Discouraging cold sales telephone calls

I recently had to change my landline telephone number as every bastard autodialling computer would phone me up just to break my concentration on whatever I was doing at that moment. My new number has less presence in the public domain (it’s unlisted and illegal to cold-call from the UK), but I’m still getting the occasional junk call from overseas.

Is there anything I can do to make the caller take me off their list? I had a colleague who used to work in a call centre, and he said that they’re trained to hang up if they hear pop music coming down the line. Indeed this seems to be the case, and I find that if I turn on the radio before picking up an obvious* sales call then the caller will invariably say “Sorry, wrong number”, and hang up. It even works with classical music, not just Satanic hardcore. But is this enough to remove me from their databanks? Do I need to pretend to be dangerously deranged as well?

*My caller ID displays “International”, “Withheld” or “Unavailable”.

If I have time, when a sales call comes in, I ask lots of questions and pretend a high level of interest, then go, “Oh, wait a minute, the paper boy just showed up, I’ll be right back.” I set the phone down and wait for them to catch on and hang up.

It doesn’t keep them from calling me, but I figure that if they’re on hold with me, they’re not bothering someone else, so the sum total of happiness in the universe has been increased. You don’t have to thank me, I’m happy to help.

For years I have been telling the caller politely but firmly that I do not accept unsolicited phone calls and to please take me off their list. Then I hang up. I rarely get sales calls any more. Of course, I also put myself on the national do-not-call list.

I find that I never get a second call if I interrupt the sales pitch and start breathing heavily and questioning the salesperson about his/her undergarments. Having worked as a telephone salesperson, I can tell you that at Reese Brothers Inc. (they contract their dervices to many different charities and companies) policy was that you could hang up only if the “mark” began using obscene language or sexually aggressive language. Otherwise, one was obligated to keep to the script and press onward with the sales pitch. Marks were removed from the call list only if they explicitly instructed us to do so.

That’s con man slang! Tells me something about phone solicitors.

I’m not sure how to deal with it, but why not just play with them a bit? We started getting tons and tons of calls from phone companies after switching companies (and getting locked into a contract, so it’s not like we could change again if we wanted to, putzes). It’s fun to tell them we don’t have a phone. ;j

We’re still laughing over this and can’t wait to try it. Thanks!

I just don’t understand this mentality (of the telemarketer). I have to do a few cold calls (shudder) in my job, and I do them reluctantly but Ithey’re part of my review, so I have to do them. But if someone tells me once “Don’t call me again” I immediately scratch them off my list and try to ensure no one else calls either. What does it do to pester them? :confused:

I got rid of my landline 4 or 5 years ago. Haven’t had a phone solicitation since.

Since you’re in the UK your options may be different than in the US. If you’re willing to potentially cause some friends some hassle, you can (I believe) set your caller ID to only accept calls where the # is available. Might be overkill, though.

I find a polite but firm “No, please take me off your list. Thanks, bye” works pretty well. I don’t stay on the line to listen to any weaseling they might want to do.

The pop music thing may apply to certain types of offers where that’s not their demographic, but probably wouldn’t apply to everything, such as maybe magazine subscriptions. They’d just offer you Rolling Stone!

You’re all assuming (I think) that telemarketing companies all keep lists that they update religiously, and share the data with other phone callers. That is not necessarily the case.

I was employed by a company—very briefly—that had us working out of the White Pages.

“People not interested? Screw 'em! Go on to the next name and don’t bother me.”

I have a similiar tactic:

They always start off…“May I speak to Perderabo, please?” So I respond “Sure, just a minute…” Then with, the phone away from my face, I loudly yell “Yo! Perderabo! Telephone!” and then I set the phone down. When it starts beeping, I hang up.

Fuckers called me yesterday on my cell phone. Claimed to be a “business partner” of someone I had purchased from.

It’s coming.

We use caller ID. If we don’t recognize the number, it doesn’t get answered. The ringer volume is not particularly loud, so it’s not a nuisance. If it’s important they’ll leave a message.

The National Do Not Call list has greatly reduced the number of calls, but politicians, charities, claiming-prior-relationship calls still come.

My BIL has a brilliant way of dealing with them. He hands the phone to one of my neices. Aged 5 and 7 they just keep the conversation going with a lot of, "what?"s and "Who’s this?"s.

I just shout “Bob! It’s for you!” and set the phone down. When I get the Lost Connection tone I hang up.

Why not just not answer these type of calls? That’s what I do. In fact I tend not to answer any number that I don’t know.

Turn any telemarketer call into a phone sex call.

Good idea, except if you have friends or relatives overseas (as opposed to People who Want your $$$ for Some Crap or Other).

Me, I can always tell if its a telemarketer because I live at home and don’t have a credit card/mortgage/loyalty card/whatever, so they’re always for my parents. And I tend to sound about 14 on the telephone, so “Can I speak to your Mum or Dad, dear?” means I hang-up.

Upset at having a telemarketer call me at 12 midnight! I decided to mess with him. He was selling magazine subscriptions. I enthusiastically agreed to every magazine he offered, he thought he’d hit the jackpot. So at the end of the conversation, right before I give him my non-existent visa number, I ask him deadpan " Now those will all be in Braille, right?"