We all get them. Those annoying phone calls that come just when you are cooking or sitting down to dinner. They're trying to sell you something. I've had calls offering me a wonderful 'free' weekend vacation in a luxurious spot, then the catch is that you have to have a husband/partner (I don't) and have at least a $50,000 a year income (Nope). Anyway, over here now we have a 'Don't Call" register where you can register with the service, and have all those annoying phone calls blocked from your number. It's worth inquiring as to if a similar service operates in your city.
By Ellie from Melbourne, Australia
Editor's Note: Anyone in the U.S. can have their name added to the National Do Not Call Registry by following this link:
I always liked to give my daughter the phone when she was in her "babbling loving to talk on the phone but not actually knowing any real words yet" phase. She's sit there and "talk" to the telemarketers for a while. I always wondered how long it too them to figure it out! (07/05/2007)
That funny, handing the phone to your child. lol We have a simple rule, we don't answer our phone at meal time, or when we're busy. That's what the answering machine is for.
We rarely get solicitations by phone anyway (we're unlisted), but do occasionally get the random dial types. In those instances I always ask them how they got my phone number....which throws them every time, and I also ask that they remove my number from their call list.
For those who don't yet have the 'Do Not Call' lists (though I think most everyone does now), just interrupt the telemarketer and ask them to please permanently remove you from their calling list. If the same company calls back, they're violating Federal law. At that point, ask them for their company name, supervisor name and phone number. If you wish to quote the law to the telemarketer (that could actually be kind of fun), you can get that at the Federal Trade Commission: Telemarketing Sales Rule.
For general telemarketing calls: Send a postcard with your complete telephone number, area code, address, and names of people receiving calls to DMA Telephone Preference Service, PO Box 9014, Farmingdale NY 11735-9014.
I use the mail preference service and it does wonders. (07/05/2007)
I usually just say that I'm the babysitter and that the homeowner is working late all this week.
But sometimes I'm in the mood for a bit of devilment and so I say something like 'oh that sounds interesting, tell me all about it' and then proceed to misunderstand what it is they are trying to sell me, sometimes I ask them to hold for a minute while I put the cat out, we don't have a cat. I will ask them to repeat things and then ask some more questions, maybe throw in a comment about the weather and ask how it is where they are.
Eventually, I will say that I'll need some time to think about it and ask them to call me back in a day or two, they never do! I wonder why? (07/05/2007)
By Ann S
Here is a US law about telemarketers that most people, not even the telemarketers know about. If you say no 3 times and they continue to try to sell you something, they are doing so illegally. Call this to their attention and let them know this and ask them for their name and the number in which they can be reached so your lawyer can contact them. I promise, they won't call back.
Another way to get rid of them is to pretend you are mentally disturbed, and that you are seeing and hearing things that are attacking you and describe these things as alien type beings. Or pretend you are mentally challenged and start talking off the wall about stuff. A friend of mine does this to bill collectors! (07/05/2007)
We used to get a lot of telemarketers and such, even with an unlisted number. When they would call, I would listen politely for about 20 seconds, and then would say "Oh, there's someone at the door. Just a minute." and then put the phone down on the table. Eventually they hang up and usually don't call back. Another thing I would do is to speak Spanish to them. Gets rid of them fast. (07/05/2007)
When the display of my phone shows a 1-800 number I never answer it, or I press the speaker button for 2 seconds and then press it again to cut off the call. It works! (07/06/2007)
You all are too funny. I never thought about giving the phone to a baby. Good idea. (07/06/2007)
It's not even that I mind people calling me to sell me something, it's how they act. You almost always have to be rude to get rid of them. When I do happen to speak to someone who politely accepts that I am not interested, I thank them for their respect. It doesnt happen often.
Telemarketers are not given much latitude in how they can initiate a call. And it's a job with a huge turnover rate. A thankless job to be sure. And the companies they are representing are often sleazeballs. Just remember that it's YOUR phone and it's there for YOUR convenience.
You could, if you want have some fun with them, pretend your hard of hearing. Ask them to spell everything. repeatedly, tell them about how bad your day is going, etc., or see if they would like to hear you sing "Good Golly Miss Molly." Pretend that they are a long lost friend or that someone you know has put them up to this as a prank call. (07/06/2007)
The US Federal do-not-call list works, to an extent. But if you give your telephone number out online for anything the dratted telemarketers can feel free to call you anyway. Part of the law says that 'anyone you have done business with...' may call you. So don't do it! If a website demands your phone number, either put a fake one in, or leave the site.
Recently DH asked for some information online from a local college. Lo and behold, we fielded 20 to 30 calls from colleges all across the country wondering if we'd be interested in an online 'correspondence' course? Sheesh! (07/06/2007)
A quick note from a former telemarketer.
If the company calling you is registered with the state that you live in (i.e., a local pest control company), they are exempt form the DNC list (especially in Texas, home of numerous critters, LOL!). You can still request to be placed on their own DNC list. The company I worked for did not buy a list, but used the Cole's Dictionary for the DFW metro area, so we did not have access to any DNC list but our own. (07/06/2007)
Although we registered in May, we are still getting calls. I have now been advised to make a note of the time, company name and name of the person and any other relevant information. After that, tell them you are on the register and going to make a complaint. (07/09/2007)
Thank you for all your answers. I must admit I did a crazy thing once. I got a call and told the caller I wasn't me. She (giving my surname) has gone overseas on holiday for six weeks to visit her sister. I was only the neighbour, come in to water the potplants and feed the fish. Okay, they hung up, but six weeks later the same person rang again and said 'Oh, good, you're back. How was your holiday?"
Sprung! So I said quickly 'No, it's still the neighbour, she has been delayed indefinitely. Her sister had a heart attack!" Well, when I told my family this they all fell about laughing and saying "Mother, A simple NO would have done for the first call. Why such an elaborate story?" I truly don't know. Seemed like a good idea at the time. (07/10/2007)
Even when you are registered on the National Do Not Call List, both companies that you have done business with and non-profits (for donations) are legally allowed to call you. My phone company has been a real pain in the behind, trying to get me to subscribe to unneeded services. (07/10/2007)
I hand the phone to my 4 year old grandson and tell him it is for him, it is so comical to hear the frustration in the caller's voice, when my very talkative grandson starts to ask them who, what and what for they are. (08/27/2007)
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