How to Attack Telemarketers Where It Hurts and Ruin Their Day

Updated on June 27, 2019
Glenn Stok profile image

I like to explore peculiar and noteworthy activities, and I write about them in a way that you can experience it too.


We all get our day interrupted by obnoxious telemarketers who could care less that they are calling your personal number at home or cell phone. Adding yourself to the “Do Not Call” list doesn’t seem to help much.

I will tell you how you can put an end to telemarketers disturbing you with a few counter-attack tricks 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. Don’t give them the opportunity to follow their script. That will confuse them at the least, but will also cause them to waste time. Their 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 Them 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.

Insist on Answers to 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 being 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 Them 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.

Important Things to Keep in Mind

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 they have been known to splice your affirmative statements 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.

You may find these types of calls stop happening after a while. Some telemarketers sell hot phone numbers to others, those 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 at all when you see an unrecognized Caller ID. But that wouldn’t be any fun, would it?

© 2019 Glenn Stok


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Stok 

      4 months ago from Long Island, NY

      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.

    • profile image

      4 months ago

      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 profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      7 months ago from East Coast, United States

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Stok 

      8 months ago from Long Island, NY

      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 profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      8 months ago from East Coast, United States

      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.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      8 months ago from The Caribbean

      Helpful and entertaining. I do like these tactics. I'm ready to try one. Thanks.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      8 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      You mention useful points. I do get calls from telemarketers. I am always pleasant.

    • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Stok 

      8 months ago from Long Island, NY

      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 profile image

      Jo Miller 

      8 months ago from Tennessee

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Stok 

      8 months ago from Long Island, NY

      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.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      8 months ago from UK

      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.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 months ago from Sunny Florida

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Stok 

      8 months ago from Long Island, NY

      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.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      8 months ago from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

      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.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      8 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      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

    • savvydating profile image


      8 months ago

      Glen, I see that you do have inside knowledge, having owned a business. Appreciate the clarification.

    • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Stok 

      8 months ago from Long Island, NY

      Well Paula, it is a real job nevertheless. But that's no reason to like it, right? Especially when they call you during dinner with family or when you're busy working in the middle of the day.

      The thing I don't accept is when they keep pushing when you say "not interested." Thats' what I usually do , as Yves mentioned in her comment.

      I usually hear them going on, trying to keep me engaged. I just listen for the fun of it without saying anything further. I like to see how they handle it.

      I learned a lot from my clients who were telemarketers and many of them admit having an attitude of not caring about people's personal lives.

      In that sense, yes Paula, they deserve it. Thanks for your comment and your example.

    • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Stok 

      8 months ago from Long Island, NY

      Yves - Actually, I was in the phone business before I retired and I'm the creator of Contact Caller, a telemarketing program that these people bought from me. I usually say "not interested" too, especially when I'm busy.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      8 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      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

    • savvydating profile image


      8 months ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Stok 

      8 months ago from Long Island, NY

      Readmikenow - Hey Ralph, I guess that's your name. Confused since you have Mike within your username. Anyway, interesting story. I thought that would work too, until they actually had another rep who took over speaking Ukrainian. Try it again next time it happens. It might have been just pure luck on their part.

    • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Stok 

      8 months ago from Long Island, NY

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon - Wow, you only get telemarketing calls on your landline and not on your cell. You're the lucky one! LOL.

    • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Stok 

      8 months ago from Long Island, NY

      John Hansen - Let me know how it works out when you try it John.

    • Readmikenow profile image


      8 months ago

      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.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      8 months ago from United Kingdom

      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.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      8 months ago from Queensland Australia

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Stok 

      8 months ago from Long Island, NY

      That’s right Ralph. Good way to define it. That’s the way to do it.

    • RJ Schwartz profile image

      Ralph Schwartz 

      8 months ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

      Be aggressive and ruthless - nice advice Glenn !


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)