How to handle a Telemarketer
It's like clockwork. You sit down to dinner and the phone rings.
You answer it. The caller is trying to sell you something or
tell you that you've won a fabulous prize.
Here we go again. You just got a telemarketing call. So do you
want to know how to handle these guys? Well, keep reading.
The FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule helps protect you from
abusive and deceptive telephone sales practices. The Rule
restricts calling times to the hours between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
(your local time) and puts other limits on telemarketers, too.
*Telemarketers must tell you it's a sales call, the name of the
seller, and what they're selling before they make their pitch.
If they're pitching a prize promotion, they must tell you that
no purchase or payment is necessary to enter or win. *It's
illegal for telemarketers to lie about their goods or services;
earnings potential, profitability, risk, or liquidity of an
investment; or the nature of a prize in a prize-promotion
scheme. *Before you pay, telemarketers must tell you the total
cost of the goods they're selling, any restrictions on getting
or using them, and if a sale is final or non-refundable. In a
prize promotion, they must tell you the odds of winning, that no
purchase or payment is necessary to win, and any restrictions or
conditions of receiving the prize. *It's illegal for a
telemarketer to withdraw money from your checking account
without your express, verifiable authorization. *Telemarketers
cannot lie to get you to pay, no matter what method of payment
you use. *You do not have to pay for credit repair, recovery
room, or advance-fee loan or credit services until these
services have been delivered. *It's illegal for a telemarketer
to call you if you have asked not to be called.
Ok, now that we know what they can and can't do while on the
phone with us, let's get them off the phone altogether.
Warning--some of the following suggestions are liable to make
you laugh. I have personally used each of these, and it is so
1. Depending on the gender of the person calling you, start
hitting on them. That's right--make a pass at them. For example,
I am a male. If the person calling me is a female, I will flirt
with her until there is no tomorrow. I have done this twice, and
the person hung around for about 30 seconds before she called
for a supervisor. That's my signal to hang-up.
2. If they give you their name, talk to them like they are an
old friend. I use this one the most, and my conversations go
something like this:
Telemarketer: Hi, my name is Bob... Me: Bob! You crazy old man,
how have you been lately? Telemarketer: Huh? Me: Oh, Bob come on
now. You remember me? The quiet kid from Algebra.
This lasts about a minute, with me driving the telemarketer out
of his or her mind.
3. Pretend you are someone that you're not. Here's how a call
went about a month ago between me and a guy from a major long
Telemarketer: Hello, I am with Big Phone Company. Me: Wait! Shh,
I am not supposed to be answering this phone! Telemarketer: Sir,
Me: I said shhhh! You don't seem to understand. I don't even
live in this house. Now, I am going to put this phone down so I
can steal this stereo...
This I have only used about four times. Ninety-nine-point-nine
percent of all telemarketers use autodialers, so they can't
exactly pinpoint your phone number. Once I also told the person
who called that they had called the President of the United
States and were in big trouble, because no one was supposed to
have this number. They hung-up in about one second.
4. Just make something up! Use your own imagination. I have one
of those sound effects CDs and have used almost every track on
the CD to throw telemarketers off. I also have a recording of
the "Who's On First" skit, which I have used as well. Just play
it into the phone.
If you have worries about using any of these, don't.
Remember--they called you. Technically you should yell and
scream at them, but hey, why not have a little fun?