stop telemarketers


I’d rather work as a telemarketer than work at McDonald’s.

“ChrisCTP-…the sweetheart of the SDMB…” --Diane
Chris’ Homepage: Domestic Bliss

My husband has a hard time saying no to solicitors, so I bought him this little thing called “easy hang up.” It plays a little message and then hangs up for him. Now if I could just get him to push the button! haha!

I just hang up on them without a twinge of guilt. I figure if they’re going to call my house out of the blue for something I don’t want, that’s what they get. If it hurts their feelings they need to get a different job.


i want everyone to understand that i don’t dislike the people that call me, i dislike the system! they are in a system where they are pushed to ‘sell’ me something that i’m not really interested in.

once a photography telemarketer called and at the time i was looking for someone to do headshots. i told her that that was what i was actually interested in and if she could do that, then yes. when she found out that she didn’t commission unless she sold me a package, she hung up on me.

i wouldn’t wish that job on anyone.

and to the people that screen calls. you wouldn’t have to if this wasn’t a problem.

Jonathon (hope I spelled that right) when I worked for World Book (1st tm job) it was salary (hourly) plus commissions - which were a percentage of what you were selling. For example, I was selling a science book series for which I got $X per sale, but then the next night you could be selling tulip bulbs and get $Y per sale.

When I worked at the Financial Advisors, you would get an hourly rate, then $X bonus if you got the people to make an appointment, if they actually showed up you got an additional amount, and if they actually became clients (no, I don’t think that ever happened) you would get even more.

Basically, it was hourly plus commission but every place is different. There are some that only pay commission, but I couldn’t work for those places as I needed cash flow.

The goal with telemarketers is to make them waste as much time as possible. Two strategies: let them deliver their sales pitch, then, when they finally ask a question, say, “…I’m sorry, what?”

My preferred method is to tell the telemarketer that you have to turn the oven off. Then, put the phone down and forget about it.

Honestly, I’m usually not rude, but, once, when reps from Sears called me three times in four days offering different “credit proctection services” and crap like that, I got pretty raw. I got the damn Sears card less than a week ago! I’m not buying the ‘preferred cardholder’ crap, Chachi!


I’m glad you’ve find a kindred spirit. Give me a call sometime and we can discuss it some more. :slight_smile:


My signature line is a quote from Stendhal (Henri Beyle), the 19th century french author who wrote “The Red and the Black” and “The Charterhouse of Parm” amongst other things.

I thought it was an interesting quote and also true, that people hate what is different.

J’ai assez vécu pour voir que différence engendre haine.
Henri B. Stendhal

Companies have telemarketing departments because it works. Why else would they waste money on payroll, commissions, leads and phone costs? I will agree that it’s stupid for a company to use telemarketing as it’s ONLY method of advertising and sales, but for the most part, telemarketing is merely one department of an entire company.

A telemarketer is not an evil person, nor is a company that employs telemarketers an evil corporation. Keep in mind: far more often than not, you’re not being called at random. You’re on their call list because you subscribed to a certain service or product relating to the service or product that they are selling and they have legitimate reason to call you. They have reason to believe that you might be interested.

It’s no different than a company sending you an advertisement in the mail or emailing you. That’s right, NO different. Bitch about “invasion of privacy” all you want. You freely gave your information and ALL companies will use that information to whatever ends possible, by whatever methods available. Don’t like it? Don’t apply for a credit card or loan, don’t buy a house, don’t enter drawings, don’t tell your phone number to the cashiers at Best Buy and Toys’r’us, don’t purchase anything online, don’t have utilities in your name. Direct sales is a powerful and versatile agent.

I will agree that there are unskilled people working in the field of telemarketing, and a lot of assholes as well. There are a lot of assholes behind the counter at your neighborhood gas station, too. The difference is this: when a gas station worker is having a bad day, his customers can jump over the counter and kick his ass for being snippy. A telemarketer can vent without that sort of fear.

If you could swear at a snotty customer without fear of getting thrashed, wouldn’t you just love to? I’m not condoning such behaviour, but I definitely understand it.

Telemarketing scams are busted everyday. It seems that every state’s AG office is keeping a close eye on companies that use telemarketers. Savvy consumers and disgruntled employees are not shy about filing reports when they feel they’ve been wronged by a company.

As far as “how to annoy telemarketers and prevent them from feeding their families” techniques? Toss them. Just say “Thanks, but no thanks. Remove me from the list.” They are required by law to remove you from their call list and you can be certain that THAT company will never call you again. If they do, expect a check in the mail for $500… that’s the fine.

“ChrisCTP-…the sweetheart of the SDMB…” --Diane
Chris’ Homepage: Domestic Bliss

Oh, it 15 years or so I only got ONE call! It was a deaf guy from some stock comp. wanting me to invest.

These days, I just use my caller ID, it says
‘unavailable’ when they call. so don’t even answer. Little buggers call back night after night though.


I’m going to disagree with you on this.

Which means since I use a telephone, any phone company can be free to assume I want to change long distance plans. Since I buy a newspaper, any magazine can feel free to call me to get me to subscribe. Since I eat, any food products company should feel free to call me to sell me mail-order steaks. Pretty much anybody can call me for any reason. Since I own a home, anybody can assume I want to have a mortgage loan with their bank.

So you’re saying that when I buy a house or apply for a credit card, I should give a fake name and phone number? Lie about my address when I go buy a car? Have “123 anywhere street, Anytown, USA” printed on my checks?

Or should I live like the Unabomber?

Let me give you an example. In Switzerland (my home country), you can (or could several years ago, I don’t know if it’s still the case now) put a sticker on your mailbox saying in effect “No junk mail.” The postman was then not allowed to put mail in your mailbox unless it was addressed to you personally.

Maybe you could explain to me how I go about getting the $500 when a company calls me more than once. Will I need an attorney?

J’ai assez vécu pour voir que différence engendre haine.
Henri B. Stendhal

The answer to stopping telemarketers is simple:

Tell them to put you on their do-not-call list.

They are legally required to put you on the list and never call you again, or you can sue for big bucks. It takes a bit of time, but I get many fewer telemarketing calls nowadays.

I do understand that they are trying to do their job, and usually give the “I’m not interested” riff and hang up. Like handy, I, too, have Caller ID–and “Unavailable” means telemarketer. I did notice how persistant they could be–I had one calling me at the same time of day every day for a week.

But I’ve also met my share of greedy, lying slimewads. Most recently, I called AOL for a tech problem (a bug in 5.0), and when the techie was done, she said “I’m going to connect you with customer service for 3 months of free AOL.” I’m thinking, hey, cool, this is compensation for reporting a new bug with new software; how unusually generous for AOL. Nope. It was their telemarketing folks–trying to sell me long distance. I explained I was very happy with my company, who offered identical cheap rates. “Sorry, I’m not interested.” The man kept trying (I stayed on the phone with him, still dumbly waiting to hear “Okay, well your account has been credited, sorry for the problem…”), and I had to whip out my teacher voice and sternly say in an unwavering tone, “*I said, *I am NOT interested!” He gave up then.

I had one guy call (just after I’d moved) and ask for the girl who had the phone number before me. When I explained she was no longer at this number, he said, she’d won a prize–would I like to have it instead? (You know these schemes, yes? “You’ve won a major prize!..if you come listen to our teeth-grinding brain-sucking sales pitch on vacuums. Ah, here you go–pencils! And gum!”) I laughed out loud and told him there was no way a legal, legitimate contest would do that–they’d hunt down the original winner. He actually argued with me! “So you don’t want to win a prize? You’re kidding, right?” I laughed a bit more at the scuzzy moron and hung up.

Then, the worst: the Daily News newspaper. Long story short, some guy calls schmoozing, saying I could have the paper for 8 weeks free with no further obligation. Fine, whatever. I get the paper, 8 weeks come and go, I still get the paper, then I get the bill. I refuse to pay. I call and argue with management, saying I never subscribed. They apologized for the telemarketer’s blatant lie and said I wouldn’t have to pay. Paper keeps coming. I get another bill. I refuse to pay, call the management really cheesed off, they say “Oh, well, sorry, must be computer error…” Yeah, I’m sure they would’ve said that if I’d just paid the lousy $11.

The worst is for months this crappy periodical kept calling me, asking why I canceled my subscription. I NEVER SUBSCRIBED IN THE FIRST PLACE, IDIOTS! This is the only organization that pissed me off enough to chew out their telemarketers. One person actually begged: “Ma’am, it’s spring and subscriptions are down…we could really use your business.” Can’t imagine why.

</end rant>

I used to think the world was against me. Now I know better. Some of the smaller countries are neutral.

Laura’s Stuff and Things



Yup. If you belong to whatever demographic a certain company is targeting, they’re going to call. It isn’t random. (Aforementioned morons who call apartment tenants rather than property owners excluded.)

No. I’m saying that UNLESS you want to live your life in relative obscurity with no documentation to prove that you exist, own property of any kind, or have credit of any kind, you will be subject to telemarketing calls and other methods of direct marketing.

The US Post office will stop delivering obvious junk mail. Go to your branch office and find out how. USWest has a new feature called “Privacy Manager.” If it’s that difficult to thank someone and tell them that you’re not interested, you can pay a few extra dollars a month and you will cease to receive calls.

Happy to. Company X calls you. You note the time of day, the date, the name of the company and the name of the salesperson. Request that you be taken off their call list. Ask them “Do you understand?” End call. If they call again, inform them that they’ve ignored your request to be removed from their lists and you’ll be contacting the authorities. Call your states attorney general office and give them your information.

It may have been out of line to say that you would automatically receive money. Now that I think on that, I’m not sure if you have to sue the company or not. I am certain that the company will be fined, though.

In most cases, if you’ve requested your name be taken off their list, you’ll not receive another call from that company.

“ChrisCTP-…the sweetheart of the SDMB…” --Diane
Chris’ Homepage: Domestic Bliss

Boss: Sorry, Luke. I’m just doing my job. You gotta appreciate that.
Lucas (Luke) Jackson: Nah – calling it your job don’t make it right, Boss.

Precisely correct. Telemarketing, spamming, junk fax, con artists and religious crazoids on the porch…it’s all the same crap and the people who do it are slimeballs who deserve all the abuse they get and then some. Tough squat they have a family to support. So do rats but you don’t let 'em in the house…and when they do get in you sic the hounds on them. If they are too dumb to find honest work, let them starve.

Never buy anthing from them. They are parasites who prey on people who are too nice to treat them they way they deserve. Insult and abuse them as much as you can. Turn them in to the cops or regulators or ISPs. Make their lives miserable. They have no qualms about victiming and abusing you, return the favor. There is no social benefit in being polite to a snake.

Wanna guess who got woke up out of a sound sleep 4 times today by scumbag telemarketers?

Lex Non Favet Delictorum Votis

I’m actually the same exact way. I feel absolutely no need to pick up a phone simply because its ringing at me, especially if I’m otherwise occupied. On more than one occasion where someone has called and let the phone ring and ring and ring and ring, I have actually picked up the phone and hung it right back up, just to get it to shut up. Nobody I know would be so stupid as to let the phone ring over 10 times and still expect an answer. And the funny thing is that I don’t even have an answering machine ever since my last one went on the fritz.

The way I see it, if it were important I would be getting a page in a few seconds. Anyone who might have anything important to tell me knows my pager number as well as my office number where they can leave me a voice-mail which will automatically page me. It really works out well that way, because I can actually give someone my home phone number and not really worry much about being bothered or having my privacy invaded. If I really want them to be able to get in touch with me, I’ll give them my pager and/or office number and tell them that that and not my home number is the best way to reach me.

This method has worked great for me.

Thank you, Missy2U - I had wondered for some time about how that was handled, and I appreciate your having taken the time to explain it. (You spelled it perfectly, by the way - thank you for that as well.)

And thank you, Arnold Winkelried, for the source of the quote. I confess my own interpretation to be slightly different (a matter of semantics, rather than translation). I read it as implying that difference generates hatred; a subtle change in meaning from your intent. Thank you for the clarification.

Uh-oh! Scuzz alert! My husband used to be a telemarketer, I used to sell vacuums door to door, and my cousin’s husband is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Well, I thought we were nice people… :frowning:

Just kidding-I know telemarketers are a pain in the butt, but it did put food on our table. If you’re not interested in what’s being sold-say no thanks and hang up, that way the telemarketer can get on to his/her next victim, er…potential client.

Also, as far as the vacuum salespersons go, I don’t know about the others, but I got paid solely on commission, so don’t believe them when they tell you they get paid just to show it, etc.

Everyone I need to talk to pretty much is online, so when my husband told me to look into getting another line for when I was “hogging it up with the computer” I kept a log for a week of how many of the incoming calls were actually worth answering.

Now, whenever I fill out a survey or anything I always use the cat’s name or something random so the list looked something like this:

Monday –
12:37 - Call for Gilbert from AT&T ("Here, kitty, kitty, kitty!)

5:30 - call for husband from credit card company (“not here” “I’ll call back another time” “don’t bother, please”)

Tuesday –

4:58 - call for Daria from SF Chronicle (“I’m sorry, she is in fact a fictional character. A cartoon, actually.”

Wednesday –

2:43 - Call for Betsy Strub (My maiden name, but just BARELY! “Sorry, there’s no one here by that name.”)

You get the idea. But to say they’re the scum of the earth and never offering anything worthwhile is unfair. I have tried a few things I thought interesting (grocery delivery service that ended up not being as convenient for us as it probably would’ve been for a large family, etc.) And I knew that when I decided that my carpet DID need cleaning, I wouldn’t have too long to wait for someone dying to clean it. (Ok, to be fair, this resulted in my buying an outrageously expensive vacuum/shampooer, but the carpet!!! It’s so CLEAN! Hahahaha.) I have to admit that I’d prefer a million phone solicitations to anyone ever coming to the door. That seems a hundred times more intrusive, and I always feel like I can’t NOT answer in case it’s hoodlums casing the joint or something.

The ones I really LOATHE though are the ones for the newspaper that say “we’re going to give you the paper free with no obligation for X weeks!” I got burned on this like an earlier poster so they’re usually the only ones that get an earful from me. Everyone else gets a “click” or “no, thank you” (if they bother to pause long enough for me to say it.) Sometimes the ones using the autodialer thingie have a big pause before they connect, so if you’re quick you can hang up before they even get a chance to say anything. Others assume that after say, 2 rings they’ll get a machine, so if you wait to pick up until the 3rd or 4th ring they’ll already be out of your hair. Isn’t it bizarre that we know all this? I especially like the poster’s mom who said she couldn’t read. Flustering them is always a bit of added fun. :slight_smile:

Voltaire, Arnold, and Lucky,

You have no idea how much your posts made me smile. I have been getting shit for years from friends, employers, family, even spouses (yes, plural) for my “anti-social, UnAmerican” attitude towards the telephone. I determined, years ago as a child, that a ringing telephone offers a choice. Someone wants to communicate with me; Do I want to communicate with someone/anyone else right now? There is no obligation for me. If I don’t feel like talking, ignore it. If it is important enough, they will call again or seek me out.

Now, a couple of caveats:

  1. This does not apply at work. I’m being paid to respond to others. It is an obligation.

  2. If you have children, and they are not at home when the phone rings, then it is your responsibility to answer.

Thankfully, caveat #2 is the reason, IMHO, that answering machines were invented. If it answers, and your kid is on the line, grab your Blue Cross and/or Visa card(s) and pick up.

I’m just glad to know that there are other folks out there who are not slaves to Mr. Bell’s monster.

Reality is for people who can’t handle drugs.

-Tom Waits

I got calls from MCI-Worldcom fifteen times this month. Half of these calls are for the people who had the number I have had for five years before I did, and the people who had the number before them.

So, after demonstrating the inability to maintain a database, and an absolute inability to have respect for my time, MCI-Worldcom has earned a year of personal boycott from me for each call, after the first. I add a year every time I get a call.

I am rude to telemarketers. Very rude, in the most inconvenient way possible. I want being a telemarketer to be a very unpleasant and unrewarding line of work. I hope that my efforts in this regard are some help in making the practice difficult and unprofitable for the business world in general. I also have decided to go ahead and order stuff for the people who used to have the number, and then claim never to have heard of any of it.

I never order anything over the phone, or over the Internet, or by mail, except one subscription to a magazine, eight years ago. I still get mail from them, even though I never once returned any of their millions of little pieces of trash. I used to stuff junk mail stuff into the opposite company’s return envelopes, and drop them in the mail, but I lost interest in that. The post office won’t send it if you tape the return mail envelope around a brick, I tried.

<p align=“center”>Tris</p>

BTW, the newest device that telemarketing companies use dials five phone numbers simultaneously. When the first party answers, it automatically hangs up on the other four. So, if you’ve been getting a lot of hang-ups lately, it may not be your friendly neighborhood stalker after all.

Keeping this in mind, please spare us all the speeches about politeness. Why should we consumers extend courtesy to an industry that obviously doesn’t extend the same to us.