Angry Telemarketer Calls Back, Chews You Out For Hanging Up

This telemarketer has had it up to here with all of you people at home hanging up on her every time she needs to sell you something! Randall Whited in Austin, Texas, received an earful recently, when he answered the phone shortly after hanging up on the unnamed telemarketer.

“If you don’t want to get contacted if somebody wins, then don’t put your name in it. That was just such a girl thing to do. Wimp,” the telemarketer yelled.

Whited said he called the company to complain, but not much happened.

“Someone that I spoke with said that it might have been her 400th hang up and she was just frustrated herself but that’s not my fault,” Whited said

We think her tirade seems pretty gentle, considering the things we can imagine someone saying, but then again our brains have been seared by the vulgarity of the Internet.

And as for the telemarketer, if all Whited did was hang up on her then we’re surprised she’d take it so hard. She should read some of the things our commenters say they’ve said/done to telemarketers.

“Angry telemarketer calls back, berates man after he hangs up” [WIS News 10] (Thanks to Megan!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. TorrentFreak says:

    How dare you not let me interrupt your dinner! You are such a jerk! You could at least buy one useless thing.

    The nerve of some people!

  2. iMe2 says:

    Sounds like the perfect opportunity to hang up again, no?

    • BrianDaBrain says:

      @iMe2: LOL my thoughts exactly. The same thing happened to me once, but it was (believe it or not) somebody from a local church. They called once to, I don’t know, recruit me or something. I hung up. Not even 10 seconds later, my phone is ringing, and it’s the same person acting, shall we say, very un-Christian. I hung up again. They weren’t dumb enough to call back a 3rd time.

      • Peach422 says:

        In the early ’90s, I was called back relentlessly by someone who wanted me to subscribe to “City Newspaper”. I was working night shift at the the time, said no the first time she called. I think if you subscribed they would give some of the money to charity. She called back and I hung up. She did this several times in a row, berating me for ‘not helping the children’. I took the phone off the hook after explaining that I worked night shift and needed to sleep.
        I left my phone off the hook for at least ten hours. Less than five minutes after I put it back on the hook she called again. She was quite nasty.
        I just hung up on her again.

  3. iomegaman5 says:

    yeah sir, i was calling from visa to make sure you were happy with our service, but now i wish fire and death upon you!

  4. Gokuhouse says:

    Stupid OP, why didn’t you take your name off every telemarketers’ list in the country?!?! How dare you get annoyed by them calling you and retaliating by hanging up on them? I just can’t believe it!

  5. It would have been more funny if the telemarketer used a phony irish accent and said “May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows you’re dead” or something similarly cryptic.

  6. axiomatic says:

    I tried something fun recently with a telemarketer. I let my 4 year old handle the call.

  7. smokinfoo says:

    I like to answer the phone:

    “Thank you for calling Bob’s Pizza and Abortion. Your loss is our sauce.”

    It usually takes a moment to sink in.

  8. harlock_JDS says:

    I’ve had this happen a few times. of course instead of hanging up i usually just set the phone down and wait for them to hang up (if it’s a machine i press the code to get a operator say hi and then set it down) because this messes with they call quotas a lot more than just hanging up and letting them move onto the next guy.

    had one stay on lime for 10 minutes just saying ‘hello hello’ he called back after i hung up :).

  9. Hanging up on somebody is generally considered rude. Calling people up and bitching them out for being rude is also generally considered rude. Not sure what was being sold, but it almost seems like he may have signed up for something. I’d call this a quid pro quo rudeness thing.

  10. williehorton says:

    Telemarketers rarely call me twice.

  11. jtheletter says:

    So it sounds like this was a call based on some survey card or contest drawing, since the caller referred to potentially being notified of winning something. However it doesn’t appear that Randall has won anything.

    So the telemarketer is scolding Randall for signing up to be notified of winning, when the reason for the call is not to actually notify him of a win? Brilliant.

  12. timmus says:

    Too bad the victim didn’t use some social engineering tricks to track down the telemarketer’s identity, and then call them at home a hundred times. That would really give them something to think about.

  13. HogwartsAlum says:

    Air horn. Air horn. Air horn.

    • RvLeshrac says:


      But since they’re wearing headsets, that would be assault.

    • P_Smith says:

      @HogwartsAlum: Or a whistle.

      To those who defend the indefensible, how would you react to a salesman knocking on your door after he ignored a “No Solicitation” sign? You’d be pissed off. For the uneducated and unthinking, like those who defend telemarketers, one cannot put up a “do not call sign” on the phone. Just because they can’t know beforehand that their calls are unwelcome does not give them the right to call.

      It’s the same as someone grabbing your ass without you telling them not to; there are some things you just don’t do and shouldn’t need to be told. Invading people’s homes with sales calls is one of them.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        It’s the same as someone grabbing your ass without you telling them not to…
        @P_Smith: No it’s not. Physically hurting someone who grabs you is self-defense. Physically hurting someone who just annoyed you is assault.

      • newfenoix says:

        @P_Smith: People are going to defend these scumbags. But it is stupid to do so and in the words of the late Col. Jeff Cooper, USMC, “Ignorance is correctable, stupidity is permanent.”

      • HogwartsAlum says:


        Oh yeah! I have a whistle; I don’t have an air horn, actually.

        Sometimes if they ask for me by name, I like to say, “She’s not here, can I take a message?”

  14. Julia789 says:

    Several years ago a telemarketer called, and I hung up in the middle of her first sentence – “I’m calling to tell you about our special promotion…click” not three seconds later the phone rings again, and I pick up and she says “Ha ha!…that you are eligible for and can save you hundreds of dollars…” I hung up again. But she was so damn proud to have gotten me back on the phone to finish her first sentence, it was kind of funny.

  15. nicemarmot617 says:

    My father died when I was in high school and I picked up most of the telemarketing calls that came into him since my mom couldn’t handle it. This was before the DNC list so we got calls for him several times a week for months.

    I learned lots of fun tricks. My favorite one was to start crying and screaming “he’s dead! he’s dead! can’t you even leave him alone in the grave!” There were lots of other fun tricks too, including pretending to be him. The telemarketers usually believed that a teenage female was a 50-year-old man.

  16. humphrmi says:

    It’s been posted before, but still funny:

    Even better than hanging up.

  17. jscott73 says:

    Funny, the same thing happened to me yesterday but I did not pick up when they called back. I am trying to sell my timeshare on craigslist (yes, now I know not to buy timeshares new), and I keep getting calls from online timeshare listing services even though it says not to contact me with commercial interests on my craigslist ad. I told the lady this and that I was driving so I couldn’t talk then hung-up. Almost immediately I got a call back from the same number but decided not to pick up because I thought she might be mad. Not that I cared but I was driving and didn’t want to deal with it.

    Anyways the company is Vacation Realty Group and I would not do business with them.

  18. vildechaia says:

    @ axiomatic – may I please borrow your four-year-old?!

  19. ninabi says:

    When they ask to speak to one of us, I always reply,
    “When would you like to schedule an appointment?”

    We’re booked weeks in advance. We do take VISA and Mastercard.

    They stutter, stumble, apologize, hang up. Works every time.

    We’re just that important that our home phone is used for scheduling. $70.00 a visit, too. Heh, heh…

  20. My keyboard has a typo key says:

    Ask telemarketers to sing. If they are blase about it. Ask them to put some heart into it.
    Might as well have some fun with them. If they get all uppity. Remind them. They are the ones calling you. So if they want to waste your time. Become an entertainer. Or simple ask, “can you woo me like Frank Sinatra?”

    There is so much fun that can be had with paid callers. It is also why I am strongly against robofailers. If I am feeling in a good mood. Why not have fun.

  21. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    My brother loves to pass the phone to my 5 year old nephew when he gets calls like this. Nephew talks about one of three things: Dinosaurs, Spiderman, and the bug he saw that day, on the walkway. Its cute.

  22. Amy Alkon000 says:

    I recommend suing telemarketers. I just beat one in Santa Monica Small Claims. And they sent their New York corporate counsel! (They’re a huge international company.)

    Anyway, I couldn’t have done it without the help of a guy in Sacramento — a total stranger who went out of his way to advise me. His name’s André-Tascha Lammé, and I found him through his site,

    He started it after he was getting 30 calls a day from mortgage brokers. He doesn’t do this for a living or anything. Like me, he was just pissed off that they were using his phone and eating his time.


    P.S. If it’s an out-of-state company and you’re in California, they have to have an “agent for service of process” on file with the Secretary of State. You look that agent up on the SOS’s website and then just have the court serve them certified mail for $15. To sue them in L.A. and maybe in California, you have to have that in-state address — they can’t be sued at an out-state one. But legally, if they’re doing biz in the state, they must have the AFSOP.

  23. mythago says:

    It’s actually easier and faster to have somebody serve the Agent for Service instead of relying on the Court to do it. In California, anybody not a party can serve the papers for you. The information on companies’ agents for service of process can be found here:


    Also, if the company is “suspended” – meaning it didn’t pay its Franchise Taxes or file the right paperwork – it cannot defend itself in a lawsuit until it fixes the problem. Hotcha!

  24. randallw says:

    so i am the one this happened to and still have yet to find out the name of the company. their number is 1-877-777-1618.

  25. KimballKaboo says:

    I have a good friend who finally thought up a clever way to get rid of
    telemarketers. When they called, he would begin talking in a fake foreign
    language. He answered all their questions in the fake language until they
    got frustrated and hung up on him. I have never tried it, but he swears it
    works every time.

  26. HalOfBorg says:

    I just say loudly “NO” and hang up. I never give them the chance to record ANY type of a positive response.

    “But you said YES.”

  27. snowlock says:

    i telemarketed, if that’s even a word, for a short time.
    getting hung up on was the best possible end result for a call,
    considering how sometimes i knew the customer wasn’t buying
    yet was required to continue trying my best to sell them something.

    every customer that hung up immediately was work i didn’t have to do.
    this lady was probably just having a horrible day and took it on an innocent bystander.

    • godlyfrog says:

      @snowlock: I did it for four hours once because I needed the money. Worst $20 I ever earned. We were required to try to finish the script and not let the person on the other end take control. We were supposed to scratch off anyone who asked not to be called, but also penalized for scratching too many off. This was about 14 years ago, so I’m not sure if that was legal or not at the time, but that’s what we did. Some people just said no, others were rude about it, and one told me the person I was calling for was dead and they wished I were, too. I didn’t make a single sale. I can’t imagine how telemarketing has survived, since they are almost universally loathed. They’re like spammers… annoying thousands of people in the hopes of making one sale.

  28. SurplusJ says:

    As a onetime telemarketer (for a nonprofit theatre), I ask you to remember that telemarketers are people. Say “No, thank you.” If they insist on keeping talking, say, “Okay, I’m gonna hang up now.” No need to be mean to them. Unless they’re unprovokedly assholes.

    • humphrmi says:

      @SurplusJ: Tired old apologies. Idi Amin was a person. Junk Bond sales people in the 80’s were people. Mortgage brokers who wrote people into loans they couldn’t afford were people. Stupid people need correction, not apologists.

    • RedSonSuperDave says:

      @SurplusJ: People? Only in the loosest sense of the word. Nigerian scammers are technically “people”. Rapists and child molesters are technically “people”. Crack cocaine pushers are “people”. It doesn’t mean we owe them common courtesy.

      Telemarketers are subhuman scum, in my book. But then, I don’t consider rapists, child molesters, crack dealers, or Nigerian scammers equal to me either.

      I have an air horn that I got for three bucks at the local tool store. If I don’t feel like having fun with them (either by asking them if they can hold on for just a second and then going to mow the lawn, or just talking incessantly about whichever subject entertains me at the moment) I use it.

      • purplesun says:

        @RedSonSuperDave: Just say “No, thanks” and hang up. You could physically hurt someone doing that and it’s not like you’re anonymous to the company.

        I work the phones for a living – not in telemarketing or collections or anything like that (I work as a translator over the phone through a special service). We do cold call people all the time and are sometimes mistaken for telemarketers.

        It’s not uncommon to have your headset on pretty high. Some jerk decided to do just what you do with the air horn to a colleague of mine. She ended up with tinnitus and was out on disability for over a week, the cost of which our parent company gladly collected from the individual and then some, not to mention a little assault charge he now has on his record.

        Do you find it amusing now?

        • RedSonSuperDave says:

          @icust298: You do realize all these telemarketers have your address, phone number, and social security number right? Most of which are in high school and looking to impress their friends by seeing who can mess with someone the most.

          They might have my phone number, they might conceivably have my address, but I have a hard time believing that the asshole who calls me claiming to be with the Sheriff’s Department has MY social security number. I’m more than capable of dealing with anything a highschooler can throw at me.

          This is one of the great things about dealing solely in cash. Let’s see somebody try to steal MY identity.

          @purplesun: Just say “No, thanks” and hang up. You could physically hurt someone doing that

          Good. The thing I want most out of life is to be left the Hell alone. When somebody calls me and starts the conversation off with, “Congratulations! You have just won a free trip to the Caribbean, blah blah blah” and they waste five minutes of my time talking about some goddamn cruise that I’ve won, only to finally get around to telling me that what I’ve actually “won” is an opportunity to listen to a presentation to sell me time-shares or burglar alarms or some such bullshit, that’s not leaving me the Hell alone, that’s fucking with me. You fuck with me, I fuck with you back. Sometimes this takes the form of me telling you exactly what I think of you and what I wish would happen to you, sometimes it takes the form of me asking you to hold on for “just a couple of seconds” while I go make a sandwich and watch TV, sometimes it’s a two-second blast on an air horn. If you don’t want to play, don’t call me.

          And if I replaced the ringer on my phone with a tractor trailer horn and then slept with the phone under my pillow, then a telemarketer could hurt me by calling when I was asleep. That would be entirely my fault. If a telemarketer has their headset turned up to eleven and they get hurt as a result of harassing me, too goddamn bad, get a REAL job flipping burgers or digging ditches or something. If you choose to be a drug dealer, you know taking the job that you might have cops beat you up and take you to jail. If you choose to be a telemarketer, you know taking the job that I might refer to you as a rascally scallywag or blast you with an air horn.

          The fact that I could theoretically cause actual physical harm to a telemarketer is the best news I’ve heard all day. I’ve wished for a way to punch people through the phone for years, and this is the next-best thing. And good luck pressing assault charges, who could ever prove that it was me who did it? As faithful Consumerist readers should know, a recording of a phone call is inadmissible in court if you’re not first notified that the call’s being recorded.

        • bdgbill says:


          She ended up with tinnitus and was out on disability for over a week, the cost of which our parent company gladly collected from the individual and then some, not to mention a little assault charge he now has on his record.

          Do you find it amusing now?

          I do not believe this is true. A phone or a headset is only capapble of producing sounds as loud as you have the volume set. If he had blown a ships steam whistle into his phone do you think it would have split the telemarketers head open? No.

          I think if someone had actually been convicted of such a bullshit offense, that it would have been national news.

          I personally think that telemarketers are the lowest form of legally employed people in the world. At best, they are an irritant to millions of people everyday, at worst, they are either con artists or facilitating con-artists.

          I have never in my life heard someone relate a positive story about a product or service that was offered to them by a telemarketer.

          The Nazis were “just doing their jobs” too.

        • harvey_birdman_attorney_at_law says:

          You are lying.

        • newfenoix says:

          @purplesun: You are a liar. First, it is not assault. Second; as a LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE of the company, the caller, the tele-idiot is RESPONSIBLE for whatever laws they maybe breaking, not just the company. Like I said before, call MY phone at your own risk. Oh, btw, I have sued telemarketers before and won.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        @RedSonSuperDave, @HogwartsAlum: You think telemarketers deserve to go deaf just because telemarketing calls are annoying?

        What do you do to people who talk during the movie? Beat them in the head with a baseball bat?

        • RedSonSuperDave says:

          @Rectilinear Propagation: You think telemarketers deserve to go deaf just because telemarketing calls are annoying?

          No, I think telemarketers deserve whatever they get because:
          (A) They ignore the do-not-call list and call me despite me having expressed a distinct wish for them NOT to.
          (B) They more often then not are deceptive or outright fraudulent in their approach, as in the OP and my “burglar alarm sales” example.

          What do you do to people who talk during the movie? Beat them in the head with a baseball bat?

          Quite frankly, I’d like to, but that’s another topic entirely. Besides, if and when I pay for a ticket, I know full well that there might be (gasp!) other people in the theater, and that they might express themselves in some way audible to me. The telemarketer is not equivalent to a guy talking in a theater, it’s equivalent to a guy who comes into my house while I’m watching a DVD and talks to me there, ignoring the “No Trespassing” sign on my lawn.

          @purplesun: Wow. Are you psychotic?

          Look, as I’ve said, they know the risks when they take the job. A surveyor can get bitten by a snake if he wears sandals instead of workboots. A nurse can contract a nasty disease if she ignored blood-borne pathogen protocol. Similarly, somebody in a profession that’s quite likely to get people angry at them can suffer hearing loss if they have their headsets turned all the way up, which is no more responsible on their part than a surveyor deciding not to wear boots, or a nurse handling used needles with her bare hands. But, see, nurses and surveyors are legitimate jobs that society actually needs, so they have my sympathy, unlike the telemarketers. It’s highly unlikely that somebody’s gonna survey your property or change your IV without you expressing a clear desire for their services in the first place.

          I find your story about the assault charge to be sketchy at best. How did they prove who did it? People post “screamers” on the Internet all the time. Those could theoretically damage your hearing as well, can you get an assault charge for “You have 60 seconds to spot the ghost in this picture” now too? Bullshit.

          Morally, telemarketers are, at best, on the level of a kid asking you if you’ve seen Mike Rotch or if you’ve got Prince Albert in a can, except they do it thousands of times instead of just once. They deserve anything they get. Of course, if I could click on a link and break a 419 scammer’s fingers as a result, or if I could give spammers HIV by sending their addresses to a webpage, I’d do that too. If that makes me psychotic, so be it.

      • newfenoix says:

        @RedSonSuperDave: I stay on the phone long enough to get their company name and number and then tell that I am turning them in for violating the Do Not Call list. Which I do.

    • Etoiles says:

      @SurplusJ: This. I hate when people think it’s ok to be total assholes to other folks who are just trying to keep food on the table.

      Of course, that all changes when the telemarketer *is* rude. When I was 22 the local paper kept trying to get me to buy a subscription. They had gotten my cell phone number, I don’t know how, and were calling me SIX TIMES a day, including at 8:00 a.m. on a Sunday. I let them HAVE IT, finally, because politely saying, “I am not interested, please stop calling my cell phone” had gotten me nowhere.

      But air horns? I hope every telemarketer whose hearing gets damaged sues the crap out of people that juvenile.

      • newfenoix says:

        @EtoilePB: And I hate it when someone tries to defend telemarketers. There are other jobs out there. I don’t care what they are trying to do. Call me at your own risk. No one put a gun to that person’s head and FORCED them to work in one of the scummiest industries on the face of this planet. I wish congress would OUTLAW telemarketing PERIOD!!!! And jail ALL that do it!!!

  29. lmarconi says:

    I worked as a telemarketer during college to pay the bills. Keep in mind a few telemarketers really do enjoy bothering you, but many of them are just desperate to pay the bills.
    Telemarketing is mostly automated and governed by quotas. Hanging up is rude, but most telemarketers will appreciate it if you tell them politely upfront that you’re not interested (instead of putting your 4 year old on) because it allows them to move on to other people.

    • harvey_birdman_attorney_at_law says:

      Except that the only way to stop this kind of thing is to make it unprofitable for companies to hire telemarketers. We need to eat up as much of their time as possible to ensure these things stop. Telemarketers are a scourge on society. They provide nothing useful, and the world would be a better place if the job simply ceased to exist.

    • newfenoix says:

      @lmarconi: I don’t want them to move to the next number. I want them to stop this BS business once and for all.

  30. icust298 says:

    Just to set one thing straight, I was a telemarketer in high school. Most of the people in there are in high school and don’t really care about the job, just looking to get some cash to buy a car. I would actually love it if you put the phone down and waited for me to hang up, seriously, that gives me 10 minutes to hit on the hot girl sitting next to me, while the people watching the stats think I’m actually trying to sell something. We would actually tell people we were taking a noise survey and that they just needed to set the phone down and walk away. You’d be surprised how many people would do it. Some of the stuff we did to get out of working was hillarious.

  31. WoodsWrecker says:

    I got a telemarketer to hang up on ME!!!!!

    me: Hello?
    her: may I speak Mr. XXXXXXXXXXXX?
    me: yes……
    me: sigh……this is….
    her: OH Mr. XXXXXXXXXXXX I’m such and such from so and so…
    me: Thats good, I’m happy for you!
    her: What did you say?
    me: I said thats good, I’m happy for you!
    her: HUH SMART A$$
    me: She hung up on me!

  32. rachmanut says:

    I was once asked to fellate the devil (in less kind terms) when I asked a telemarketer to take my name off of his list.

  33. roguemarvel says:

    I was once asked out by a telemarketer because he said I sounded cute.

    I have a friend who lives alone. when ever he gets a call from a telemarketer he asks them if they get paid by number of calls, products sold or minutes on phone/length of call. If they are paid by minutes on phone/length of call he then asks if they are being monitored. If they are not he starts up a normal conversation with them. He says he has made some pretty good friends this way and a lot of them are happy not to have to worry about selling anything or being hung up on for a bit.

  34. icust298 says:

    You realize telemarketers survive just like every other company out there that sells garbage products, right? Stupid people and people that don’t speak very good english. You could always get an “Ok” out of someone that you could tell english wasn’t their first language just by saying “Ok?”. That worked 95% of the time. Also dumb people will buy anything and I mean anything. I remember people that would just buy it, wouldn’t ask any questions, and were happy to buy it, I think that was called a walkthru sale, or something like that. I always remember thinking, wow you’re dumb. Keep in mind I never really tried that hard because to get fired you basically had to “drive your car into the building and steal stuff” which actually happened. I didn’t show up for work for two weeks, never called, came back in like nothing happened and still had a job. It’s the perfect high school job really. You also make a decent amount more than working at like a McD’s or other fast food place in high school.

  35. m4ximusprim3 says:

    I pass them off on my son as well. He doesn’t quite get that people on the phone can’t see what he can see, so the calls are usually a blast to listen to. “Look! Look! Look what the dog is doing! Ah Ha Ha”

  36. ScarletsWalk says:

    When we were teenagers, my sister answered the phone and it was a telemarketer. She hung up on them. A few minutes later they called back and demanded to speak to an adult. My mother got an earful about how awful it was to raise ill-mannered children who did such things and hung up on her too.

    It was great.

  37. samurailynn says:

    I used to work in collections. I hated telemarketers because most people I called would say “no thanks” and hang up before I even finished asking for the person whose bill was past due. Then when you’d finally get a hold of them 2 months later, they wanted the late fees waived because they didn’t know their bill was past due. Well, if you didn’t hang up on everyone who called, maybe you would have known by now.

  38. randomangela47 says:

    Years ago, when I was living in a friend’s basement, one of those organizations that does fundraising for sheriffs departments called. I answered, and the guy was like “hi, is this Mrs. X?” To which I replied “there is no Mrs. X” and hung up.

    The guy called back wanting to know if that number was the residence of Mr. X, which it was (but he didn’t have a wife or mother living there)… So the cop threatened to come over and arrest me for lying to the police.

    Nothing ever came of it, except that I can’t imagine myself ever donating to one of those sheriffs department funds after that experience.

  39. floraposte says:

    They’re clearly getting pressure to fight their way through various turndowns now. I get a lot of calls at my university office, because we’ve got a business existence as well, and many telemarketers want to talk to purchasing for the whole (state) university. One wanted to speak to the president of the university. Um, sure.

  40. icust298 says:

    You do realize all these telemarketers have your address, phone number, and social security number right? Most of which are in high school and looking to impress their friends by seeing who can mess with someone the most.

  41. howie_in_az says:

    Why do you all hang up on them immediately? I keep them on the phone for as long as I can, sometimes by just setting the phone down and asking them to hang on for a minute or two. I figure every minute they’re sitting on the phone with me (while I do the laundry or wash the dishes or cook dinner) is a minute they’re not annoying someone else.

    The longest stayed on the line for 7 minutes before hanging up. My stir fry was almost done at that point but nooo, they just couldn’t wait for dinner to be over.

  42. I worked for a telemarketer when I was in high school. There is no reason – no reason – to hang up on someone. For three seconds more simply say, “I’m sorry I’m not interested. Have a nice day.”

    Yes. It makes a difference.

    • MyPetFly says:

      @twophrasebark: “Yes. It makes a difference. “

      Who does it make a difference to?

    • crashfrog says:

      @twophrasebark: I worked for a telemarketer when I was in high school. There is no reason – no reason – to hang up on someone.

      There’s ample reason. You’ve called my house, unasked, to try to sell me something. Sorry, but we’re not in a friendly relationship. We’re not even in a strangers-on-the-street relationship, like we might be if you called the wrong number.

      We’re in an advertising relationship, and I’m changing the channel. Sorry, but you’re not even worth three seconds of my time, because that’s three seconds I know you’ll try to use to make the call even longer. I know that because I was a telemarketer for a few weeks. One of the worst ones, too; I was trying to get people to refinance. (I found out later that many of the companies I called for – they subcontracted their phone ops to my company – were indicted for various predatory lending practices.)

      Getting hung up on is part of your job. It’s not “rude”. There’s nothing rude about it. You just need a much thicker skin. I had a pretty thin skin, and a low tolerance for the high pressure tactics they wanted me to us, but even I never felt being hung up on was very rude. You’re a business. I’m a private citizen in my home, and you’ve barged in. I have every right to terminate that interaction in whatever way I like. You’re in my home, after all.

      • mac-phisto says:

        i find the people that call “on behalf of” police benevolent associations, firefighters, etc. to be the worst. no matter what you say to them, they berate or threaten you (as a precious commenter already pointed out). it’s really quite unnerving that local government services are contracting with companies that are employing practices that are borderline (or completely) illegal.

        i even went so far as to file a complaint with a local police chief when i was threatened by a caller. i really have no tolerance for that.

        & while i respect that telemarketers are people too, i agree with crashfrog – my phone, my rules. you don’t want to be hung up on, blasted with an air phone or otherwise treated “inhumanely”, don’t call. simple as that.

  43. Xerloq says:

    Grand Central. Thank you. I used to get these types of calls from M$ telemarketers. I’d say no thank you and hang up. They’d call right back saying “oops, we got disconnected,” trying to go on with their pitch.

    I just screen the calls. Now those numbers are blacklisted which means they get auto-disconnected.

  44. amuro98 says:

    One guy tried hawking stock picks to me and my coworkers. This is very illegal, even for telemarketers.

    He kept calling us back even after everyone said they weren’t interested. One time I just put the phone in the drawer and walked away. I don’t know how long he stayed on the line talking to dead air but the next day he called again saying we were disconnected. I said “Hey, I have a friend who works over at the FTC who said he may be interested in talking with you. You said your name was XXX and you work for YYY, right? Do you have a phone number he could call?” at that point he hung up, and never called anyone in the company ever again.

    Another time, some idiotic carpet cleaning business signed up with a telemarketing firm using a robo-dial that would leave messages on your answering machine – again very illegal. When I got called again, I punched through to an operator, let her do her whole spiel, and then simply asked “Are you aware of the national do not call list?” She cursed and hung up on me.

    A minute later, the phone rang and I picked it up to get an earful from someone demanding to know why I was calling their house. It seems the lady was so annoyed with me, she started directing all complaints to my phone number.

    Well, two could play at that game.

    I explained to the poor person I was as much a victim as he was, and where he could go online to register a complaint against the carpet cleaning company (the stupid lady gave the name in her spiel you see…)

    I then changed my answering machine message to say if they had gotten a call about carpet cleaning, they had been illegaly routed to my phone. I then gave out the company’s name, address, the owner’s name, and encouraged them to file a complaint with the state attorney’s office, the BBB, and the national DNC list’s website. My machine was filled with messages of support and thanks from otherwise outraged people for about a day or so. After that, I can only assume the company learned, the hard way, why you do not harass your potential customers…

  45. kable2 says:

    my sister had a cellphone that was turned off by mistake by rogers (Canadian cell company). She wasn’t behind on her bill, but they insisted she was. She had the receipts from her payments and she got fed up with them and told them to stick it. This resulted in collections calling for an ETF and 3 months that she had in fact paid lol

    Well I took the phone one day when they called and I had the most fun I ever had.

    I said things like “in this house we don’t speak to pakies” and other fun stuff (hey they were being asses, so I could also). Then I gave the phone to my 3 year old who ran around the house yelling into the phone and coming to me every 30 seconds “someone wants you” So I would say tell her about your toys lol

    about 5 minutes later he said “they hunged up”, then they called right back. good times good times

    I am kinda known in the family as an funny asshole to unwanted callers.

    /dont get me started on how I love when the jehovas knock lol

  46. Zulujines says:

    I used to schedule deliveries for a furniture company, and one time I got a guy who did the “I’m not interested” and hung up before I even finished the sentence. I was astounded, because he didn’t even listen to what I was saying. I just stared at the phone and seriously considered canceling his order. Instead I decided to be nice and call back. I got his wife, and I explained that her husband just hung up on me when I was trying to schedule their delivery. She said to him, “That was the furniture company” and the tone was like, ‘you dumbass’. I still get a kick out of picturing the look on her face.

    Anyway, this is why I think hanging up on people you assume are trying to sell you something is not a good idea. I always let them finish their sentence. I mean, it only takes a few seconds and I don’t think it hurts to be kind to them. I always think it could be a single mother supporting her kids or something. You never know their circumstances, maybe it’s the only job they could get. My only peeve is when I tell them I’m not interested, and they still keep talking. Then I hang up.

  47. corinthos says:

    Yes sometimes I just let the telemarketers talk to me while I’m watching tv and just say a lot of uhhuhs. Then I’m like sure, oh I don’t have a credit card, I’m 13. Which I’m 25 but they don’t know that.

  48. queenofdenial says:

    is no one on the DNC? i haven’t spoken to a telemarketer in years. but yall are making me miss it…

    • MyPetFly says:


      I am, and I haven’t had any… until today, in fact.

      I don’t know if it makes a difference that I use my cell phone as my primary number. The call was an automated call from a “supposedly” non-profit group. I’m not sure if they’re exempted or not.

      I can guarantee that I won’t buy from or contribute to anyone that solicits me on the phone.

    • floraposte says:

      @queenofdenial: I’m on the DNC, and it’s certainly made a difference. But I still get calls at work, I still get calls from skeezy law-breaking companies, and I still get calls from “charitable” organizations.

      I can’t agree that telemarketers are inherently scum as people, but they are the contact-point tools of a scummy practice, and some do seem inclined to use their access to personal information to make scummy threats and their access to people’s homes to be–well, scummy. Since I don’t think “they started it” is much of an excuse for being an asshole, I try not to be tempted to be one to them, but they do make it tough at times.

  49. petitcerise says:

    I did telemarketing years ago (I was 18) when I was desperate for a job. We would ask people to stamp 10 envelopes or something pointless like that. It was a degrading job and I didn’t even last a week. You have to be really down on your luck to get that type of job (or collections). You would think it would make more sympathetic to these calls but I hang up on them just like the rest of you. Maybe if they would pronounce my name right at least or even get the right one. I know these people are trying to make a living like I was then, so maybe I’ll try to be nicer. At least they aren’t out prostituting.

  50. jessicat says:

    I was the worst of the worst at one point. I worked for Citibank in the capacity of trying to hard sell useless products to people who were calling in to activate their credit cards (before you start bitching at me, know that I eventually got fired for GROSS negligence involving my duties). We were judged and paid based on:

    1. How many products we sold per hour
    2. How long we stayed on the phone trying to do this
    3. Whether or not we harrased you at least twice per call
    4. How much time we spent avoiding these calls (a shitload)

    It was reverse cold calling, and it sucked. Yet there were certain days at certain times where you’d have the 300th call ring through and hear someone on the other end start dropping F-Bombs and saying they hated talking to “fucking towel-heads” before you even said a word that really made you want to call them out and tell them that you hate your shitty job too. Could they just say no twice and hang up so I get my points? There was more than one occassion that I would have loved to call them back.

    Also, keep in mind that the people you cuss out or let your kid talk to have a good amount of you personal information on a screen in front of them, along with a pen and sheet of paper. Fun fun fun on a Friday night.

  51. AlphaBitchSoup says:

    I used to have fun with them as a kid. If it was a carpet cleaner, I would deny that we had carpets and claim wall to wall interior grass. The pause at the other end of the line and the “what?” almost made it worth the interruption. Sometimes I would put on a thick Welsh accent and pretend not to understand what they were saying or feign deafness and act as though the telemarketer was a relative calling. If they were polite, I stayed polite while stringing them along a bit. If they were rude I would whistle into the phone. This phase lasted until my mother found out what I was up to and started playing games with them herself :P

    I have only a cell now.I almost miss them. Almost. Poor little parasites.

  52. Micromegas says:

    I worked as a telemarketer for about six months. Every third or fourth call would result in an angry, foul-mouthed tirade from the victim. I can’t say I blame them, but what they failed to realize is that the people actually doing the calling have little to no control over the list of people that we call. It doesn’t matter to me if you’re on a Do Not Call list or you’ve told people repeatedly to never call back, because we don’t have a choice in the matter. The management handles the lists of who to call, and if we don’t do our best to get results on each call then we lose our jobs.

    We make notes in the record when someone requests not to be called, but the management just deletes those notes from the system without looking at them most of the time. That’s why a lot of our “customers” would get called every day of the week at dinnertime despite being on the Do Not Call list and yelling at us to never call them back.

    A bit off topic, but that was my telemarketing experience in a nutshell.

  53. Yup, it is rude.

    I choose my own actions in life. My own manners, my own ethics and my own morals. They have nothing to do with yours. Or anyone else’s.

    What someone else does right or wrong has nothing to do with me. I and no one else chooses how I conduct myself on the phone or anywhere else.

    Do you feel any differently?

    I do not care if someone calls me unsolicited. That is a person trying to make a living. It takes three seconds to say “Thank you, I’m not interested” and hang up.

    We live in a day and age where people have decided to model their conduct based on the lowest common denominator. Instead of being the bigger person, people say “they did it first.” Basically, people are looking for an excuse.

    Well, you are your own person. Conduct yourself as you wish.

  54. CSR says:

    I would suggest making sure that people not assume they are talking to a telemarketer the moment the person asks for you. When I worked at a bookstore, one of my jobs was to call people and let them know when they books they had ordered had come in. Every so often I’d get someone who’d hang up on me (or say very rude things) as soon as I asked for them. So I’d notate in the account that I’d tried to contact them and what had happened. If they hadn’t called or come by the store on their own to check on their book within a week, back to the publisher it went.

  55. CSR says:

    Er…that should be “*the* books they ordered” not “they books”

  56. albear says:

    Been checking out The Consumerist for months. I had to register to comment on this one.

    I have been getting telemearketter calls from Card Services, carpet cleaning and Auto extended warranties. I have my number in the FTC’s Do Not Call list, been there for years but I still get calls. THese people have finally pissed me off and I lost it 2 weeks ago. I yelled an expletive in the order of go have sex with yourself and never to call me again. They have *69 and called me back. It was the supervisor of the telemarketer demanding I apologize to the person and to never talk that way again to him!

    I hung up and they didn’t. They were on the line holding up my phone for close to 20 minutes! I really should have told them to apologize to me for disturbing me at close 9.00 PM I swear it was that late.

  57. BytheSea says:

    I temped at a reception desk, at the kind of office where the only calls the execs wanted were from people who knew the direct lines. So, I had to figure out if the calls I got were solicitors or the frequently misdicrected customer, and say things like “and to what is this call referring?” Once the solicitors realized they were being blocked, some of them would start shrieking at me, as if that sort of behavior would prove that they had legitimate business.

  58. esd2020 says:

    Happened to me once. Let’s just say they certainly didn’t try for a third call.

  59. Shadowman615 says:

    The story is really funny. Although the article from the link at WIS News 10 left me scratching my head. What was she talking about?

    If you don’t want to get contacted if somebody wins, then don’t put your name in it. Huh? What does that even mean?

    And then the last line of the article, Whited says the Attorney General’s office told him the company broke Federal Trade Commission regulations by not releasing the information. What information? There’s nothing else even in the article about anyone not releasing any information. Did somebody write that article stoned or something?

    • floraposte says:

      @Shadowman615: A little digging reveals that the company identified itself as Awards Claim Center, so the telemarketer presumably was meaning either “We’re only calling you because you put your name in for an award” (sure) or “If you don’t put your name in for an award, we won’t have any reason to call you again.” The FTC reference is to the OP’s calling the company and being stonewalled about the nature of their business. The story got pretty chewed up by WIS.

  60. floraposte says:

    Looks like this outfit is straightforward scam, not telemarketing:

  61. nacoran says:

    I have a friend who works as a telemarketer. It’s one thing when he gets hang-ups, but he’s also had people threaten to come down to the office and shoot him. If you are on the do-not-call list, file a complaint. If you aren’t don’t get upset about it.

    On a funny side note, at a previous job he once had to call someone who had won a drawing for a $2000 canoe in a raffle. The winner’s wife hung up on him thinking it was a scam. He called back. That guy was really happy he did.

    There is a company in my area that calls and asks you if you’ll answer a few questions for a survey. I was bored so I answered. They said they’d put me in a drawing. A couple weeks later they called and said I’d won 1/2 off on siding. I’ve won twice now!!! Now I just need to see if I can use both coupons at the same time. It seems to be a legitimate company using a sleazy tactic to get around the no-call list using the survey exemption.

  62. Blitzgal says:

    Ugh, I am so glad I got rid of my landline and do everything via cell now. I remember when I was a kid my father answered the phone and it was a telemarketer asking for my mother. He said she wasn’t home and they hung up. Phone rings again, I answer, and the exact same telemarketer asks for him by name. I yell upstairs for him to pick up, and then I listen on my end as my father tells the guy, “You JUST called here.” Telemarketer literally shouts, “F*@# you, man!” and hangs up.

    Yes, telemarketers are people. And they are also assholes.

    • madog says:

      @Blitzgal: That’s what I thought until these past few months. On my cell I receive a call from various numbers about twice a week. Sometimes blocked, sometimes not that all have the same message:

      “This is the final notice to let you know that the warranty on your vehicle is about to expire…”

      Surprisingly vague. The weird thing is is that it always leaves a message as well, usually half way through the recording; not so much the fact that my car is from ’99 and was purchased used. Then one day they started calling my work….. they are following me.

  63. thekingb says:

    There IS a do not call list. Telemarketers are just people doing their jobs. You don’t have to listen to their whole spiel – a simple “No, thank you, but I am not interested at all.” Then hang up. Their jobs are a pain in the ass as it is, why make it worse?

    • RedSonSuperDave says:

      @thekingb: Yes, there IS a do not call list. And I’m on it. The sleazy bastards who ignore it deserve whatever I feel like dishing out.

      Also, I’ve NEVER heard of a telemarketer giving out their real name or the name and address of their company when asked, so I can file a complaint about them ignoring the DNCL. If I ask them they either (rarely) hang up, or (most often) continue with their spiel as though I hadn’t said anything. Usually their numbers are blocked on my caller ID, too.

  64. harlock_JDS says:

    I get Spanish speaking Telemarketers all the time (phone is in my wife’s name who has a Spanish last name). It’s funny to tell them “English por favor’ have them get a English speaking telemarketer on the line and then say “no habla English” and have them go back to the spanish Telemarketer.

  65. bodah says:

    My favorite thing to do is to say that I lost all my money on the midget races.

  66. mariospants says:

    In a recent episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, Larry David pretended he was mentally retarded (can I even say that nowadays?) in order to turn someone off from renting the office next to him. Have some fun and try something outrageous next time they call. You’ll find that if you can make *them* hang up on *you*, the odds of them calling back are slim.

  67. pegr says:

    My best trick:

    Hang up, but note the number in caller ID. Call the number back. It will ring, then click. When you hear the click, say “Hello?” as if you just answered the phone.

    The telemarketer will think (s)he is connected to the person the computer dialer dialed. “Mr. Jones?” “Yes!”

    Proceed to make an appointment with the window salesmen, whatever. They’ll have “your” address. They will confirm it with you. Just say yes.

    This action results in salesmen going to stranger’s houses with no knowledge on behalf of “Mr. Jones”. That should be an interesting scene.

    For added fun, pull this trick again and again. Make ten or twenty appointments, all over town. See if you can waste 100 hours of their time for a 30 minute investment. It’s very satisfying!

    One side note: When they confirm your address, be near a computer connected to Google maps in case they ask for directions. Or just make up directions and get them lost.

  68. OnceWasCool says:

    You DO NOT have to take that stuff. There is a place on FTC.GOV that you can file a complaint. Use it!

    I did and received a letter from the FTC confirming that they were taking the matter seriously.

  69. @purplesun:
    Hey, thats great. Good for you.
    If you did though, I still wouldnt say that necessarily makes you “psychotic.”

  70. TwilightKid says:

    By 2007, if you decide to take a job becoming a tele-marketer, if you don’t understand going in how hated you are going to be to the people you call (sometimes repeatedly), then I feel you deserve the treatment you get. A job is a job; i get that…But 98% of the time, you are disturbing people, and I feel little sympathy for telemarketers otherwise. You took the job, deal with the reactions you get.

  71. innout3x3 says:

    Anyone still using a landline? I gave up on those 8 years ago when I got my cellphone.

  72. Javert says:

    I had a friend in graduate school who, as soon as he realized it was a telemarketer (he had a difficult to pronounce last name) he would say hold on, I’ll get him. Then, after about 5 seconds, clear his throat on the line which usually prompted the pitch to begin. Then he would start meow-ing until they hung up on him. He did a really good meow. Really sounded like cat which made it all the more funny (or perhaps it was the rum and coke, it is blurry but I seriously think it was the call that would make us laugh). Unfortunately, we only got to witness 2 such performances but they were grand.

  73. NikkiSweet says:

    My grandfather would regularly fall asleep on the phone with telemarketers… or pretend he was senile. He’d randomly say things like “Damn it Nixon! You’re fucking up the country!” (in 2000-ish…) or start going off about the air raid sirens…

    I still think his best performance was on my birthday when I was 16. Some lady called to convince him that he should buy a car phone, pay something like $250 for it a month, and it’d only have 100 minutes on it. Every time he would tell her that he wasn’t interested, she’d continue on with the script. He kept trying and trying, and I finally realized what was going on, so I dragged my 4 friends into the room to watch… He covered the mouth of the phone and started laughing, then uncovered it and let loose with a whole bunch of incoherent jibberish. It must have surprised the lady because she stopped talking and asked him if he was ok, and he started barking like a dog, then flopping the phone around, and babbling more… then he started crying and talking about the voices in his head “make them stop! make them stop!”

    She hung up at that point… which was good, because me and my friends were laughing so hard that we were crying.

  74. radavio says:

    As someone who did a few phone soliciting jobs in my youth, I must say that immediately hanging up on the intruder is much more merciful than even the polite “no”. Why? Because telemarketers are taught to counter-pitch the initial refusal. I was instructed not to let the fish off the hook until I’d gotten three very definite refusals. Unless you really have some interest in their pitch, you’re just wasting your time and theirs by staying on the line. And any telemarketer that is so thin-skinned as to get personally offended by someone refusing to let their privacy be disturbed or their private phone line be tied up with something so unimportant, really needs to find another line of work.

  75. ironchef says:

    I usually politely ask them to hold. And I leave them on hold indefinitely.

    It’s poetic justice.

  76. newfenoix says:

    There is a serious issue here that is being overlooked. And this issue is personal privacy. I live in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area but my cell phone is from Arkansas, where I moved from last year. When I am not on company time, I want to be left alone! I have “No Solicitation and No Trespassing” signs on my property. Why? Because I don’t want to be bothered. I am lucky to live in a city where even city utility workers ASK before they come on your property. It’s called being polite. I don’t and won’t have a landline. I don’t even have cable, I use AT&T U-Verse.

    My job is corporate security and one of the things that I have to do is to follow up on complaints from store managers about unwanted phone calls. Both from telemarketers and collection agencies. I have filed many complaints with the AG about both. ALL of our company phone numbers are on the DNC. All of them. If one of our managers blows an air horn in some tele-idiot’s ear neither I nor our management cares. These people interfere with our business. As far as collection calls go, we take our employee’s privacy VERY seriously and WILL NOT COOPERATE with them at all.

    Even the congress hates telemarketers. Remember what happened just a few short years ago?

  77. Miguel Valdespino says:

    My mother always asks telemarketers why they do this. “Can’t you find some honest job, like being a prostitute? At least people want their services.”

  78. Vastarien202 says:

    Hey, just had to chime in here.
    I have also worked as a phone rep, and most of you seem to be under the delusion that there are all kinds of “real jobs” out there that I could have gotten. I must emphatically call Bulls–t on that one; I live in Arizona, and the only jobs that don’t involve food, wiping old people-butt, or the prison system are usually Telemarketing.
    I would like to see any of YOU try to find a job that pays more than 6.50 an hour doing anything else out here.
    For the record, I have NEVER been anything less than polite and professional to ALL of my contacts, and have gotten threatened with rape, murder, arson, and everything else you can imagine, just so that I could eat. It’s frustrating enough having to deal with morons who have a sense of entitlement in person without having to read their snide garbage here. Try it for a day, your tune will change.

    • newfenoix says:

      @Vastarien202: And telemarketing is a “real job?” Is that what you’re saying? Working at a fast food place pays about the same. CNA work pays about the same. What you DON’T GET is the fact that the industry itself is SCUM. I don’t give a damn how polite you were, you were INVADING THE PERSONAL PRIVACY of every person that you called. Most people don’t want to hear about siding and extended car warranties and the other garbage that people like you peddle. I just filed a suit against a funeral home that REFUSED to stop calling my wife’s cell phone. And I also filed a police report so that the next time they called, it would be considered criminal harassment. If you call me, you do so at your own risk. It might be cussing you or using my old police whistle or even firing a blank by the receiver. But they will stay off of my phone!

    • P_Smith says:

      @Vastarien202: For the record, I have NEVER been anything less than polite and professional to ALL of my contacts, and have gotten threatened with rape, murder, arson, and everything else you can imagine, just so that I could eat.

      If you ever called someone who did NOT ask to be called, then you were rude, even if your words were polite. Unwelcome cold calls by salesmen are rude, period.

      @Vastarien202: It’s frustrating enough having to deal with morons who have a sense of entitlement in person without having to read their snide garbage here. Try it for a day, your tune will change.

      Why would I? I’m an educated professional and can get better jobs than that.

    • harlock_JDS says:

      @Vastarien202: given that choice i’d go with food, old butt wiping or prison.

      You also left off cleaning.

  79. friedduck says:

    A PERFECT opportunity to hang up on someone twice ;-)

  80. BiZarRroBALlmeR says:

    I always thought they would call back after I hang up on them in the middle of their sell, and berate me for being so rude to them.

  81. mathew says:

    I’ve been called back and berated by the same douchebag telemarketers. They call up (with bogus caller ID info) claiming you’ve won a prize. I said it sounded bogus, because the prize is an SUV, and I wouldn’t enter a competition for an SUV. I said goodbye and hung up.

    A few minutes later, someone called back claiming to be the manager of the previous telemarketer–using a caller ID of 000-000-0000. They berated me for passing up such an amazing prize. I said that there was no way I was going to trust a company that lied about their phone number, and hung up again.