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. For example: *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 much fun! 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 distance company. 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?