber a time when this was the only type of job I could find. I needed to feed myself and my family and have a place to live. I wasnt there to rip anyone off and I can assure you that when I came accross a waste of skin like this person, I wanted no contact more than they did.

  77. While most of the people who solicit as telemarketers only do it out of desperation, there are other better paying and more conscionable options.
    Get a pair of fishnet stockings, and solicit from a corner. You’ve already sold your ass. Why not get a decent pay and raise your moral stance a fraction.

  78. The best way to reduce the number of telemarketers is to reduce the profitability of the industry. The best way to reduce their profitability is to try and take up as much of the telemarketers time as possible. One of the previous posters suggestion of luring a telemarketer in with promise of payment and then putting them on hold is an excellent suggestion.
    Yes, college age telemarketers will be financially hurt by this (in reduced commissions), and they will find their time wasted. Cue the violins. There are other jobs to be had.

    But if everyone did this, it would get very difficult for telemarketing to remain a viable business model.

    And I am saying this as someone who worked as a telemarketer in college, and was eventually promoted to a management level.

  79. they call offering to extend my car warranty.

    i act interested.

    then they discover my 17-year old car has 330,000 miles.

    No problem getting them off the phone then.

  80. Tim @ 75 –

    #1 Pay your bills. On time. This may require
    1a getting organized
    1b spending less overall
    #2 Close accounts that you do not currently use.
    #3 Order your credit reports yearly. Make sure everything is current and accurate.

    Guess what? Since learing these little skills 10-12 years ago I haven’t had a single call from a debtor. Try it, you might like it.

  81. [email protected]:
    In the State of Oregon you would be incorrect. Please reference ORS 646.639(i), which states that it is unlawful to: “Communicate with the debtor orally without disclosing to the debtor within 30 seconds the name of the individual making the contact and the true purpose thereof.” That same statute makes it similarly illegal to “(e) Communicate with the debtor or any member of the debtor’s family repeatedly or continuously or at times known to be inconvenient to that person with intent to harass or annoy the debtor or any member of the debtor’s family.” Although debt collectors always claim their intent is not to “harass or annoy”, frankly anyone who’s been on the receiving end of such calls (and those who make them) know that the entire purpose of the call is to harass and annoy the living crap out of the debtor until they pay. Certainly no person that I’ve met who owes someone money and has received “reminder” calls of this debt on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday has forgotten on Friday that they still owe the money.

    Lastly, debt collectors are not telemarketers. They’re not marketing anything, they’re collecting a debt. Ergo, much of the discussion for this posting does not apply.

  82. I had another idea about telemarketing…look at the “green” benefits of staying home and not contributing to all the pollution created by driving to various locations to work. Besides not filling the pockets of the oil cartels, we’re saving the environment. Wouldn’t Al Gore be proud? 😉

  83. You know what? I have no sympathy whatsoever for telemarketers, and I do my best to be a huge waste of time and energy when they call.

    I’m on the do-not-call list. Have been for years, and yes… I’m still current. It doesn’t stop these jerks. And I’m sorry, but if you’re VIOLATING THE LAW by calling me and you know it (as evidenced by the fact that they’ll hang up on your if you ask identifying information), you DESERVE whatever crap you get from the people you call. I don’t care how down-on-your-luck you are… if it’s illegal, don’t take the job.

  84. I rarely answer my phone. Does that count?

    I am on the DNC list, however, the woman who had my telephone number OVER 15 YEARS AGO apparently is still on many of these people’s lists and they call asking for her.

    When I do answer the phone (during PMS is a fun time to do it) and it’s a telemarketer I’ll say I’m not interested and hang up.

    I feel that I’m actually doing the poor slob on the other end a favor by allowing him to go on to someone else who, and don’t start laughing, might be interested in his spiel.

  85. To the people who say that this is a person’s first job, big deal! Assuming the job market is right, they can start looking for a new job. If the job market isn’t so great, then it might take a while, but they can still get a different job.

    I have my first “real” job at a retail store. The two previous jobs I’ve had were “student helper” jobs, which I automatically got just because I was a High School Student who needed a job.

    As for the “get a new job” comments, I’m sure the telemarketer is looking into it, but it can take a while. The job market isn’t so great right now (at least, not for where I live), and so they may be telemarketing in the meantime in an attempt to make ends meet.

    As to the person who asks if businesses hang up on all the people asking if they’re hiring: I wish businesses *would* hang up (or at least be honest) when they aren’t hiring. I hate it when businesses tell me that they’re “hiring year ’round,” when it’s rather obvious that they aren’t (unless they’re a really shitty employer).

    I figure if they claim to be hiring year ’round, they’re likely just throwing away my application when they aren’t hiring at all. Or worse, sticking it in the “call if desperate” pile.

    Just tell me you aren’t hiring. It won’t make me think anything less of you or your company. I’ll ask when you are planning on hiring next, and then apply then. Therefore, you don’t have to waste your time filing away an application you aren’t going to read, and I don’t have to fill in an application for a job that I’m not going to get.

    As for the political calls: I agree. I despises these, and I wish they were on the do not call list. I think I’ll try doing that * whatever call back thing in November, when I’m sure to get a lot of calls.

    If I really cared about who was running to fuck up the country for the next four years, I’d read about it. DUH! Even if I couldn’t afford the ‘net, I could easily read the Newspaper. It’s only 50¢ around town, and 25¢ if I go to the local college campus to get it.

  86. I haven’t read ALL the posts, just most of them and quite a few people said minimum wage or that people don’t make much money. Around here(Canada), people make alot of money being a telemarketer. It can pay anywhere from $10-$20 when min wage is around $8-$9. They have to pay people that much to get them to do such a horrible job. And also most of the people who work at those places can’t get a job anywhere else. My sister is trying to convince me to work at one of those places because I cannot get hired anywhere else and those places hire anyone with a voice.

  87. I used to work as a telemarketer (or as they called it telefundraising which is basically the same goddamn thing.) for a month and I HATED every fucking second of it.

    I only took the job till something better came along then I finally told my ex boss to fuck himself, kiss the blackest part of my ass, and I quit. Ironically it was two days before my birthday so I considered it the best damn gift I ever gave myself.

  88. I know I’m a little late on the commentary (going through the archives) but all you people who are rude to telemarketers make me sick. I like to think that people are basically good, but it’s jerks like you who prove to me that my naive assumption is wrong.

    I worked as a telemarketer for 2 months. It pays a couple dollars higher than minimum wage, and I’m a self-supporting student who doesn’t qualify for loans due to my parents making too much. I suppose there are other jobs out there, but with a recent job shortage, they were hard to come by for a college student. I did what I had to to keep going through school.

    I ended up having to stop after spending untold amounts of time in the doctor’s office with various symptoms. Headache, nausea, anxiety, exhaustion. All caused by… you guessed it! Work-related stress!

    Every day I went in for 9 hours a day. I would sit in my grey cubicle and place calls. I tried to sound pleasant. I tried to be polite. I was friendly. Time after time people would abuse me. I got shouted at, cursed at, called names, blamed for all the wrongdoings of Bell Canada (which are numerous) and just generally mistreated. But it didn’t stop there!

    Because of my wish to be polite, I wouldn’t push. I would back off after one “No”. Then, my supervisor would tell me off and threaten my job because I wasn’t trying hard enough.

    If someone was nice and polite to me, I’d find a way to change their services around to give them a better deal (believe it or not, it is possible! You’ll never know if you don’t hear us out!). At the very least, I’d make sure they were dispositioned so they don’t receive any more calls. The rude ones? I’d set a call-back date and time, usually around 6 pm.

    Just some tips for dealing with telemarketers:

    1) You are not creative and witty. Asking us for our home phone number so you can call us at dinner? We’ve heard it all before, many times. Oh, and I worked from 11-9 every day, so good luck reaching me at dinner-time. We have heard every trick in the book, and your funny accent or putting down the phone and walking away don’t work.

    2) They are people too. Just because you can’t see them, or they’re from India, doesn’t mean they’re not people. They do their job for the same reason you do yours.

    3) Don’t just hang up and say “not interested”. With the centre I worked at, we had about 30 different ways to disposition a call. One of them was “Not interested before script”. That means you get a call-back, because hey, how do you REALLY know you’re not interested if you didn’t listen? (the company’s perspective, not the employees’). Hang-up ? Ditto.

    4) Do not tell the person that the contact is dead unless they really are! I worked for Bell Canada. If you tell a Bell Canada rep that the contact is dead, their account may be cancelled. Not a good idea.

    5) Stop pinning the blame on the person doing the calling. If the COMPANY is using the wrong list, then it is the COMPANY’S fault. We don’t pick our calling list. Heck, we didn’t even dial the number. The computer did it for us. So stop pretending that we know you’re on the Do Not Call list. Say you are, politely, and file a report. Don’t take it out on the person who is making $10 an hour to put up with your crap.

    Oh, and in Canada at least if you have a working business relationship with the company, they are within their rights to call you.

    I deal with telemarketers at home. I am on the Canadian Do Not Call list. I get the occasional one who slips through the cracks. Do I yell at them? No. I get the agent’s name and the name of the company, and I report it to the government.

  89. >1) You are not creative and witty. Asking us for our
    >home phone number so you can call us at dinner? We’ve
    > heard it all before, many times. Oh, and I worked
    >from 11-9 every day, so good luck reaching me at
    >dinner-time. We have heard every trick in the book,
    >and your funny accent or putting down the phone and
    >walking away don’t work.

    No kidding. You people never seem to STOP CALLING ME.

    >2) They are people too. Just because you can’t see
    > them, or they’re from India, doesn’t mean they’re not
    > people. They do their job for the same reason you do
    >yours.

    There’s one big difference: MY JOB ISN’T ILLEGAL. In my frame of reference, there’s nothing separating you from a drug dealer or a prostitute. You’re still breaking the law, and you have zero concern about the rights of the people you’re trampling on. So no, you deserve no courtesy from me.

    >3) Don’t just hang up and say “not interested”. With
    > the centre I worked at, we had about 30 different
    > ways to disposition a call. One of them was “Not
    > interested before script”. That means you get a
    > call-back, because hey, how do you REALLY know you’re
    > not interested if you didn’t listen? (the company’s
    > perspective, not the employees’). Hang-up ? Ditto.

    You know perfectly well I don’t want any more of your calls. You PURPOSELY set me up for more as a result? Then you prove my point, because you’re exactly the kind of scum I’m pissed off at.

    >4) Do not tell the person that the contact is dead
    >unless they really are! I worked for Bell Canada. If
    >you tell a Bell Canada rep that the contact is dead,
    > their account may be cancelled. Not a good idea.

    Then Bell Canada is a bunch of a******* for letting their subscribers be hassled by their own employees. Getting people’s accounts cancelled just proves once again that you’re a scumbag who has no respect for the people you’ve been hired to piss off.

    >5) Stop pinning the blame on the person doing the
    > calling. If the COMPANY is using the wrong list, then
    > it is the COMPANY’S fault. We don’t pick our calling
    > list. Heck, we didn’t even dial the number. The
    > computer did it for us. So stop pretending that we
    > know you’re on the Do Not Call list. Say you are,
    >politely, and file a report. Don’t take it out on the
    > person who is making $10 an hour to put up with your
    > crap.

    1. Nobody forced you to take the job. If your employer asks you to break the law, then YOU are a criminal. I don’t care how much you’re paid to do it. If you get told often enough that people like me who are on the do-not-call list are being called, STOP and find out why. Don’t hide behind the B.S. excuse of “but I’m just doing my job!” Take some responsibility for YOUR actions.

  90. So you decry being rude to the telemarketers, then you immediately talk about rescheduling them for a call at 1800 if they’re rude to you? Way to walk the walk.

    The bottom line is, people are rude, because the vast majority of telemarketers will NOT listen to what we say. They will do everything in their power to keep you on the line, and often the only solution is to be rude and/or simply hang up. I can not think of a single instance where a response of “I’m sorry, I’m not interested.” was met with an answer of “I understand. Thank you for your time.” It’s usually some continuation of the spiel, followed by me interrupting and hanging up. After enough times, I don’t even bother with the first part, but just state that I’m not interested and hang up. After a while, I got fast enough to recognize the delay of the call being switched through to an agent and hung up before anything was even said. The fact is, my time and activities are valuable to me, and you just took one and interrupted another.

    Don’t blame the rude people; blame the people that trained them to be rude. And the fact is, there’s a reason the Do Not Call registry was created. Clearly there was a problem with the system, and it was not with the people getting called.

  91. I have worked in the telemarketing business as well, quite recently actually. I worked because it was one of the highest paying jobs on campus while I was in college. It was incredibly boring and a few hours felt like a lifetime. As somebody before me said, we basically gave the same pitch to all our callers and I would always be doing homework or reading while I was talking until somebody showed some sign of interest.

    From personal experience, I can tell you that the best thing to do when a telemarketer calls you is to hang up, it made my life so much easier!! It was my job to keep asking our prospects at least like 5 times and it wasn’t until then that I could put them as “not interested.” I hated doing it but my bosses would listen in our calls and if we didn’t follow procedure, we were putting our jobs at risk.

    It was a horrible job, but making around 11/hour as a college student was pretty attractive at the time. Then again, I was calling to raise funds for the school so it wasn’t exactly the same but a similar concept though.

  92. Im a telemarketer and all i do is help people save money, we are a part of the work force in America
    And everyone has to make money some way when you have a family, is sad to see how arrogant people are.

  93. Im a telemarketer and honesty ive saved people hundreds of dollars, i see it as another work force in America, what i do is no scam, i mean when all im trying to do is fax you a quote just give it a look it, such a simple task might save you lots of money, and by the way it pays good

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