Suggestions on how to handle this telemarketer?

I’m apparently on a list for a telemarketing company. I guess they’re trying to sell me a debt consolidation service or something. But the point is I don’t want to buy their product and I want them to stop calling me. Here’s the problems:

It’s a robot call. The phone rings and I pick it up. But there’s not another person on the line. It’s just a recorded message. I obviously can’t tell a recording to take me off their list and stop calling me.

If I listen all the way through the recorded message, I’m told I can push 1 to speak to a representative. I’ve done that so I can tell the representative to take me off their call list. But if I have a person on the line and I start to say anything that sounds like I’m about to tell them to take me off their call list, they immediately disconnect the call. I’m assuming this is so they can claim I never actually told them to take me off the call list and they don’t face the legal repercussions for continuing to call me.

Any suggestions on how I can get the message through and get my name off their call list? Or some other means I can use to make them stop?

On what may be a connected issue, someone is calling me on a regular basis. But when I pick up the line there’s nobody there. I’m figuring the likeliest possibility is it’s a defective robocall service. It’s dialing my number but the recording isn’t kicking on when I answer.

Obviously, I could handle this by screening my calls. But I have an old phone that doesn’t have the capability. I’d prefer not to have to buy a new phone to make somebody else stop annoying me. And all call screening would do anyway is tell me they were calling - I’d still have to check the phone when it rang to see who was calling and then listen to the phone ringing when I didn’t pick up. I want them to stop calling entirely.

Cuss them out. Really. Start with “How the fuck do you dare call me, you fucking asshole? What fucking asshole bastard gave you my fucking number? You are never to call me again, you fucking bitch of a cunt. You do and I will fucking sue your fucking ass and your bastard shit of a company. You understand?”

Shouldn’t I include some death threats to really get my message across?

Question–do you really think it wise to leave death threats recorded on somebody else’s machine?

Or even you own?:smack:

Some of those ones you pick up and nobody is there may have been generated by one of those machines that dials five or six numbers at a time–dials them all, and when one picks up, the others are disconnected and recycled. Nothing you can do, unless you are the first person to pick up of all the calls made simultaneously. I was recently on a list with some company that did that (“American Service <something>” I think–caller id only showed American Serv). The phone would ring at least twice a day from them, nobody there. I finally just started picking up and immediately disconnecting–no point in saying Hello to a dead line. They quit after about 3 weeks.

We need more information to provide useful advice. Is this a land line or a cell phone? Do you not have caller ID? Caller ID-enabled phones are very inexpensive; if this is a land line, get one. Have you signed up for the national Do Not Call list? Do so, if you have not.

Some general advice: don’t threaten them with harm or death. Most likely there would be no consequences, because telemarketing companies are run by scum-sucking chucklefucks who don’t care how their employees are treated. But phone threats are still illegal. if the company has any ethics policy at all, the line will be traced and you could be charged.

You will also catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. You would get further with them by pretending to be interested in their scam, get a rep talking for a few minutes, thank them for calling you, and then let them know nicely that you would prefer to be removed from their list.

I work in a call center (not outbound and not telemarketing, ok, but still a call center). It may be difficult for you to keep this in mind, but the people on the other end of those lines are just people working a shitty job they hate. Anyone who threatens me gets hung up on immediately. Anyone who is rude or entitled gets the bare minimum I’m required to do. But for people who are nice to me? I will go an extra hundred miles to make their day better, because they made mine better. So if you manage to get someone on the phone, don’t be a dick–if you do that, you’re only hurting yourself.

Personally, I just don’t answer my phone if I don’t recognize the caller ID. But if you don’t have caller ID, that’s hard advice to take! :slight_smile:

That was a joke, people, and I’m assuming Annie’s post was a joke as well. I’m not going to yell at or swear at or threaten the person on the line. I have no reason to be angry at the person on the line - I just want the company to stop calling me.

As I said, I don’t have caller ID and it’s not an option on my current phone. And I don’t want to buy another phone, especially when it wouldn’t solve the problem. Caller ID won’t stop them from calling me, it would just let me know they’re calling me before I answer the phone. I don’t see how that improves the situation.

I have considered the possibility of stringing them along and acting interested in their product in hopes that I can lull them into complacency and then tell them to stop calling me. I don’t like this idea because I’d instinctively rather be honest than deceitful. But maybe I’ve reached the point where there’s no honest approach that’ll work.

Air Horn.

Because if you’ve signed up for the national DNC list and the same phone number violates it repeatedly, you can report the company for breaking federal law (still don’t know if you’re on the list or not, though). You need to know the number before you can take that sort of action, though, which means you need caller ID.

Is this a land line?

Because you can still buy an old fashioned Answering Machine for under $20.

Then screen your calls, as I did for my entire adult life up until I dumped the land line. Let the call go do the machine. Listen to the message. If it’s someone you want to talk to, pick up. If you’re busy or you don’t want to talk to them, let the machine do it’s work. I had everyone I knew trained fairly well that “It’s going to go to the answering machine. If you want to talk to me, leave a message. If I’m there, I’ll pick up.”

As for getting it to stop completely, nice dream, won’t happen. Especially not in an election year.

But companies who are violating the DCL will either spoof or block their number.

Yup. We get a ton of “unknown number” calls, and some of these are total robocalls that never have a human on the line, or just have some silence and then it disconnects.

The ones I really “love” are the collection agencies calling for a sister-in-law who used to live upstairs; a lot of time we’ll get a recorded message on the answering machine citing the Fair Debt Collections act and saying that it’s my job to hang up now (oops, you’re talking to a machine!) to avoid violating privacy, and then it goes on to have the collection message.

Serious answer? These people are most likely thieves, usually using spoofed numbers, and there’s nothing you can do to stop them. They don’t care about Do Not Call lists (although I report them just to be sure) and they’re probably threatened several times an hour. If I’m not busy, I put them on speaker phone and play along, while continuing doing whatever I was up to. It’s like being part of an improv class! There’s usually an option to opt out of calls, but choosing that always just disconnects the call, so be sure and get an actual operator.
Of course, I consider the Nigerian email scammers to be penpals.

Sorry, that earlier post posted in part, and way too soon.

Because if you’ve signed up for the national DNC list and the same phone number violates it repeatedly, you can report the company for breaking federal law (still don’t know if you’re on the list or not, though). You need to know the number before you can take that sort of action, though, which means you need caller ID. It’s hard to imagine how being repeatedly trolled by telemarketers *doesn’t *make it a priority for you upgrade your phone. Caller ID technology is decades old at this point, there’s no legitimate reason *not *to have it by now.

That said, there are certain brands of telemarketer that you CAN’T stop, but you can still screen them… so screening your calls (and possibly turning your ringer off at night) would be a good way to avoid the most egregious offenders. Other possibilities would be getting a new phone number, or switching from a landline to a smartphone (which would also give you a new number, as well as access to apps that are capable of blocking unsolicited calls, or google voice etc that can route unknown callers directly to voicemail).

If you’re still using an old-fashioned rotary phone, though, you have effectively chosen to severely limit your options.

There really is very little you can do. The company is almost certainly selling a scam which violates several laws, so what do they care if they violate some poorly enforced Do Not Call list? If they are a legitimate company, they will almost certainly remove you if you ask (corporate bureaucratic stupidity excluded). If they’re not a legitimate company, then they don’t care if they remove you, even though the law requires that they do. You can file a complaint with the FCC, and the more information you provide the better. If you can figure out what they call themselves, what their contact information is, or anything like that it will make the report worthwhile. You can file a report that just says, “I got a robot call at 8:30pm,” but obviously the FCC can’t do much with that.

If it’s a cell phone, particularly a smart phone, you can often block numbers. I have an app on my Android phone which I use to block unwanted numbers. I get a call from an unwanted number, then add it to the blacklist, and then I never see when that number calls me again. If it’s a landline without caller ID then your options are extremely limited. You can try talking to your phone provider and see if they can do something. You can port your number to google voice, which can filter calls.

As for doing nasty things to the person on the other end. It can be a fun game, and I don’t have much sympathy for the caller. They’re probably not some abused drone working an honest job in a legitimate call center, but the bottom rung hustler in some criminal organization. Of course abusing them isn’t going to get you anything, other than maybe a laugh. There are devices which are supposed to play the “out of service” tone to trick the robot to remove your number from the list, but my guess is they don’t work, because the caller doesn’t care if your number’s out of service or not. They’ll just keep calling back until they move onto the next batch of numbers.

This is what we do. We do have caller ID, but it’s just about useless nowadays. We don’t even have a personalized message on our answering machine, just the prefab message that was programmed into it.

If you do get a person on the line, say very quickly and emphatically, “Do not call here again,” and hang up. Do not engage with them in any other way. You’re far better off if you just don’t answer.

We had one the other day that showed up with an 800 number and the location listed as something like “XKSIDYBVGCTD, NY.” I felt kind of sad. They’re not even trying any more.

To answer some questions I have a regular phone (a land line), I have an answering machine, and I am on the DNC list.

This is a possibility. The calls identify the company and I can start keeping records of when they call.

Go to this site and record the tones on your answering machine, then record your greeting after it. The robot will hear the tones, think your phone has been disconnected and drop you from the list.

I just want to check. This won’t stop regular calls from coming through, will it?