How To: Avoid Pesky Phone Survey People

F.M.I. (Former Meal Interrupter) used to work at one of “the largest phone survey companies in the country,” and would like to share with our readers the best technique for assuring that the survey people will stop calling you. Asking them to stop calling doesn’t cut it. Saying “no” just gets you listed as a “soft refusal” and will result in more call backs.

According to F.M.I. saying the words, “If you ever call me again, I’m going to contact my lawyer.” Should get you blacklisted not just from the survey they’ve been calling you about, but their entire system. Read all the delicious details inside.

F.M.I. writes:

I worked for one of the largest phone survey companies in the country, and I thought I’d share some tips on how to avoid getting those pesky calls in the middle of dinner.

Survey firms don’t have to abide by the do not call list, since they’re not selling anything, so getting them to leave you alone can be a bit of a pain. Simply telling them “No thanks” generally won’t cut it.

When we call, we have a few tools at our disposal: we can start the survey, set up a callback time, mark the call as a “soft refusal” or a “hard refusal”. Most of the time, we don’t count the call as a refusal unless we are talking to the person that qualifies for the survey, usually a specific person given to us by the company we’re calling for or a person who meets a certain criteria (such as the female with the most recent birthday).

If you aren’t the person who qualifies, you just hang up, or give some excuse to why you can’t do it, you’re scheduled for a callback. The general rule for most surveys is 7 or 8 calls before we stop bugging you. So if you just hang up every time we ask you to do a survey, expect to hear from us several more times.

If you are the qualified person and say “no”, we mark that as a “soft” refusal. Soft refusals are called back again a few days later. After 2 soft refusals, you generally won’t get called again on that survey. If you get very angry or start cursing, you get marked as a “hard” refusal and aren’t called again for that survey.

However, any of those three methods will just get you off of our list for that particular survey. Even asking us to put you on our “do not call list” will just remove you from that survey. The only surefire way to get off our lists forever is say something along the lines of “If you ever call me again, I’m going to contact my lawyer”. You’ll get an apology and be blacklisted from all of our systems. Of course, you’ll have to do it with each company that calls you, but it should help make dinnertime a bit more peaceful.

-Former Meal Interrupter

We assume this will work better than Dad’s method of screaming “Aluminum Siding M—–f—–!!” and slamming the phone down, but will certainly be less hilarious.—MEGHANN MARCO