Glenn Stok likes to explore significant and noteworthy activities of exceptional value, and he writes about it so you can experience it too.
We all have our day interrupted by obnoxious telemarketers who call our home number or cell phone. Adding yourself to the “Do Not Call” list doesn’t seem to help much.
I'll tell you how you can fight back when telemarketers disturb you with a few counter-attacks that will humiliate them and maybe even put a damper on their day. Plus, you’ll have fun with it in the process.
When a telemarketer calls, take charge of the conversation yourself. Never give them the opportunity to follow their script. That will confuse them at the least, but will also cause them to waste time. Time is precious for a telemarketer because they need to quickly move on from one call to the next to meet their quota.
Here are a few tricks that will give you some satisfaction that you overpowered these unfortunate individuals who have no concern for your privacy, your time, or your freedom.
As soon as you realize you picked up the phone to a telemarketer, interrupt them with any of the following fun tricks:
Tell Telemarketers They Have to Pay for Calling You
After they finish their spiel, say this:
“Before I speak with you, I need you to agree to a charge of $10 for my time that will be billed automatically to your phone account.”
Most of them will be frightened, not knowing if this is possible, and will just hang up. However, for the few who continue, you can repeat the request for the requirement to accept the charge before continuing.
Just keep repeating the request like a robot. Telemarketers won’t be able to handle that. I assure you.
Force a Telemarketer to Answer Your Questions
Once a telemarketer starts in with their script, instead of responding to whatever question they ask you, turn the situation around immediately by asking them questions.
- Ask, “Do you enjoy your job?”
- Ask, “Do you always meet your quota for the day?”
- Ask, “Does your boss give you breaks between calls?”
- Ask, “Do you get to make personal calls to your friends while working the phones?”
You get the idea. You can come up with questions of your own. Have fun with it.
These telemarking calls are usually recorded so that management can assess the success of each agent, so they won’t want to stay on the line with you once you begin this attack of questions.
Remember never to respond to any of their questions. Reply only with your own questions, ignoring whatever they are saying to you. Be robotic about your approach.
In most cases, you won’t get very far since they will give up quickly. Nevertheless, you’ll still get some satisfaction out of it.
Give Telemarketers a Taste of Their Own Treatment
Wait for them to start, but don’t give them the satisfaction of a reply specific to anything they are saying. After they wasted their time with their initial spiel, do your own version of telemarketing with something similar to this:
“I’m so glad you called! Do I have an opportunity for you! Let me tell you about it. I have a plan that will help you get out of your present demanding job and start enjoying life. Let me tell you about it.”
Keep going on with this. I gave you a start. Improvise the rest yourself. You can do this.
The important thing is to keep going. Do not ask questions and stop. That will only give the telemarketer a chance to say something. That’s not what you want. You don’t ever want to give up control.
In most cases, you won’t need to keep going very long. They will quickly hang up. But again, you will feel satisfied.
Make Believe You Know the Telemarketer
Turn the conversation around so that they never have a chance to conduct their spiel. As soon as they begin to talk, and you realize it’s a telemarketer, interrupt them by saying how wonderful it is to rear from them.
Then continue with reminiscing about old times that you recall having with them. Just make stuff up and keep going. This video is an example.
Always Maintain Control of the Conversation
Remember to never answer their questions. You will have given up control.
Never say the word “yes” or “okay.” Avoid any affirmative statements. They record these calls and splice your affirmative answers from the conversation to use as proof that you agreed to something, ordered something, or accepted a contractual offer.
Always maintain control of the conversation yourself. Never give a telemarketer a chance to get anything of value from the conversation. That will destroy their confidence in their ability to do their job.
Be Kind. They're Just Doing a Job. Right?
Sure, it is a real job, nevertheless. But that's no reason to like it. Especially when they call you during dinner with family or when you're busy working in the middle of the day.
I don't feel it is right when they keep pushing when you say, "not interested." That's' what I usually do.
I usually hear them going on, trying to keep me engaged. I listen for the fun of it without saying anything further. I like to see how they handle it.
I was in the phone business before I retired, and I created a telemarketing program that telemarketers bought from me. I learned a lot from my clients, and many admit having an attitude of not caring about people's personal lives.
You may find these types of calls stop happening after a while. Some telemarketers sell hot phone numbers to other telemarketing firms—numbers that had successful results or at least a person who responds well to their script.
When they have an experience like the examples I’ve described above, they will just want to get rid of your number. It’s not worth anything to them. Not even to sell to another telemarketer.
Of course, you could always hang up or not answer when you see an unrecognized Caller ID. But that wouldn’t be any fun, would it?
© 2019 Glenn Stok
Suzie from Carson City on February 04, 2020:
I surely came upon this article in a very timely manner, Glenn! Just recently, a friend and I had a discussion about how frustrated we've become with telemarketers, arbitrary sales calls, robo-messages....
Your suggestions are terrific! Next call? I'M READY!!! Thanks, Glenn!
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on February 04, 2020:
David Brown - I like that idea! They sit safely behind a desk and never have to meet with the public. This would scare them for sure. LOL.
David Brown on February 04, 2020:
Ask for the location where they are calling from so you can discuss this in person.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on May 19, 2019:
T - Caller ID can be spoofed to show a different number each time they call. That’s why blocking numbers no longer helps. In addition, they spoof numbers that have the same first digits as yours so you think it’s a local caller. They get more people to answer that way. The best strategy is simply to not answer unknown numbers.
T on May 19, 2019:
Glenn, this is great information, turn it into fun! How much time do we waste watching youtube spoofs, or watching AFV? Get in on your own spoof!
Like you say, wasting their time is the best revenge. I just say “oh, hi, can you hold on a second” and I leave them hanging if I’m busy or when they prompt me to come back on I say “coming just one more minute” or “I’m almost there” and string them along as long as I can. They don’t want to hang up on a living breathing human being.
Marketing scams are the most annoying practice imaginable on a cell phone,. I have blocked a thousand numbers and have three applications on my phone that are supposed to stop it but I still get an average if 3-5 calls a week!
Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on January 24, 2019:
I was thinking that it was someone we knew who has a history of bothering people by phone and online. I don't think it was malware because my son has an old flip phone without internet, There are easy to find sites online that will annoy people for you, for a small charge.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 18, 2019:
That’s an interesting story Dolores. Caller ID can be spoofed into a different number, even though it’s illegal to do that. But that doesn’t stop crooks.
I find it interesting that they know your son's number to use it to spoof you. I would suspect that his phone was hacked and may still have malware on it that sends its contents to the hacker. Check it out.
Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on January 18, 2019:
Hi Glenn - love this stuff and how you can actually have fun with these obnoxious callers. However, it got so bad here that I just don't answer the phone anymore unless I know who it is. We have also been getting spoof calls (over holidays) where the caller ID number looked like it was from a relative but wound up being a "prank" call, One came from my son's phone supposedly while he was standing right in front of me but not using his phone.Now my phone's ID says "spam" in front of other words. I'm just sick of being pestered.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 17, 2019:
Helpful and entertaining. I do like these tactics. I'm ready to try one. Thanks.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 12, 2019:
You mention useful points. I do get calls from telemarketers. I am always pleasant.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 10, 2019:
Jo Miller - Good points Jo. It’s all a matter of what you want to achieve. If you want to have fun for a minute of your time, you can do what the title of this article suggests.
Jo Miller from Tennessee on January 10, 2019:
Does your tactic decrease the number of these calls you get? If not, it seems to me it would be more beneficial to you to just hang up. That'll save some of your precious time and, though striking back feels good in the moment, I'm not sure that really benefits you in the long run.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 09, 2019:
Liz, That's another trick l like—letting them waste their time going through the entire script and then giving them a response that is a dead end.
The only thing to be careful with: try not to say the word “yes” because they could be recording the conversation and use that to prove that you agreed to a purchase.
Liz Westwood from UK on January 09, 2019:
I really enjoyed reading this article. You give some great tips. My best experience was many years ago when we lived in a first floor apartment. I let a telemarketer go through their whole script about a conservatory. In answer to their closing question: "Would you like a quote for a conservatory?" I responded: "Yes. I would be very interested if you could explain how you can build a conservatory onto a first floor apartment!" I seem to remember the call ending abruptly.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on January 08, 2019:
I am thrilled to have some technique to fight back as we get those calls all the time. I love your way os handling them.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 06, 2019:
Brian Leekley - I usually add them to my block list. I have that feature on my iPhone. Then they never get through again. The only problem is that some of them use a different Caller-ID each time.
I like that idea of yours, saying “Would you like to speak to someone who lives here?” And then putting them on hold — forever.
Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on January 05, 2019:
If the caller isn't in my Caller ID, I don't answer the call. Later I Google the phone number. If it has been reported to be a robo-caller, scammer, telemarketer, or other sort of phone pest caller, I add the number and that information to my Contacts so that I know next time not to bother to check for a voicemail. I don't like trying to express myself on a telephone and avoid receiving and making calls as much as possible. I tell friends and family that I prefer texting. If I did bother to talk to a phone pest, I'd strive to think of convincing reasons to put zir on hold. How about: "Would you like to speak with someone who lives here? Hold on a second."
Years ago when I went through period of compounded debt, I learned to never talk on the phone with a debt collector. Doing so is pointless.
A telemarketer should always leave a voicemail, in case the call is offering a product, a service, or a chance to support a cause in which I'm interested. I'm unlikely to call back, but I might look for information online. An example might be a call asking for support for a political candidate or initiative.
Suzie from Carson City on January 05, 2019:
Glenn....I'll give you the benefit of the doubt about whether telemarketing qualifies as a "real" job. However, unlike the majority of "other" sales positions (retail, etc) one's income does not rely on cold-calling, annoying & pressuring potential consumers with unsolicited, unwelcome calls & scripted spiels, no one wants to hear.
The reality simply is, 90% (or higher) of the public has a complete aversion to this method of selling (harassment)
My attitude is so simple and genuine.....I recall a very old adage: "Don't call me, I'll call you." LOL Peace, Paula
Suzie from Carson City on January 04, 2019:
LOL...Very good, Glenn. Rest assured, I have used my own personally-created routine with those annoying telemarketers! If I don't simply end the call abruptly by disconnecting, I'll go on with my questions and comments, non-stop, giving them little if any chance to speak. They do get frustrated. At that point I'll ask them to excuse me while I put them on hold (there's someone at my door) Then, I just never go back to the phone.
Oh, I'm a meanie...but they SO deserve it. These people need to GET A REAL JOB!! I love your suggestions!! Paula
Yves on January 04, 2019:
It's a job, and I don't humiliate people who are working. I have more meaningful ways of having fun. All you have to do is say, "Not interested "and hang up. The end. Luckily for you, you've never had to be a telemarketer. But you might be good at it, since you like out-talking people. Just saying....
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 04, 2019:
Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon - Wow, you only get telemarketing calls on your landline and not on your cell. You're the lucky one! LOL.
Readmikenow on January 04, 2019:
I had an interesting experience. I kept getting telemarketing calls. So, when they called, I started speaking Ukrainian to them. It was funny. They got frustrated. Wouldn't you know it, I did it to one telemarketer, he said wait a minute, and they had someone get on the phone who spoke perfect Ukrainian This guy tried to sell me on a bank loan in Ukrainian. I never thought I would hear such a thing. When he was done, the Ukrainian speaker told me he knows I speak English. I told him I know he should get a job at the embassy. So, good advice Ralph. Enjoyed reading this.
Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on January 04, 2019:
I do enjoy messing with them. :) But even that got dull, so I just unplugged my landline and use my mobile exclusively. Life's a lot more peaceful now.
John Hansen from Queensland Australia on January 04, 2019:
I love this advice, Glenn. I will certainly try this approach. Normally my way of getting them to hang up or not want to pursue the call is if I say I just had a death in the family and am not up to talking. But your ideas are more fun.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 04, 2019:
That’s right Ralph. Good way to define it. That’s the way to do it.
Ralph Schwartz from Idaho Falls, Idaho on January 03, 2019:
Be aggressive and ruthless - nice advice Glenn !