Dealing with Telemarketers
The Politics eZine - Economics

We Want Your Money

By Suzanne MacNevin - December 2007.

Telemarketers want your money. That is the end result of all of their calls.

It is relentless too. No matter how many times you hang up the phone, ask them to take you off their list or threaten a lawsuit for invasion of privacy they end up phoning you again with the same stupid products.

I've tried pretending not to speak English.

I've told them off and spoken to their supervisor.

I've told them "Go get a real job!"

Eventually I decided to simply pull the plug and switch to a cell phone completely. I still get the occasional telemarketer, but then the answer is simple: "This is cell phone, fuck off."

Some people always screen their calls using call display and don't answer if they don't recognize the number.

Some people don't even answer their phones but screen all calls using an answering machine. (This really annoys your friends however.)

Some people get unlisted numbers, but that does not work.

Some people even buy a device called "EZ Hang Up". As soon as you realize you have a telemarketer just press the button, hang up the phone, while the telemarketer listens to a recording informing them that their call is unwelcome.

Some people even buy an expensive device called a "Telezapper" which screens out the computerized dial tone used by telemarketers. It also screens out pollsters and charities.

There has been a lot of talk in Canada of creating a National Do Not Call Service service, but there are some problems: There are no laws guaranteeing that telemarketers won't use those numbers anyway and no penalties even if they do. The service is easily ignored when there isn't any penalties or laws to back it up.

There are some tips for pissing off telemarketers however:

Say "Hold On Please", set down the phone and walk away.

If you get a machine calling you try pressing #, 6 or 7 repeatedly. The computer will think you are a modem or a fax machine and remove your number from their list.

Don't say yes. If you do end up in a conversation with a telemarketer never use the word yes. Use words like maybe, possibly, I don't know, etc.

Don't hang up, pretend to be hard of hearing. Make them repeat everything they say at least 3 or 4 times by saying "Pardon, I didn't hear that. Could you talk more slowly?"

Hanging up as you may have figured out doesn't work. They will just keep calling anyway.

Telemarketing works because eventually they find connect someone stupid or gullible that has a need or want with a product they may or may not actually need, want or use. The trick is that telemarketers are extremely cost sensitive. They need to complete as many calls as quickly as possible until one of their victims becomes a sale. So the longer you aggravate them or waste their time the more likely they are not to make any sales.

So the best solutions some times is to simply waste their time, but without giving them any of your info. Consume their time as long as possible but without acting like you're annoying them.

ie. "Just a second I need to put the dog out." and then walk away for 5 minutes.

Or: "My pasta is burning."

"My pizza is here."

Anything to get you off the phone and keep them hanging on the line.

The more money of their that you can waste the more likely their company will become economically unprofitable and unable to pay their employees.

Eventually the privacy laws need to catch up with the technology and the economics of the situation will fall apart. Perhaps the most important thing to do is to pressure politicians to finally create laws against telemarketing.

Permanent Solution to Telemarketers - Pretend to be Deaf / Senile, a Child, etc

By Rick Pettigrew - September 22nd 2014

Asides from ripping out your phone / changing your phone number one of the best solutions for getting rid of telemarketers is to pretend to be deaf / senile.

"Congratulations sir! You've won a free cruise to Mexico!"

"Billy is that you? Let me go get my hearing aids." and then leave the phone off the hook while you pretend to get your hearing aids.

The next time the same company calls you then you use a different line.

"Oh gosh I remember you. One second I will get you Beatrice's phone number." and again, leave the phone off the hook while you pretend to fetch the number.

After 3 or 4 times of doing this (have a prepared list of things to say) they will stop calling.

Another way to do this is to use a little kids voice and say "One second I will go get mommy!", "Mommy is in the shower.", "Daddy went to the grocery store.", "My head is stuck to the counter.", etc. Basically just imitate Ralph Wiggum from the Simpsons and you will do fine.

Another route - and I admit this one relies on you to use a fake accent - is to pretend to be a newcomer to the country and speak in a super thick accent (my favourite is to speak in English, but using a super thick Scottish accent. Learn a few Scottish colloquialisms and how to do a super thick Scottish accent and getting telemarketer calls will suddenly be enjoyable.

If they cannot understand you then communication will simply break down and they will give up when they realize they are wasting their time.

Lastly, my favourite is to pretend to be really hard of hearing. Pretend that you don't have your hearing aid and ask them to speak up, repeat themselves constantly, tell them "Sorry I still cannot hear you. Can you speak louder?" Basically just pretend that you are suffering from extreme hearing loss and they will give up.

Someone else told me once their immediate response to telemarketers is to say "I don't have a credit card." to which they immediately apologize and hang up. Apparently once they realize you don't have a credit card they just give up.

The purpose of all the examples above is to make the telemarketer give up permanently and mark you down in their notes as a waste of time.

Exception - Autodialers.

Having a machine call you means it is time to hang up and block their number. Just make a routine of blocking any number from a machine. Usually if it is a number from the USA you can spot it using call display so you never have to listen to the recording in the first place.