10 Confessions Of A Telemarketing Insider

Out of the shadows steps a dark figure, sporting wrinkled khakis, a retractable namebadge, and a headset dangling from his ear. It’s the telermarketing insider, and he’s going to confess to you how his industry really works and how you can resist and even fight back:

From Reddit, spotted by Wisebread:

“I’ve worked at a few different telemarketing centers over the past couple years, and I’ve gained quite a bit of knowledge about the industry, and more importantly, how to resist the industry.

First of all, if you have no knowledge of telemarketing, I’d say that 90% of telemarketing calls come from centers, not the business itself. I have no way to test that statistic, but seeing as the centers I worked for were part of corporations that took clients like Bank of America, Westinghouse, EA Games, Siemens, etc and had centers all over the world, only the small fry do it themselves.

These days telemarketing reps are mostly pawns. Most of them only know enough about the product or service they’re selling to read you a script and rebuttal some simple questions you might have. They don’t pick their number. Most centers run on an auto-dialer that recycles lists of numbers monthly.

Here’s a couple quick tips:

10. Don’t immediately hang up when you find out it’s a telemarketer!
So many people do this, and you know what the reps do? They mark it as an early hang-up and since no pitch was made, you’re put right back on the list to be called again.

9. Don’t get pissed off at the rep.
I’ve seen many reps purposefully put customers that request not to be called back on the calling list for as soon as 10 minutes later if they’re obnoxiously rude or ignorant.

8. If you don’t want the product, don’t just decline.
Most people that aren’t interested in the product are put back on the lists until they request not to be called anymore. Politely declining the offer will just get you another call in the future. (I know that myself and other reps have put polite people on our do not call lists even if they didn’t request it. We could get fired for this, but some people are too nice for me to want to bug again, and the chances of getting caught are slim.)

7. Don’t try to trick the rep
Saying you aren’t there even when you are, claiming not to speak english, and other “tricks” I’ve seen people recommend are really counter-productive, as most of the time you get put back on the list (and if you claim you speak spanish, you’ll be put on a list to have a spanish speaking rep call you.)

6. Try not to get mad when a rep rebuttals a refusal
At many jobs I’ve head in the field, reps only get fired because of a couple reasons. Swearing on the phone, attendence issues, or not rebutting a customer. We are required to give one rebuttal every call. When we’ve received 2 no’s, we can disconnect the call. If you’re getting multiple rebuttals in a call, it’s probably a less than respectable call center, rep, or product and it’s best to ask for a supervisor to escalate your do not call request.

5. If you are on the National DNC list
You can still get telemarketing calls! If you have a business-client relationship (say a bank of america checking account) bank of america can call you about products and services. You can also still receive political and non-profit calls (my favorite to make. You simply poll people for information, no pressure to sell anything.)

So when you get a telemarketing call on behalf of a company and asked to be put on their do-no-call list (a method that only works for respectible call centers), you’ll be put on that client’s do-not-call list. This means that you won’t get any calls on any offers from that client. However, since most call centers have anywhere from 5-20 different clients at once, you’re most likely still in the system for at least one of those other lists.

A better way to deal with that is to speak to a supervisor, ask them what call center they’re calling from, and request to be put on the call center’s do not call list. This disables the call center from calling you.

Another trick to be put on call lists faster is to threaten legal action against the client company if the calls don’t cease. Most centers will require the rep to fill out a form with information about the call. This information gets sent up the ladder, and most of the time gets dealt with within 2-3 business days (as opposed to 30). You don’t have to be a dick about this though. You can simply state “I will be taking my business elsewhere” or “if these calls continue I’m going to have no choice but to contacting the FTC, please escalate my case.”

4. TCPA
This is very important, and everyone who hates telemarketing calls should be aware of this. At my first couple telemarketing jobs, I had no idea about the TCPA (telephone consumer protection act.) My first job I did inbound tech support, so since people were calling us, I didn’t have to deal with it.

My second job was a sketchy-as-fuck call center. They actually eventually got investigated for fraud by the FBI. Some of the things they had us do which I later learned were illegal:

ask for another member of the house that might be interested in the product
call cell phones
rebuttal until the customer hung up
capture credit information with a pen and paper (not illegal, but still not cool)
call times zones at inappropriate times

That call center sold infomercial products, and I learned a couple things there.

3. Don’t buy from infomercials
sure some might be legit, but it’s hard to judge. We used simple circle talking techniques to trick people into buying our product. In the infomercial it was $120. We had a list of people that called the number from the infomercial but didn’t buy the product. We called them back and offered the same product for $45. Then if they refused we’d go down to $35 and eventually $25 as a last resort effort. They were willing to sell this product for $25, and people were buying it for over 4 times that much! (employees got the product for $5)

We also had “add-ons” that we were given cash each day for each one we sold. They were stupid things like redeemable gift cards and gas cards for $1. These sound too good to be true and they are. The trial period before you get charged 20-30 a month for the program ends after 14 days, and 90% of the time the information didn’t reach the customer for almost a month.

This means a couple things. First of all, if the customer didn’t write down the number we provided once in the call to cancel, or lost the number, they’re gonna get charged for a full month of the service. Second of all, most the rebates and cards had so many hoops to jump through that the offers were expired by the time everything was done.

2. Your Legal Rights (and how to use them)

According to TCPA, telemarketers cannot:

call before 8am or after 9pm
call your cell phone
hide who they are or who they’re calling on behalf of
call you if you’re on the national do not call list
call with a pre-recorded message (unless it contains the information below)

in addition, within the first 4 seconds of a call, the rep must reveal who they are, where they’re calling from, and who they’re calling on behalf of.

If a telemarketer breaks any of these rules, you can sue them!

Just look around the internet, a bunch of people have gotten settlements out of court as well as filed their own small claims. The fine is $500, so it’s more of a slap in the face to the telemarketing companies than it is a legitimate way to hurt their business.

1. No Rebuttal and Permission to Continue States
Some states have laws that require the rep ask your permission to continue and some states have laws to terminate the call after your first refusal. Does this work? Sometimes. Most of the time a rep is using a flex script, which cuts out some junk talk to make the sale easier. If the rep is being monitored by a client company, they’ll read verbatim and follow each law to a tea. If you live in a no-rebuttal state or permission to continue state, know about it! It’s another tool you can use to get them off your back.

list of states and their telemarketing laws

What to do with this information

weed out bad call centers from good ones. Some of them (like the bank of america call center) offer services that really are valuable to the customer and won’t rip them off. For example, since the call is on behalf of bank of america, and they already have your personal data, the rep never has access to it. All the rep does is confirm you are who you say you are, and records your authorization to have your bank account billed for the service.

Also remember that if you’re making trouble for reps, you may be getting someone fired. They get minimum wage, and are forced to try to sell to customers all day even if they don’t want to. I’ve seen reps fired because they were on the phone too long with someone playing a prank on them. In some areas, the only available jobs in a 40 mile radius are call centers and fast food, keep that in mind before you heckle someone.

If anyone has any additional questions, I’ll do my best to answer. I can answer some questions about the inbound (tech support) side of telemarketing, but it’s not that interesting in my opinion.

edit

Seems a lot of people don’t get the point of this list. I’ll try to sum some things up that were repeated a lot in the comments.

  • The people that get so many different marketing calls that it becomes a nuisance and want them all to stop.

  • If you’re getting called by a center that is abusing TCPA laws, sue them! this comment spells out how you’re able to do that better than I did.

  • Edit 2: this link will point you towards some sites that easily spell out how to sue a telemarketer breaking the TCPA. If you don’t want to get the calls anymore, this is the most effective way of ensuring that center never calls you again (while netting $500 for you)”

    IAmA Telemarketer who wants to save you from me (advice inside) [Reddit via Wisebread]

Comments

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  1. repete7 says:

    Suing might be an option in theory, but how do you get contact information to be able to do it? I once asked a telemarketer (who said he was calling about my credit card) for the number to get off their list and he gave me a phone sex line number.

  2. oblivious87 says:

    I called and asked for donations from alumni for my school. It was a great way to connect with people and see how my school helped them, but at the same time, I’ll totally agree with every confession on here.

    I would have people yell at me as soon as I finished my pitch. This was usually because they were eating dinner or watching the news. I can totally understand why you don’t want to be bothered, but first off, don’t answer you phone if you don’t want to be bothered, and second off, yelling at me will only result in me putting you as a non-personal callback 5 minutes later.

    One guy did this to everyone who was working that night and he was called 10 different times because a) he never asked to be not be called again and b) he would yell at every person he called.

    Also, it drove me nuts when I would state who I was and they would lie that so and so wasn’t available at the time, even though the kid graduated 2 years ago and you were obviously calling a cell phone because the area code was different then the area they lived. A callback would only lead to the voicemail confirming this.

    Telemarketers might be considered scum, but I did it to pay the bills. I was working and going to school and to have some dick treat me like I was the piece of gum he stepped on would only result in me trying to make him feel just as miserable.

    A simple “sorry, i’m not interested, please take me off the list. good luck though with your cause” is all it takes to get off the list forever and ever. I would go above and beyond for these types and 99% of the time, remove their numbers so they didn’t get called if the people who managed the lists failed to remove the number.

    • Anonymously says:

      @oblivious87: “don’t answer you phone if you don’t want to be bothered” My phone ringing bothers me. My phone ringing from the same number repeatedly for 6 months straight REALLY bothers me. It feels like a minor invasion of my personal space, no different than a solicitor knocking on my door.

    • SatanicGuinea says:

      @oblivious87: I answer the phone because a loved one may be in an emergency situation. Caller ID doesn’t always show their number, so I always answer the phone.

      Sorry, I don’t put you on the same pedestal as my family. You can get off of your pompous and righteous high horse.

      Its amazing how imbecilic people such as yourself have no clue as to why someone would be pissed off at a frivolous phone call during dinner time. Get a clue.

    • Trick says:

      @oblivious87:

      Telemarketers are scum just as your defense of them is scummy. What kind of dick puts someone back on a call back list because he or she didn’t want to be bothered? Answering the phone to talk with your friend and relative is far different than some scumbag telemarketer with the train of thought that if you don’t want to talk to him on the phone, don’t answer the phone.

      No matter how much you try to justify how you were not a scumbag, you were. Scumbag.

      • DangerMouth says:

        @Trick: as a friend of mine says, I’d rather have a brother who was a prostitute than a sister who was a telemarketer.

      • JulesNoctambule says:

        @Trick: I don’t feel your post made adequate use of the term ‘scumbag’. You need to personally attack the poster some more.

      • oblivious87 says:

        @Trick: Just how everyone says I should have considered the person on the other end of the line, why wouldn’t you do the same? In the end, I couldn’t care less if you felt I was a bother, a scumbag, or just an overall jackass. I still sleep soundly at night and so will you. Just don’t expect me to feel bad for you for being a rude asshole to me and expect me to risk losing my job so I don’t bother you anymore.

        @samurailynn: That’s a pretty bold “if” statement. Calling alumni and asking for money and putting them back on the list if they neither refuse or make a pledge is a little different then going out and killing someone. As far as people liking me for my job, that’s not the point here. As I said to Trick, being rude to me wasn’t going to make me want to risk losing my job so I don’t call you anymore.

        Telemarketers hate jackasses, just as much as those jackasses hated us. But in the end, you being rude is more entertaining on my end rather then yours!

        • curmudgeon5 says:

          @oblivious87: You wrote: “Just how everyone says I should have considered the person on the other end of the line, why wouldn’t you do the same?” Because I didn’t call you and interrupt you you unsolicited; you did.

          Look, I don’t think telemarketers are “scum.” But I do think that’s a bit ridiculous to have an attitude when people are rude to you when you call, or to get all self-righteous about how you’d treat them better if they just knew what magic words to use to get you to stop calling. You take the job because you’re desperate; I understand that. But go into it knowing that you’re going to be pissing people off, and don’t get an attitude about that, and act like they owe you any courtesy.

          • PipeRifle says:

            I don’t understand why people who feel they are so superior to telemarketers feel that they are then justified in “sinking to their level.” Someone annoys you so you make their life miserable? Why not take the high ground and be polite and brief (which, more than likely, is ACTUALLY how the telemarketer is acting toward you) and be done with it?

            Does yelling and throwing a tantrum somehow get you the 10 seconds back that you spent picking up the phone? What will you do to get back the 2 minutes you spent screaming at some bored college kid who will in no way be impacted by your words?

          • oblivious87 says:

            @curmudgeon5: Believe me, I knew going into it that people would be rude to me. And I completely understand why someone would be pissed off.

            That still doesn’t change the fact that there isn’t much I can do about it without having someone ask me to take them off the list. Most people when they get angry, forget that minor detail which would force me to keep you on the list and you’d get another call back.

            Personally, I’d much rather have a refusal or have someone ask me to take them off the list then to yell and hangup. In the end, I didn’t have a response which would get me in trouble because not getting a response is worse then getting a refusal.

            If you can scream “PUT ME ON THE PERMANENT NO CALL LIST”, that method works just as well, but telling me that you’re busy and i should leave you alone only suggests I should try back another time.

            I needed the words “NO CALL LIST” to move you to that list. From my experience, if someone wasn’t interested and they said it in a nice manner, I’d ask them if they’d like me to call them back at another time which resulted in them either saying “sure” or “no, please take me off the list”. Too many people who are upset hung up before I could get to that point and as a result, they needed to be called back.

            Believe me, the school would much rather have a list of people who were only interested in talking to them rather then calling useless numbers where people ignored them and took away from the time where donations could be made.

            • Lemony-Fresh says:

              @oblivious87: “I needed the words “NO CALL LIST” to move you”

              It’s NOT our responsibility to know exactly what “Magic Word” to say. You’re the one acting like an immature slimebucket and peskering us on OUR TELEPHONE in OUR HOUSE. You may not be “scum” in other parts of your life, but trust me, in this case, you’re scum.

    • samurailynn says:

      @oblivious87: Yes, you’re “just doing your job”. If the university asked you to then go out and kill the people who didn’t donate, I suppose you would do that too, as long as it knocked another 10k off your college tuition. Sorry, but doing your job doesn’t mean that anyone will like you for it. Actually, come to think of it… if a college is paying people to do telemarketing to raise funds so that those telemarketers can afford to go to college… that’s something I don’t want to support.

      • lmarconi says:

        @samurailynn: The only people I felt less bad about calling were people who had received full or most of their tuition paid for by similar donations twenty years ago. Granted telemarketing is a crap way to raise money (though it’s surprisingly cost effective for the university), so maybe these people donated through another channel. However,I went to school on a partial scholarship and I always thought donating in some way for these people seemed like a way to pass on the gift that they’d received to someone else.

    • PipeRifle says:

      @oblivious87: I just wanted to say that you stated your case in a way that made sense and you don’t seem to be sadistic or disagreeable in any way.

      People who don’t have to work a “bad” job in their life seem to have a real easy time criticizing those who do, and the lack of empathy around here is shocking. You’re not even talking about the sleazy telemarketing; what you did could be considered an expected nuisance, at best. Every college begs alumni for money, and someone needs to be there to do the begging.

      Just wanted to let you know that not everyone thinks you’re scum just because you did a job one time.

    • lmarconi says:

      @oblivious87: I also called for my school during college and I concur with a lot of these points. It was a last resort job for me, as it is with lots of people. I desperately needed a job and the money was good. A friend recommended it to me and I didn’t think it would be that sketchy because as a freshman, I still had some respect for my university. It ended up being the first and only job I ever quit/was fired from. For these reasons, I don’t necessarily think everyone who telemarkets is a scumbag. Lots of people take lots of jobs in desperate situations and it’s better than not working at all and the pay is generally better than Mickey Ds if you have limited skill sets.
      – People screaming at me generally did not make me want to put them on a do not call list, mostly because I was too busy crying (I don’t take yelling very well). I had the power to do it and would quite happily do it when someone asked nicely. I actually felt good when someone asked me to take them off the list because I was one of the few that wouldn’t fight them on it (reason 1 why I was fired).
      – Don’t just say that it’s a bad time or whatever because you’ll get called back. Honestly, so many excuses that people regularly give get you called back. Just ask to be taken off the list. Repeat if necessary.
      – We frequently called cell phones, because that’s often the number alumni gave. I didn’t even know that was illegal until now.
      – Telemarketers are paid on commission. We had special rewards days, office competitions, etc etc. Some kids (me) would rather take their $10.50 per hour than beg someone on the phone to donate $25 to get an extra ten percent. Some kids (most of those that stayed all four years) wanted that extra $150 per month and a free school sweatshirt and would work for it. I think a lot of them were also kids who were easily able to separate the task they were supposed to do from the morals involved. They played games on their laptop or studied while they called and tried their best not to think about what they were doing. Some people can do it, I couldn’t.
      – 95% of university calling is run by a company called Telefund. If you have any complaints, they’re the company you want to mention to the AG/BBB.
      – We are punished if we go off the script and eventually fired. Frankly, I was fired because I spent a lot of time on the phone talking to elderly alumni who had fabulous stories about the good ol’ days and seemed happy that someone wanted to listen. One time I gave someone directions to a wedding (they happened to be going to the area near my hometown). That was the best part of the whole job, and when I was told that I needed to stay on the script and hang up immediately if someone wanted to gab, I quit.

      • oblivious87 says:

        @lmarconi: “We are punished if we go off the script and eventually fired. Frankly, I was fired because I spent a lot of time on the phone talking to elderly alumni who had fabulous stories about the good ol’ days and seemed happy that someone wanted to listen. One time I gave someone directions to a wedding (they happened to be going to the area near my hometown). That was the best part of the whole job, and when I was told that I needed to stay on the script and hang up immediately if someone wanted to gab, I quit.”

        That was my favorite part of the job. I spent an hour on the phone listening to a guy talk about his company where he made mobile living units for the military and made his small fortune doing it. In the end, the guy donated $10k not only because he wanted to give back to the school, but because I actually took the time to listen about all of his accomplishments in life.

        Fortunately my school allowed us to chat with alumni within reason. It definitely made a crappy job more enjoyable.

        @VagrantRadio: I’m not trying to change your mind of telemarketers. To you, I’m scum. I honestly don’t care what you think of me. I’m not even trying to defend my actions. All I’m trying to do is say that being nice works wonders, especially with a group of people who are used to being shat on.

        Since working that job, I’ve never had a problem with having a telemarketer leaving me alone or getting a customer service rep to work hard at resolving my problem. It seems like everyone here who thinks I’m scum fails to realize why these people won’t help them and when I explain, they ignore that as well.

        • ovalseven says:

          @oblivious87: “…when I was told that I needed to stay on the script and hang up immediately if someone wanted to gab, I quit.”

          But if someone got angry and made it quite clear they didn’t want to “gab”, you called them back. Go figure.

          • oblivious87 says:

            @ovalseven: You do realize I quoted lmarconi and I never said that myself. But have fun being a tool and putting words in my mouth.

            @Brian Nunchux: Brian, you basically said it best. People can yell and rant and rave all they want, but their time would be better spent being calm and asking to not be called anymore. I’m not saying its right that someone can’t just hang up and it can be assumed that the person wants to not be called, and since this isn’t the case, you make due with the situation and waste 5 minutes of your time asking for someone to take you off the list rather then take 5 minutes everyday and yelling at them.

            • ovalseven says:

              @oblivious87: Well, you did say you liked to gab. I just quoted the wrong sentence. Sorry.

              “That was my favorite part of the job.”

              Better?

              • oblivious87 says:

                @ovalseven: Regardless, you put words in my mouth. Which still makes you a tool. A few alumni actually enjoyed talking to current students, its the reason why they made students do it instead of some third party. Those people made the job enjoyable at times.

                I never called them back because they didn’t want to “gab” to with me. I called them back because they didn’t give me a response.

      • katia802 says:

        I worked for a time in telemarketing for a charity. Was very lucky in that i wasn’t selling anything, just reminding them that we needed donations. As I was officially the supervisor (over a department of one, me) i got to spend time talking to lonely folks when they wanted without being screamed at that I was taking too much time. Made the job bearable.

    • Brian Nunchux says:

      @oblivious87: Thanks for the stories. Seriously though, folks, what’s up with all the hate? Sure, we all dread the calls from telemarketers, they make us angry, etc, etc. But what’s with all this “get a better job” bs? Seriously, for those of you who have actually gone to college, you should know that finding a job that is willing to cater to your college schedule is next to impossible. If you need money while going through college, you need a job that can accommodate a schedule that changes every 4 months, and there are very few of those out there. Most of those are call center or fast food work (I worked fast food for 4 years to pay my way through college). It’s nice to think that anybody can just wander out and get a “respectable” job that pays well and is flexible enough to work around school hours, but we don’t actually live in that world.

      Second, there seems to be a HUGE disconnect between what you want to do and what actually works. When we get calls from telemarketers, we want to get angry and scream and swear at the person calling us. How dare they interrupt our dinner! But the simple fact of the matter is that this does NOT accomplish anything.

      Sure, we’d like our yelling and swearing and threatening to fix the problem, but it doesn’t, as these two have pointed out. Perhaps there’s a policy that doesn’t allow it, or the rep on the other end of the line feels like being a turd or whatever, the simple fact of the matter is being rude doesn’t solve the problem. I’d like it to just as much as the next person, believe me. What DOES solve the problem (according to these folks anyway)is being polite and simply asking to be removed from the list. “Take my name off your calling list.” Problem fixed (most of the time).

      I mean, you can give in to what you WANT to do (get mad and scream) and continue to deal with the problem of telemarketers calling you when you’re eating dinner, or you can be polite for 5 minutes and not have to deal with that problem again.

      Now, I’m not saying you don’t necessarily have the right to yell or whatever (that is debatable – I have certainly done it many times before), I’m just saying take a step back and look at what is going to be an effective use of the time you’re already spending on the phone with a telemarketer.

      When you step back and look at it from the perspective of which approach actually gives you RESULTS… isn’t it worth 5 minutes of being (fake) nice in order to not receive the really annoying calls any more?

      • Walkallovaya says:

        @Brian Nunchux: I totally agree about the difficulty of getting a job. It just sucked where I went to school, unless you wanted restaurant work, and even then it was not easy. “This American Life” did a feature about a rest stop in upstate New York where they interviewed the workers. Turns out they were shipped in from somewhere in Eastern Europe (Serbia? Slovakia?) because American teens were too difficult to deal with. Americans would slack off and want vacation time, etcetera, so the company operating this rest stop just went to shipping in these youngish Eastern Europeans and even housing them.

        Evidence that there really is discrimination against American school kids for some low paying jobs.

        During college, I once interviewed to push buggies at Wal Mart, and did NOT get hired.

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        @Brian Nunchux: Here’s where the hate is:

        “yelling at me will only result in me putting you as a non-personal callback 5 minutes later.”

        It’s immature, vindictive, and done deliberately to piss someone off. People work at telemarketers, no big deal. But oblivious is claiming “don’t get mad, I HAVE to annoy you to stay in college, they MAKE me” and in the same breath admitting that s/he goes out of his way to punish people who are rude to him. That’s unprofessional. (And yes, I’ve had jobs where I’ve taken abuse from the public. It’s unprofessional to strike back.)

        I am never rude to the college students who do alumni solicitations for my college. But then, they aren’t paid — they’re volunteers who get paid in pizza. So they have no motivation to be rude. They’re always polite, only call me once a “call season” (about every two years, these days), and have my alumni stat sheet up so usually the student who calls has something in common with me — from my hometown, lives in my dorm, involved in the same extracurriculars. (On occasion, is even someone I’m related to.) When I politely say I donate to the annual appeal (Christmas mailing), they ask if there’s anything they can update in my alumni record or do I need any assistance with anything related to the school, and they transfer me to alumni relations if there is.

        My husband’s college uses a call center. They call repeatedly; there’s some number of times they have to call before giving up, they ask repeatedly on every call if we’ll donate, they’re obviously hitting metrics and on a “hard sell” script. They know nothing about us except that we’re grads, they’re not invested in the school, they hate what they’re doing.

        It’s colored our picture of the two schools, and I’m sure you can guess which one we donate to and which one we try to avoid calls from.

        • Brian Nunchux says:

          @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): Don’t get me wrong, I definitely agree with you!! I’ve been working in customer service for a very, very long time. On one hand, I certainly know the feeling to want to take vengeance upon some rude a**hole on the other end of the phone or across the counter. BUT, I’ve also understood that it’s not right to strike back, nor is it what I’m actually getting paid to do. Part of what I’m getting paid for is to tolerate (and continue to assist) people who are screaming at me.

          It’s definitely wrong (and immature) to say that just because a customer is rude, I’m going to subject them to more punishment, as oblivious is saying. I thought, at the time I made my post, that oblivious was stating that most people who were rude forgot the key “take me off the list” phrase, and those people were thrown back in… but after a re-read, I see what you are seeing… all rude customers are thrown back in. That kind of behavior IS immature and vindictive.

          I do think my argument from above still applies, that being polite will get you there faster, but I would love to see a company policy that says “punish rude customers” or something similar.

  3. morganlh85 says:

    I agree with the infomercials thing. Wait two weeks and buy it at Target in the As Seen on TV section…you’ll save the shipping charges AND avoid being signed up for a monthly supply of Enzyte.

  4. curmudgeon5 says:

    I’m wondering about the defensive edits at the bottom of the post, since they were there when there were only two comments posted (neither of which would have prompted those edits).

    In any case … When I’ve asked a telemarketer for a supervisor, they’ve hung up on me. Every single time.

    Also, I hate the whole “try not to get mad when a rep rebuts a refusal because they’re required to rebut several times” advice. And that shouldn’t piss us off because why exactly?

    • mizike says:

      @curmudgeon5: “And that shouldn’t piss us off because why exactly?”

      Well
      1) They’re just doing their shitty, shitty, jobs. While you have every right to be pissed off it may be worth it to consider that they don’t want to be asking you any more than you want to hear it.

      2) As the OP mentions several times, if you treat them like shit they’re much more likely to put you on the call back list. Freak out on them as much as you want, just know that the frequency of calls is likely to increase not decrease.

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        @mizike: Yes, but …

        The companies that put these sorts of harassments in place rely on the fact that we have too much human feeling towards the representative in question to be rude about it and that we’ll feel guilt because they’ll get FIRED if we let our annoyance show. I’m not into being rude or getting people fired, but that shit’s still not okay.

  5. lalaland13 says:

    Anything I can do to get people to stop calling me and asking for Ashley because she signed up for some “business opportunity?” I’ve told them I’m not her and no I am not interested in this “opportunity” and please take me off this list and do not call again. I keep getting calls, but not nearly as often.

    I had a few friends who worked at a call center in our college town. It was hell on earth with horrible turnover. One of my favorite stories was when a friend called a guy who was watching a porno and the guy started describing the porn or something.

  6. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    It is bad enough even when you have a legit reason to call people. I worked in an in bound call center, but occasionally we would set up appointments to contact customers to ensure an issue was resolved or to gather more information.

    Sometimes, you’d get someone completely unfamiliar with the callers problem and they’d think it was telemarketing and hang up. That always made me sad because “technically” I was supposed to mark off that I tried to contact the customer back, but they’d inevitably call in wondering why I didn’t call.

  7. itrek says:

    I have no pity for those that say telemarketing is the only job available to them. If nobody would take those jobs maybe telemarketing would stop. I don’t think that would be a bad thing. I would support a law in a second that would eliminate telemarketing altogether including those that have business relationships with you, charities, and political calls. Telemarketing is someone using my paid resource (my phone) in a way I don’t want them to with no benefit to me. There should be an easy way to stop it completely. At least not for those that don’t want it. It’s already not allowed for cell phones. Why can’t we have that for land lines too?

    • NatalieErin says:

      @itrek: Wait, you want other people to be unemployed so you won’t be bothered? WTF?

      Ferchrissake, chill out. Yes, telemarketers are annoying. But why should the people who are desperate enough to take that job have to suffer to save you 10 minutes of annoyance? And no, telemarketing is not morally equivalent to killing cats or people, or theft, or any of the other actual crimes people in this thread want to equate it to. Get some perspective, people.

    • Scarlet_Begonias_and_a_touch_of_the_Blues says:

      @itrek: And what jobs do you suggest people who have limited skill sets get? Just because you don’t agree with someone’s job does not make it any less of a job. What kind of jobs were you able to get when you had no work skills to speak of and you were just starting out? I know there are professional telemarketers out there, but there are also plenty of people who take these jobs because they can’t get anything else.

  8. lehrdude says:

    My worst nightmare was AT&T calling to collect a bill from the person who had my number before me.

    Finally, I just gave up and sent in my identifaction so they would just stop calling me.

  9. grimdeath9740 says:

    All the more reason not to have a landline. Me and my wife have been cell phone only for well over 6 years with almost none of these. There have been a few and I will make sure to promptly let them know they are violating the law if they call again :)

  10. SarcasticDwarf says:

    “and are forced to try to sell to customers all day even if they don’t want to” – These kind of statement piss me off. A person ALWAYS has a choice, though they may not like the options available to them. Playing it off in this way does not excuse the actions of the individual.

  11. Mr. Chip says:

    Also remember that if you’re making trouble for reps, you may be getting someone fired. They get minimum wage, and are forced to try to sell to customers all day even if they don’t want to. I’ve seen reps fired because they were on the phone too long with someone playing a prank on them. In some areas, the only available jobs in a 40 mile radius are call centers and fast food, keep that in mind before you heckle someone.

    Wah wah wah. Go get your GED.

    • pb5000 says:

      @Mr. Chip: I read that too and heard the violin playing. People relocate for a better job all the time. I understand that situations exists where it would be very difficult for someone to move, then I wonder who is eating at the fast food places? It can’t be all those telemarketers who are making min-wage, they likely can’t afford it?

      There are always better options, go find them, we are fortunate enough to live in a country that allows us to create our own destiny. If you feel that fast food or telemarketing are your only options, I feel sorry for you.

    • DoubleBaconVeggieBurger says:

      @Mr. Chip: Or, ya know, move.

  12. GMFish says:

    Don’t immediately hang up when you find out it’s a telemarketer!

    I’ll never forget the time I immediately hung up on a telemarketer. He immediately called me back and hung up on me. It was hilarious.

    Now I keep them on the line as long as I can without saying anything of substance. It’s the least I can do.

    • ninjatoddler says:

      @GMFish: But then you’re wasting everybody’s time and keeping your line busy. I usually just ask them for a call back # and tell them I’d call back later.

      Don’t ask for their name and ID etc. That would make it personal which would mean that agent would then try to remember you. You don’t want that to happen.

      The way I see it is, put yourself in their shoes and think of the ways you would remove a person from the call list if you were the telemarketer yourself.

  13. FormerlyAnonymous says:

    This list contains a lot of great advice, if you want to spend more time dealing with telemarketers than you ought. I’m not going to stop immediately hanging up on telemarketers unless they start actually harassing me (multiple calls in a week).

  14. Livre says:

    This is very frustrating for me. A telemarketing group has been calling me for four years on behalf of Rogers and asking for someone who is not me. When I explain:

    1. This is not their number
    2. This is a cell phone
    3. This is a Bell phone
    4. I am on the DNC list
    5. I have not done business with them in the past six months
    6. Stop calling me

    They promise they’ve put me on their do not call list and then call me a week later. If I don’t pick up they’ll call nearly every hour until I do pick up. I’ve even called them myself and added myself to their own Do Not Call list. I’ve reported them but nothing has happened and they still call. I just want them to leave me alone.

  15. humphrmi says:

    I have a service called “Privacy Manager”, basically any call from an unresolvable number gets picked up first by this service, and a recorded message asks them to give their name. If they continue (and give their name) it rings my phone, plays back the name for me, and prompts me to accept or decline the call. If I decline, it plays them a recorded “take my name off your list” message. Most telemarketers don’t get that far – they don’t want to give their name because they know I’ll just decline it, so they hang up. Problem solved.

    • erin_w (formerly femme_dork) says:

      @humphrmi: Ever since I got that on my line, as well, the calls have pretty much stopped. The occasional one slips through, but compared to getting five telemarketing calls a night, it pretty much nips it in the bud.

  16. ThinkerTDM says:

    How about if they talk in spanish? I had one the other night. I told them to fuck off in english- but I’m not sure if they understood.

  17. itrek says:

    And wouldn’t it be nice if those hundreds of thousands of people actually worked at a productive job rather than taking an annoy the piss out of the whole country job?

  18. imsnowbear says:

    In general, if a product or service was worth buying they wouldn’t have to sell it via telemarketing. Why on earth would anyone buy anything from a telemarketer? But apparently some fools do, otherwise there would be no such business as telemarketing.

  19. Xerloq says:

    I’ve never understood these confessionals. Why is the first set of points ways they try to piss me off, and consumer and the second set is a plea for me to be nice to them.

    Big piece of advice to all those writing confessionals – follow the golden rule.

    Oh, and GV + blacklists = you hear a DTF tone when you call me. You get past that and a 1-party recording-consent state + call logs will kick your ass in court.

  20. StanTheManDean says:

    I always have fun with the rep.

    Sex questions are not off limits, but should always be done slowly and discretely. What size bra does your wife wear should never be the first question.

    Slavery questions. Always fun. Hey, the rep asked if he/she could speak to the owner. Somebody must assume a slave/master relationship exists.

    Free products? I just love free products. Everything is free. The $ you are asking for only applies to other people. You are going to give me my products for free.

    If I can get the rep to hang around for 15 minutes without completing a sale I figure I have done a job well done.

  21. shepd says:

    For Canadians, your government complaint centre is the CRTC. They have no balls, though, so you won’t get too far unless you really push them. They will always try to claim some sort of prior business relationship, so be ready to prove there isn’t one.

    If there is one, you can do what I did: I figured out the source company that had given out my information (MBNA) and sent them a letter telling them that if they don’t tell all the people they sold their lists to to stop calling me, and remove my number from any future lists, they’ll lose all of my business for life.

    MBNA was happy to do as asked and the calls ended in about a week. :)

  22. MurKam says:

    Pardon me, but two things make this supposedly “insider” posting smell bad to me. First, the grammar, profanity and slang seem peculiarly out-of-place and rough. Postings often have spelling mistakes and sometimes the grammar can be is clumbsy, too. But this piece is unusual on both accounts. Second, there are numerous mentions of the Bank of America and all of them are on the positive side. Oddly enough, no other companies receive the same level of endorsement in this posting. While the “advice” might be useful, I believe this posting has the promotion of the Bank of America as its goal.

  23. treimel says:

    “…if you’re making trouble for reps, you may be getting someone fired.”

    I sincerely hope I do.

  24. laffmakr says:

    Two easy ways to protect against telemarketers.

    1. Get an answering machine for your land line and screen your calls.

    2. Don’t answer calls with numbers you don’t recognize. If it’s important, they’ll leave a message. If it’s not, they’ll eventually stop calling.

  25. PsiCop says:

    OK, so if I can’t 1) hang up or 2) decline the product, does this mean I should burn up my time — and the rep’s — listening to the spiel, then when asked if I’m interested, say nothing (because I’m not supposed to just say no, and I’m certainly not going to say “yes” and buy something from a telemarketer)? And by all means, don’t 3) get mad because I have to do this?

    Seriously? This is supposed to be good for the reps and for me? How so?

    I must have missed something in here, because honestly, this makes no sense at all.

    As for suing the bad telemarketers, I’m not clear as to how that’s supposed to work. Most of them use “spoofed” phone numbers on caller ID. I can ask what company they’re with, but what reason would I have to assume they’d give me a correct answer, if they’ve already spoofed their phone number and are already breaking the law? It sounds nice to be able to sue them, but effectively, this won’t be an option except maybe in the small number of cases where you get an honest response and/or a correct phone number on caller ID.

    • SacraBos says:

      @PsiCop: Weeding out the bad ones is hard, since if you ask the questions you need to sue them, they hang up. You have to act interested and coax is out slowly. If they think you are interested, they will start to reveal more. But the scummier they are, the more you have to be patient.

      Also, the list of “things to do” only truly benefits the telemarketer. I don’t want to benefit the telemarketer for calling me – it’s my phone and for my benefit.

      The worst thing you can do to a telemarketer is talk to them. Time is their worst enemy. The more time you take with them, the less time they have to sell/harrass someone else. Do be polite. Do be inquisitive. Never say the word “Yes”. Resist saying the word “No”. I’ve had the car warranty scammers on the line for 30 minutes trying to figure out which one of my cars the warranty was “expiring” on. Turn it into a game where you earn points for each minute you keep them on the line. Double points for those minute you side-track them into something besides their “product”.

  26. Mr.Duke says:

    I haven’t had a problem with telemarketing calls in about 15 years now. See, I never pick up the phone. I monitor all calls via voice mail and caller ID. Done.

  27. MartaMyrrha says:

    I had a problem with a telemarketer years ago.
    They called for my roommate EVERY nite at 7 pm, 8, and 9. They would ask for him and I’d say he wasnt home (he was out of the country for 6 mns). Finally I spoke with a supervisor and told them to stop calling – it was beyond annoying b/c my roommate will NOT be home! Ever! They told me that legally they had the right to call “the phone number” 100 times a night if they wanted and ONLY the person they asked for could demand they stop calling (even though I owned the phone #). So…I am supposed to be nice to them? Even though I would 3x/night indefinitely is more of a harrassment.

    All that for a $12 subscription renewal.

  28. tpfannes says:

    Really interesting article with some good resources and sound advice. Thanks,

  29. justsomeotherguy says:

    I had some auto warranty and a refinance your credit company calling my cell phone for months. At first I tried being sweet and nice to get them to stop calling. Eventually I would ask for the manager immediately. Sometimes they would hang up right then, sometimes someone saying they were the manager would get on line… I would verbally abuse them until they hung up… Scream at them that i hope everyone they love are brutalized in gory detail… You would be surprised how long these people will stay on the phone. Had one guy telling me he was gonna pray to jesus for my soul. After a while it became therapeutic to treat these people like shit.

    I tried to locate information on these people. I ran into afew forums of people looking for the same information I was… The best anyone could figure was they were coming out of Florida. They all seemed to stop when congress got involved.

    As far as getting them fired… Seriously… I asked not to be called and was nice… If they and their families DIAF I’d go out of my way to piss on their graves.

    What this list did btw was just prove to all of us what scum telemarketers can be. Someone’s head explodes when you call? Put them on the list to be called again and again! This isnt only screwing the target over, but the person who has to call this person next. If you are certain you will never get a sale off the person stop wasting you/the companies time on that person.

    In my experience it doesnt matter if you are nice or cruel to these POS. They will just call over and over again. So, might as well take the action that will give you the most joy… For me that abuse!

  30. parad0x360 says:

    Im sorry but if a telemarketer calls me im going to hang up, i dont care if they put me on a list. If I did by chance talk to them id try to be nice but no means no and if they keep going on and on after i say no thank you im hanging up.

    Being nice wont get you removed from the lists. Sure maybe YOU removed someone but most people dont care enough to do it.

  31. itrek says:

    You can do this for free using Googlevoice.

  32. JF says:

    How is the fact that someone can’t get any other job except as a telemarketer MY problem?

    I don’t want them to call me.
    I don’t want to talk to them.
    I don’t want to buy their junk.
    I don’t want their services.

    Why do I have to be nice to them when they are violating basic civility by continually bugging me?

    Not that I have a serious problem with it on my line, but good god, why do WE have to be the nice ones?

  33. VagrantRadio says:

    “Don’t hang up because you might get put back on another list” or “don’t yell because it gives the asshole on the other end the right to harass you”?

    Seriously? You people are trash and deserved to be burned at the stake. I’m sure it pays your bills and it’s terrible for you, the telemarketer, but you can piss off.

  34. gabrewer says:

    If you’re quick thinking and capable of voice variations, you can always have some fun by going into your favorite “odd” character from the movies. Billy Bob Thorton’s role from Slingblade is a great one.

  35. midwestkel says:

    Wait so I am supposed to waste my time and listen to them pitch me 2 or 3 times before I should hang up?

    A lot of calls that I get if I ask for the company name they hang up.

    Or I get calls from numbers and when I answer it hangs up, etc.

    I hate telemarketers.

  36. ehejl says:

    This entire list of “confessions” can be summed up as, “we’ll screw with you however we can”. Which I think most of us already knew.

  37. menty666 says:

    I’ve done the following in the past:
    – politely telling them to put me on the do not call list
    – collecting info and telling them I was calling the AG (a useless exercise in MA)
    – sexually harassed them (mmm….tell me slower)
    – kept them on the line as long as possible knowing they’d get in trouble for not making the sale
    – And my current favorite, talking quietly so they have to turn up the headset then blowing a whistle into the phone before hanging up.

    No, I don’t feel bad for these folks. If telemarketing and fast food are the only jobs in your area, find a new area. No one chained you to the floor of your home.

  38. morningface says:

    My favorite was always telling the window telemarketers that we’d just gotten new windows, and gosh did it really cut down on the heating bill, so we weren’t really in the market to buy more.

    • menty666 says:

      @morningface: I kept getting wrong numbers from some siding company wanting to set up an appointment for an estimate. At the time they thought I lived in a house across town, and I was living in a rented townhouse.

      So one day I took them up on the offer and scheduled an appointment. They weren’t too pleased :)

  39. jpdanzig says:

    As far as I know, “rebuttal” is a noun, not a verb. Unless you’re a rebuttler, of course…

  40. 333 (only half evil) says:

    Ask them if they know that the world is going to end in 2012 and start reading out loud from the Bible. Keep reading until they hang up.

  41. donovanr says:

    Very good except for the part about telemarketers getting fired. Do you feel bad about the crack dealer getting busted and not being able to support his family? I have a phone to talk to friends, family, and business associates. I didn’t get it for any group to phone me for their benefit. Telemarketers are a product of the MBA types who run today’s corporations. I would be perfectly happy with a law that says that no organizations can phone me ever without my express permission. Ever!

  42. cranke says:

    I got called from a dirty telemarketer a few months ago. I asked for management and got the dial tone. *59 and was placed into their auto dial system. It was hilarious, every time they hung up on me another telemarketer would answer. I had so much fun goofing on them. Went through about 6 people. Too bad I didn’t record it.

  43. MartaMyrrha says:

    why would they re-list you to call when you are clearly not interested? Seems stupid and a waste of resources.

  44. delphi_ote says:

    I’ve got a confession to make: I think whoever wrote this article is a liar.

  45. parrotuya says:

    What a crock from a tele-stooge. Here are the real rules:

    1. When you see unknown caller on the call ID. Hang up. Period

    2. If there is a pause, it is an auto-dialer, hang up.

    3. If you hear an accent or speak a foreign language, hang up.

    4. Never buy anything from an infomercial. Don’t even watch them.

    5. Let them call all day long while your at work if they want, they never leave messages. (except for robo-calls)

    DOWn, baby, DOWn!

  46. Red Cat Linux says:

    I am not happy with telemarketers. Mainly, I’m not happy with their employers. But the telemarketer has taken a job representing the company who is foisting an offer on me. They have volunteered to interact with customers by trying to get them to sign up with offers that are not in their best interest.

    That’s like complaining that you have to wear a hair net and handle food all day while working in the food industry.

    When a telemarketer calls, and lies about being a telemarketer I do tend to take umbrage. Once I finally get the name of the company they are calling for out of them I ask to be added to the do not call list.

    One time the tele-drone refused to confirm that I would be added. I hung up and called customer support of the parent company (I had a pre-existing customer relationship)and made my request directly to them. The person who took the call confirmed that I would be placed on the Do Not Call List.

    She then ended the call by trying to upsell me on a service. It’s not telemarketing if I call them to tell them to stop the telemarketing calls, right?

    In truth, I have been a telemarketer when i was in college, too. It’s true that if you don’t do a rebuttal, you will be reprimanded and eventually fired – no matter what the customer says to refuse the item or service.

    I was yelled at, lied to, cussed at and hung up on. This was all in the days prior to the do not call list.

    I lasted 4 months at that job, and then found another one.

    I still have absolutely no problem pissing off the telemarketer while telling them to put me on the DNC list.

  47. consumerd says:

    I just tell them he’s currently deployed in iraq and won’t be back till next year in june. Call back then! Usually I never hear from them again for as least a year.

  48. incident_man says:

    A family member of mine sent me a recording of a telemarketing call where the owner of the phone number played like the telemarketer called a policeman at the scene of a homicide. I’ve been so wanting to try that.

  49. Cycledoc says:

    Caller ID is wonderful!!

  50. Crovie says:

    It’s good advice but smarmy as hell. Why does someone who bothers me by making an uninvited phone call expect me to be nice to them? They made me angry and if I want to be angry at them it’s their own fault.

  51. DrLumen says:

    I am on the DNC and some still try to call. I will give them 3 chances.

    I will ask them nicely to be removed.

    Second call I will tell them I’m on the DNC and not to call me. Then I request their full company name and contact info at which time they usually hang up.

    Third call is when all bets are off and I read them the riot act. Complete with a threat of a FTC complaint, an AG complaint and filing charges for harassment with the county sheriff. This usually does the trick.

    This ‘shadow’ knew that the companies he was working for were ‘sketchy’ but he was still there getting paid by helping them in their scams. To hell with that clown! Maybe he should get a job as a baggage handler. I hear that is a lucrative job for a scumbag.

    Oh no, please pity the hooker as the pimp is to blame. I call BS!

  52. m92348 says:

    “Don’t immediately hang up “

    Why not? Hanging up on these people 10 times is still less effort than listening to them for several minutes.

  53. Pacula says:

    When I have the energy to pull it off, I try the ‘waste as much of their time as possible’ routine. Sometimes I’ll listen to them for a while, then tell them I need to go dig out some the information they want or say I’ve got another call coming in, and then put them on hold until they finally give up. Other times, I’ll string them along as long as possible, giving fake information until they ask something I can’t fake or they otherwise clue in.

    I’ve gone as far as to make a fake persona complete with name (“Chuck U. Farley”), address and phone number (the local Better Business Bureau), and a few different credit card ‘system test’ numbers that will pass verification checks until an actual charge is attempted. I once managed to keep a call from ‘costa rica travel’ (or something) going for close to an hour, going through several levels of caller screening, right to the end of the process. It didn’t even stop when the charge they attempted to make on the false card came back as declined – they asked me to call my bank to have the charge allowed, and they would call me back in ten minutes or so to finish the transaction. *whistle* :)

  54. jgarfink says:

    What’s this Wisebread crap? I sent this out over a week ago!

  55. Juliedr says:

    I had a telemarketer call me asking me to buy tickets to a local police dance fundraiser. I told him I wasn’t interested and hung up. He called me back and screamed in the phone and hung up on me, he did this about 3 times. I called the police, he was arrested.

  56. Mariallena says:

    What this d-bag “insider” doesn’t tell you is that EVEN IF YOU HAVE A BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE COMPANY,

  57. Covertghost says:

    You know, I have a lot more fun just screwing with the telemarketers than taking any of the advice on this list :).

  58. happyandblue2 says:

    My son worked as a telemarketer for a week or so.
    His advice was to hang up as soon as you knew it was a telemarketer.
    Since telemarketers are trying to sell something it seems pointless to encourage them if you don’t have any intention of buying something from them.
    Plus, hanging up stops the anger that follows talking to them..

  59. SatisfriedCrustomer says:

    Blowing a whistle into the phone is just cruel, but wasting their time for several minutes also wastes your time.

    How about making a fake vomiting sound and then hanging up?

  60. brandmuffin says:

    ************I think this guy is full of it************

    Anyone using auto dialers knows your lists must be scrubbed monthly with the do not call registry. We never had the ability to remove 1 person, there were millions of numbers in the system. We sell our lists to people and they sell thiers to us its the lists today making money not the actual sales. With that said I have an auto dialer expandable to 200 operators for sale.

  61. DrLumen says:

    Man answers the phone: “Hello?”
    (woman screaming in the background) “Hold a second ok?
    (somewhat muffled) “Virgil? Jane has gotten out of the basement again!”
    (woman still screaming)
    “Jesus H! She’s running around naked as a jaybird getting blood all over the place! I thought you said you killed her!”
    (woman still screaming)
    (sound of a gunshot and then all is silent)
    (back on the phone now) “Sorry about that I had to take care of something. Now what were you saying? I sure would like you to come visit so we can talk about my extended car warranty in person!”

    OR

    “How much a month do you all spend on long distance. I can help you save up to 80% per month by using our long distance company…”

    Just some thoughts.

  62. corinthos says:

    I worked for a Civic Development Group back in high school. We did reput the assholes right back into the list forget to remove people from the list if they forgot to ask for more detailed information when asking to put on the do not call list. This was o na rep by rep basis and just the rude people. Also we were supposed to be able to see their numbers but you could if you walked past the supervisors computer and jot it down and harrass them some more if they were real aholes. We used to go to ihop after work and call people that we kept their numbers in a notepad that were the horrible ones.
    This one guy blew a whistle into the phone on a rep and we would call him randomly from prepaid phones we had at all hours of the night.

    I used to and still answer the phone Carry out of deliery on blocked numbers. Brought the number of calls I got down considerably after I explain that I’m pizza hut.

  63. utp216 says:

    What I hate even more than the telemarketer calls are the calls from the fake printer toner companies that try to lure you in to giving your printer model name/number over the phone so they can ship your business overpriced supplies and then try to hook you with the bill!

    We have an in-house support department that services our high speed printers at work and I know the guys personally.

    I had one of these BS calls on Friday and some kid said to me, “We are servicing your printers now right there in your office. Can you tell me the model number so I have put it into your file.” I told the kid that he wasn’t calling from the company that services our printers and he said to me, “How do you know? I haven’t even told you where I am calling from yet..”

    I told him to go try to hook another mark for his BS supplies and he hung up on me.

    Those guys call and have a tone like they are a friend of yours calling and just want to talk and then ask for your information.

    I can only imagine there are secretaries and other employees that just give the information out right over the phone without questioning the person on the other end of the call.

  64. BillyDee_CT says:

    I purchased a box called the Digitone PrivacyCall that you program all the numbers you want to be able to ring through without a secret code. The only way I know I had telemarketers call is when I look at my caller ID as the phones don’t ring in my house when they call now. Finally, a peaceful dinner hour!

  65. SPGConsultants says:

    It is a well known fact that dealing with telemarketing agents can sometimes be one of life’s most stressful and stagnating experiences.

    Harassing calls, threats and use of obscene language can pressurize you to the edge and moreover, a collector may embarrass you by contacting your employer or even be pursued to disburse for a debt that is not rightfully yours.

    There are limits on how far telemarketers can go, that is why we provide information on how to put an end to telemarketer calls and more efficiently, how to correspond with them about your account and/or to dispute a collection action and can teach you what are your rights in terms of privacy.

    You can find out more information on our website: http://www.spgconsultants.com

    By informing each other, we protect each other.

    Sincerely,

  66. oblivious87 says:

    @curmudgeon5: Actually, as far as graduating from a university and getting calls, often times, you consent to them calling and asking for financial donations.

    Its easy to get off the lists and doesn’t take more then 5 minutes of your time. I’m not defending myself anymore then stating its a truth.

    I don’t want to be calling you anymore then you want me calling you. I had people threaten to sue me, kill me, and make a professor fail me. These are alumni from a top engineering school. I’m sorry if I don’t give a shit when you want to yell at me and hang up because in the end, if you didn’t actually refuse, I have to put you back on the list.

  67. AdvocatesDevil says:

    @curmudgeon5: Yep, seriously. If you call me and I don’t want you to call, I’m going to give you hell and you deserve it. Get a real job and stop bothering me!

  68. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    @GyroMight: I call this “always giving out my landline number but never, ever answering it.”

    Also, I enter numbers that call as telemarketers into my cell as “Z Douche” (so they sort to the bottom of the alpha list) and set them to a silent ring. Last time we discussed this people had funny names for these; I think my favorite was “Satan.”

  69. wickedpixel says:

    @GyroMight: wasn’t there a product a while back (the Zapper?) that detected when an incoming call was auto dialed and return the tone for “this line has been disconnected” which would remove it from their system?

  70. Blueskylaw says:

    @dragonfire81:

    You’re right about getting pissy at the rep, I usually hang up before I get too upset, although sometimes when I’m in a playful mood I like to see just how much the rep on the line can take before he/she calls it quits.

    When pressure tactics, no means yes and forced phone conversations are part of your sales tactics, you should consider a different business model or leave the industry altogether.

  71. PAConsumerist says:

    @Homerjay is utterly alone.: To paraphrase Cosmo Kramer: “Ooma, Jerry…OOMA!”

  72. curmudgeon5 says:

    @dragonfire81: That makes sense, but on the other hand, if you knowingly take a job that is famous for revolving around annoying and harassing people, you’re sort of signing up for people to be getting angry with you. I mean, if someone paid me to walk around tripping people, I’d still be a bit at fault even though I was just the employee.

  73. glevkoff says:

    @oblivious87: @oblivious87: @oblivious87: If I had my way about it, telemarketing would be banned, period. It’s invasive, the person did not ask to have you contact them, and for some (my elderly mom who has rheumatic arthritis which makes it very difficult for her to run to the phone whenever it rings, but who won’t ignore a ringing phone springs to mind) it’s more than just a minor inconvenience. I make it a point that I will NEVER do business with any entity who engages in the practice; and your attitude makes me feel the more justified in that. Sorry if I don’t give a s*** that you don’t care for that, but maybe you should give a little more thought to just who it might be on the other end that you’re pestering with your calls and callbacks.

  74. oblivious87 says:

    @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): If the guy hasn’t donated in his lifetime, the odds are good he won’t, so it didn’t hurt anyone. When he refuses to take the time to say “please take me off the list” like every other never-giver, he’s going to get called back until he either refuses or asks to be taken off the list.

    Some lists are shorter then others. If we’re calling the “never-givers of the class of 1967″ the odds are good, the list will be short and this will happen, OVER AND OVER AND OVER again…

  75. curmudgeon5 says:

    @oblivious87: You seem to be more focused on the polices of the telemarketer instead of what the whole goal actually is. The goal is to raise money and maintain good relations with alumni, right? And you’re contributing to that how, exactly?

  76. katstermonster says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: I love when they make small talk with me and ask what I’m doing now. I reply, “Actually, I’m working for UConn as a Ph.D. student, so I’m already giving back to the university as an underpaid lab rat. Try again in 4 years, I might have money at that point.”

  77. oldgraygeek says:

    @Oranges w/ Cheese has 2 cats! ahahaha.: Thanks for the encouragement. If I am making a telemarketer’s job “even more miserable,” I’m performing a public service.

    If we can torture them until they all quit, the silence would be deafening… and delightful.

  78. justsomeotherguy says:

    @Oranges w/ Cheese has 2 cats! ahahaha.: We should not reward people who are engaged in jobs that annoy use. If they have chosen that line of work they need to leave their feelings at home and butch up. Once they realize they arent going to make a sale they need to get off the phone and dial the next number.

    The one group of humans you do not have to show any empathy or respect towards are telemarketers.

    The day the headlines read “mass murder at telemarketing call center” will be one of the best days ever in human history.

    The B Arc…

  79. Jerry Vandesic says:

    @Oranges w/ Cheese has 2 cats! ahahaha.: Hey, I took a job killing cats because I had to because they hired anything that breathed and I had just gotten laid off. It paid more than unemployment. I didn’t like it, but its a living for hundreds of thousands of people.

  80. h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

    @Oranges w/ Cheese has 2 cats! ahahaha.: I worked tech support out of college because I desperately needed to support myself. I understand what you went through, and I don’t begrudge you for making that choice.

  81. Homerjay is utterly alone. says:

    @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): Ooma.com!

    It’s a VOIP service. They sell it everywhere now. I was skeptical and waited a month or so before porting my numbers over but have been happy as a clam ever since.

  82. webweazel says:

    @Groovymarlin:
    I can relate. I used to give donations to some of my favorite charities. Then, I would get mailings, notepads, pens, stickers, etc. from EACH ONE like 3 times a month begging for more money. I couldn’t take it anymore and stopped giving. After all that mail, they probably spent my donation and more on printing and mailing that frequent junk. A newsletter a few times a year would be appreciated, letting me know what’s going on with the charity, and keeping them in my mind, but give me a break with your begging junk!

    Best bet would be to get a money order and anonymously mail them that, along with an explanation of WHY you don’t want to reveal who or where you are. Maybe they’ll get the hint. Someday.

  83. idip says:

    @bohemian: I agree with them just talking over you. It sucks.

    Or…

    You say, “Can you please take” *CLICK*

    They hang up before you can finish asking them to take you off their list so they can continue calling you. It’s a bunch of BS.

    *shakes head*

    My first call on my TracFone was from a telemarketer. Apparently I won a vacation.

  84. richcreamerybutter says:

    @oblivious87: Its just sad that most of you would chose to be rude to someone doing their job

    Just because someone creates a paid activity does not make it a legitimate “job.” What if I paid people to defecate around your car and home? If this upsets you, you can rest assured knowing these people are “just doing their ‘job’.”

  85. cranke says:

    @oblivious87: Ahhhh now I get it. You’re part of the Y generation. The “entitlement” generation. You called me so I MUST be polite to you for 5 minutes.
    You can’t possibly comprehend why everyone hates your type, because its ALL ABOUT YOU. Nobody else matters other than they owe YOU 5 minutes of polite conversation.
    Thanks for doing US all a favor and gracing US with your call. You obviously have “great people skills” and are “better for the job you had.”

    I worked for the University California call center years ago. It took me 6 months to realize what I was doing was not healthy, for me or the alumni. I took responsibility for my actions and quit. Apparently you prefer to justify continued poor behavior so long as a dime can be made.

  86. HogwartsAlum says:

    @oblivious87: Chiming in late here, but not everyone has Caller ID. As long as the phone company charges for it, I won’t get it. It’s free on my cell phone so I don’t pay for it on my landline. I get charging for voicemail because I have an alternative, but not for Caller ID, which should be free so I can avoid these types of calls, harrassment, etc.

    I get that my university calls me for donations, and believe me, when they did I told them I’d be happy to if I ever have any money. That said, it’s still annoying to get these calls, no matter who it is or what it’s for.

  87. curmudgeon5 says:

    @richcreamerybutter: Exactly.

    @oblivious87: What really gets me is the self-righteousness — that because your employer has these particular policies, how dare people take issue with you/them? Rules and policies above all else! Step back and really think about your stance here.

  88. glevkoff says:

    @richcreamerybutter: I have a feeling that “oblivious” picked chose his/her particular name for a reason, knowhadimean?

  89. Orv says:

    @StanTheManDean: They call my cell phone anyway. Which ticks me off because it’s costing me money.

  90. floraposte says:

    @katstermonster: I get called by the grad school that promised financial aid and never delivered it. I’m always tempted to tell them that I’ve already given them 50k, and where’s my wall plaque?

    Then there are my colleagues who graduated from a school the university since closed down, despite its success and prestige. They’re not real rewarding to call.

  91. Orv says:

    @floraposte: I think it *is* immoral for someone to do something that directly costs me money and steals my personal time.

  92. HannerHearse says:

    @floraposte:
    I would LOVE opt-in to be the default.
    One of the non-profits I donated to will NOT stop sending me solicitations, usually packaged with breakable crap. They used to call me on my cell. I have a new number now that I will NOT give out to companies.

    And who knows which non-profit(s) sold my info, but the bulk of paper mail I get now is solicitations, many from non-profits which I’ve never even heard of.

    Lessons learned: donate anonymously. don’t give out your cell #.

  93. floraposte says:

    @Orv: “Steals your personal time” could apply to anything that makes your life go slower than you like, though–being slow at the checkout counter in front of you, for instance. That’s not immoral, because your convenience isn’t a moral good.

    “Directly costs you money” is another matter, but for that they have to be calling your cell phone, which isn’t legal, so that puts them into the “companies that clearly don’t obey the law.

    Nobody has to listen to them or pet them or send them cookies, but being an asshole to somebody because you hate their job and because you can get away with it falls afoul of the “be a fucking person” imperative, and people who convince themselves that it’s changing anything are looking for a loophole that isn’t there.

  94. jessedybka says:

    @floraposte: It’s industry usage, but it’s still wrong. I used to telemarket, and for some reason English to English translations around that word abounded. “Rebutting” also became “rebuttaling” every single day. I can’t figure it out.

  95. Orv says:

    @floraposte: They call my cell phone, yes. It’s only illegal if they can’t find some excuse to claim I have a “pre-existing business relationship.” Even in cases where it is illegal, it’s not like the law is actually enforced. Look at junk faxes — they’re illegal for basically the same reason, but everywhere I’ve worked that had a fax machine still got dozens of them every day.

  96. Orv says:

    @floraposte: I suppose what it comes down to is I have no respect for people who take a job where they’re being paid to break the law.

  97. BridgetPentheus says:

    @floraposte: My favorite answer to my alumni fund is the same answer they gave me when I needed financial aid, yes you need aid but there are people who need aid more than you. But I’m successfully off their list now. And my favorite was the alumni fund calling for money when I was STILL in school, sorry you couldn’t help me how in the world am I supposed to help you.

  98. DeathByCuriosity says:

    @wickedpixel: Yes, the Telezapper.

    [www.telezapper.com]

    We used to have one, but I think we quit using it once we got on the DNC list. We probably still have it but I don’t know where it is because we’ve moved three times since.

  99. KMan13 still wants a Pontiac G8 says:

    @wickedpixel: yea, we had one, and it worked very well for a while … i guess call centers eventually found out how to beat it though.

  100. Scarlet_Begonias_and_a_touch_of_the_Blues says:

    @VagrantRadio:

    Having “no decency or brain power” has nothing to do with it…it was the kid’s job. He already made it very clear that if the people he was calling did not ask to be put on the do-not-call list, or ask for the calls to stop, then they would be recycled through the list of people to call. I’m sure he was able to infer when the people he called did not want to be called back, but if they did not explicitly say so, then they got called back…sounds to me like that was the policy he had to follow.

    Try boning up on your reading comprehension skills before you start name-calling.

  101. oblivious87 says:

    @Brian Nunchux: The way our school worked, as I stated at one point was it was better to have a response then have someone leave you with nothing. If people didn’t specify a better time to call them back, they were put on the list for later that night. People who were especially rude would be listed to be called back relatively quickly because you knew they were home. Without any sort of response, whether this was a pledge, a refusal, or asking to be put on the no call list, that person would be put back into a pool or potential donors. It was better in the long run to get them off quickly hence the quick call backs. Usually one person would have better luck at keeping the person on the line long enough to get some sort of response.

    There was never a time where someone was rude and asked me to put them on the no call list where I would ignore them and re-add them to the pool. Many alumni are still close to people they went to school with and using this tactic would only result in people who have donated in the past to refuse to do so in the future.

    Truth be told, the school was doing what it did to keep certain programs going. The USA Today rankings of universities take into account alumni who donate each year in their calculations. Knowing both these facts, it becomes obvious that the school wanted to do everything in its power to not piss off a potential donor, but at the same time, its in their interest to get people who don’t want to donate off the list.

    But what if the person I called was having a bad day, but would gladly make the pledge the next day? That’s the reason why we couldn’t just assume that someone who yelled wanted to be taken off the list. This is actually more common then you think. Believe me, if I was called the same day I wrote my bank a $700 check to pay this months college loan bill, I’d tell the school to kiss my ass. Next week though, I’d remember the awesome job I have now and the great lifelong friends I have.

    @Lemony-Fresh: I did say this earlier, if I could keep someone on the phone long enough, I could ask them if I should call back at another time. This usually was the perfect bridge which allowed these people to say “tomorrow” (call back), “next year” (refusal), or “never” (permanent do not call). It was that simple. Just as much as you don’t want to have me call you every day, I don’t want to be yelled at by you everyday.

    And for the record, I don’t really appreciate the fact that you label me as scum based off of a job I did. Hell, I’m not even doing that job anymore and you’re taking out your hate of telemarketers on me on a damn website. So what does that make you??

  102. PipeRifle says:

    I don’t know what to do, guys. Every time I go to Burger King I don’t want Mayo on my sandwich. I don’t know what to do. I yell “MAKE MY SANDWICH RIGHT” every time, and have tried “GIVE ME THE SANDWICH I WANT” but I guess I don’t know the “Magic Word” to get no mayo. Stupid scumbucket burger jerks!