Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The next telemarketer who calls me dies

I'll fess up: we have Call Display/Caller ID, and we're not afraid to use it to monitor inbound calls. We have so little free time as it is that wasting it on the phone with telephonic intruders just isn't going to happen.

Problem is, some telemarketers don't play nice. Like last week. The phone rings while I'm working. Call Display shows Private Name. The ring suggests it's a local call. I answer it because I won't take the chance that it's someone I know (we do have some friends with blocked numbers.)

After the pregnant pause of dead air during which I know I've been had, perky Mimi pipes up in a recorded voice: "We're calling with regards to your credit card account...blah, blah, blah...if you want to lower your interest rate, press 1."

They haven't identified themselves (duh!) but it's obvious this is a scam, and I want to get off their dial list. So I hit 1 (another big surprise, there are no other options.) Before long, I hear the telltale background din of a call center packed with yakking people. A slurry-speeched guy who sounds like he's smoked too many Du Mauriers gets on the phone and, without identifying himself (see a pattern here?) asks me again if I'm interested in lowering my interest rate. It degenerates from there:
Me: While I'm always interested in lowering my interest rate, what I really hope you can do for me today is help me get my phone number removed from your database.
Him: You pressed 1 to lower your interest rate.
Me: I pressed 1, but only to speak to a live person. Please remove me from your list and do not call me again.
Him [Getting nasty]: Look, buddy, you pressed 1 because you want to lower your interest rate.
Me: Who am I speaking to?
Him: Who I am doesn't matter.
Me: May I please speak to your supervisor?
Him: [Click...dial tone]
This outfit calls at least three times a week, always with the same idiotic come-on. During the day (great for us home-office types), evening (conducive for spending quality time with the kids), whenever. I'd like to taser them through my phone, but I suspect that might be illegal.

Your turn: Do telemarketers bug you as much as they bug me? How do you handle them? I'll keep y'all posted on how this plays out.

36 comments:

tommie said...

Yes, they irk me to no other! I usually don't answer. I have called the number back to ask to have my number removed from their data base. In the US there is a website you can register with a DO NOT CALL list. But with a move every two years, we frequntly receive the local number of some LOSER with bad credit. So back to square one, hanging up on them!

b13 said...

Rey touched on this recently... here is my comment from there:

I usually ask if they can hold on a second and put the phone down while I play with the dogs. Barking and frolicking ensues for a bit. Then I pick up the phone and say loudly “Oh, I left the phone off the hook.” before hanging up.

Will said...

I put our number on the U.S. do not call list a couple of years ago. It seems to have worked.

Beverly said...

I don't pick up for unknown caller or a number that doesn't have a name attached to it. When I used to pick up, when I heard the pregnant pause, that's when I hung up.

Bunny Trails said...

The DNC list has helped tremendously, but I really do like b13's response! That's funny.

Mostly I don't answer if I don't know who it is. I have voice mail. Leave me a message, else I don't need to talk to you. Ha!

Hopefully you get some creative ideas here. :D

kenju said...

I never answer unless I know the number or name that pops up on the caller ID. Too many of them are political calls (expecially lately).

Ms Mac said...

Never mind if it's legal, it is possible to taser them over the phone?

That's something I might be interested in.

Bernie said...

A little trick I learnt a little while ago, was to say to them, "just hang on a sec, and I will get my details..." Put the phone down and walk away to what ever it was you were doing...

They soon get it and hang up!

Susan said...

Oh, how I hate them! I work from home, too, and get telemarketing calls almost every day.

We have an old-fashioned answering machine (the fact that it's old fashioned makes me feel ancient) and I screen my calls most of the time. I listen to who's calling and call back right away if needed. Anyone important will leave a message or, if it's urgent, call me on my cell phone.

Not a perfect system, but better than telling them yet again that I really, really don't want my carpets cleaned.

megz_mum said...

They annoy me no end! Our number is on the "do not call" register. Still get phone calls from charities, which is fine.

Leanne said...

Hi Carmi,

I know you won't WANT to do this, but if you'll wait through that recorded message, there is something at the end of it that tells you how to get off their list. I remember those people, and I remember being so steamed one day I waited until it was done and VOILA - the instructions were at the end.

If you don't have a do not call list, you can't very well report them - but if you do, and you're on it - go to the site and report their company.

Love 2B Homeschoolers said...

Set your phone to not accept blocked numbers at all. Mine number is blocked. When I call someone who does not accept calls from blocked numbers, I get a recording telling me they do not accept them and that I need to press *82 before I dial their number, to unblock mine. I like having my number blocked and do not mind having to press *82 to unblock it for those who do not accept blocked calls.

marmiteandtea said...

They drive me insane too. We're on the do not call list now and that has deterred most of them. I really can't see why they bother surely they never get anyone saying please tell me more?

Mark said...

If you answer the phone and hear the static (which I'm guessing is when the telemarketer is getting connected to you, bringing up your file on the computer, etc.) then HANG UP.

They will call right back.

You will not answer.

Instead of annoying you, the sound of the phone ringing ... and ringing ... and ringing ... is the sound of victory.

If it was your senile and confused aunt, she can leave a message and then you can call right back and apologize.

Sarah said...

Caller ID is a great perk I must say. I love it when a recording leaves a message on the voicemail, especially those that say "since you've acknowledged you are (the person they asked for)"... how did I acknowledge anything, I didn't even answer the phone!
I get calls from collection agencies looking for people other than me (and they should NOT be looking for me). They leave a message asking the person to call. If they leave the name of the collection agency I Google them, get an address and send a letter, that is not exactly sweet. So far that has worked for the two I've dealt with!

me said...

"Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening Walmart, how may I direct your call?"

Anonymous said...

If you feel like making fun of them, try this:

http://howtoprankatelemarketer.ytmnd.com/

Joan said...

These are some great ideas! I've also made use of the US DNC list, which has helped significantly. A few still get through on occasion, and I will now gleefully employ some of the suggestions here when they do. I especially enjoy the idea of telling them to wait a minute while I collect my papers, etc., since that ties them up for a while, thereby preventing them from annoying other people, too - two birds with one stone! :)

MissMeliss said...

I HATE telemarketers. I also hate collection calls for people who used to have my number, which is still going on after four years. Four!

I don't answer the home phone during the day. I may work from home, but those are my "work" hours, and I have to respect that.

Besides, what person calls anyone in the modern world at 12:30 in the afternoon and actually expects an adult to be around?

Holly Schwendiman said...

YES! And for the life of me I can't figure out why they're still around because everyone I've met feels the same way!

Hugs,
Holly

Lori Schmidt (LoriProPhoto) said...

We have what they call a NO Call List which you register for free with online, here in Indiana which now includes cell phones, and have seen a dramatic decrease in calls. We have reported two that have ignored the list and I suppose they got slapped on the hand for it, but they risk the possibility of heavy fines if the violate this list.

My husband normally just tells them thank you we have your number (the ones who dont hide them) and will be handing the information to the correct authorities as we are on the no call list. Normally get muttered apologies.

So in general we get very few of these now.

David said...

the jerk wears a headset, get a really LOUD whistle....
BLOW him away

Megan said...

This message is coming in late....

I had to take my phone off the hook yesterday. Every 10 minutes, like clock work, a telemarketer was calling. I can't stand that, your sitting there trying to eat dinner or watch TV, and RING, RING!!!

I don't have caller ID, so we have to let the answering machine get it. So the "mute" goes on so we can see if it is a "real" call, of course it isn't, and there goes another missed moment of American Idol.

Megan said...

This message is coming in late....

I had to take my phone off the hook yesterday. Every 10 minutes, like clock work, a telemarketer was calling. I can't stand that, your sitting there trying to eat dinner or watch TV, and RING, RING!!!

I don't have caller ID, so we have to let the answering machine get it. So the "mute" goes on so we can see if it is a "real" call, of course it isn't, and there goes another missed moment of American Idol.

CAROLYN said...

I put us on the 'no call' list 3 weeks ago after getting these same calls Carmi. But this past week they have started again. One person said our car warranty was expiring and we needed to extend it. I asked him which car (we have 2). He hesitated then said he didn't have a way of knowing that. I asked him how he knew the warranty was expiring then. He mumbled something and hung up. Gah!! ;)

Gail B said...

Hey Carmi. I hear you about those telemarketers. One keeps calling me at 10pm. At what point does "marketing" become "harassment" I wonder?

Anyway, you are a tech guru so I am sure you already know this, but just in case you missed it: there are plans to finally launch a Do Not Call list this fall (in Canada) by the CRTC and Bell.

See this article for more info.

It's something they have been talking about for years, and apparently it's finally going to happen. Who knows, it might even work. I will believe it when I see it though.

Thumper said...

Oh man, I am so tired of these calls (yes the US has the Do Not Call list, but it doesn't apply to companies you do business with.)

What gets me is they leave messages saying the call is "in regards to your credit card account." Well, yeah, but WHICH ONE? Tell me who you are, and MAYBE I'll call back.

But yeah, I screen the calls because I'm tired of dealing with them.

Joy T. said...

I won't type what I really want to about how I feel on telemarketers, but it's SO nice reading others feel the same way. And everyone I talk to feels like I do in that the amount of phone calls seem to be getting worse, not better. ms mac has the right idea. I say we bring out the tasers.

Shephard said...

Yeah. Telemarketers bug me. We're supposedly on the "don't call" list, but I get that exact same call. I'm thinking of buying an air horn.
~S

sister AE said...

My wife once hung up on a telemarketer who wouldn't take a breath. We then got a phone call BACK from the same salesperson who cursed her out for being so rude. We really hope that was one of the "conversations being recorded" for quality control or whatever.

As for me, I now answer the phone with a simple "hello." If no one responds within a few seconds, as someone who really wanted to talk to me would, then I hang up. Saves quite a few useless conversations, as far as I'm concerned.

rashbre said...

We have opt uot i the UK, but there are some countires where it doesn't apply, so we get a lot in international calls from South Africa related to telemarketing.

Naturally we don't answer. If its a real person they start to speak on the answerphone message and then we can pickup. The robots hang up.

rashbre said...

nearly forgot...heres the countermeasure script for telemarketers if you ever feel a little naughty.

Its here and also downloadable as a PDF.

Malinda777 said...

Hey Carmi:

Nice to get an e-mail! I'm so rude and don't get by often, I'm happy I am still on your list :) Keep me there :) Glad you are working at home now...go for the writing and the photography you are so good at it :)

Yea, I hate telemarketers too! I too use the hang on a minute tactic and leave them hanging.

Or, I will ask the talker for his/her home phone number. They always act so shocked and abruptly state that they cannot possibly give me their personal home phone number, and why would I even ask such an absurd question?

I tell them that it's simple. You interrupted me in my evening with my family, you interrupted my dinner, I was just hoping to have YOUR number so that I might return the favor and interrupt your evening for something stupid!

I usually get the CLICK :)

Stephanie said...

I love the DNC list. All of our phones, including the cells, are on it.

Anonymous said...

i like to talk to telemarketers like they matter. this is always fun because they never agree with you. i would suggest recording a conversation like that and letting your friends hear.
:cÞ
(goofy face)

Mrs. Parks said...

Well we get calls from Mimi, in specific-as well. The one and only time we got a live person on the call it was a man, we think, whom could not even communicate adequately in English, and when we complained he refused to identify himself or the company, laughed and disconnected the call. Mimi still calls. We have finally logged enough calls to contact the Police (we're Canadian), just wondering if anyone has found out who they are so we can continue to campaign/complain about their disgusting, dirty, rotten, slimy business practices. Certainly this isn't a legit credit card offer/company?!?