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Thursday 27 October 2016

How To Avoid Telemarketers


"Good day, please allow me to irritate
the crap out of you." 
We all know the dreaded call - "Good day, can I please speak to Mr/Mrs/Ms *insert badly pronounced name and surname*."

"How are you today? I don't really care about your answer to that, but my script says I have to ask."

"Congratulations, because you are such a valued customer and your shit don't stink, you have been specially selected for blah blah blah".

I don't know anyone who has actually ever bought anything from these people?

This makes me wonder if they ever manage to actually sell anything! But they continue to exist, which means that clearly they do have some success, otherwise the cold calling departments would all be loss making and therefore shut down.

Over the years I have tried everything to get the call to end quickly - these people are trying to sell me something I clearly do not need/want, because if I did then I would have done the research, selected the best product and made the purchase already!

So I am really not interested in what they have to say.

I have tried the super friendly approach - but then the call seems to drag on and on as they read through their scripts, and I usually have to tell them two or three times just how NOT interested I am in their wonderful offer. This usually results in about 5 minutes of my life I will never get back.

I have also tried the angry approach where from the get go I let them know in no uncertain terms that they are wasting my time, I am not interested, and they better not call me again. This usually ends the call quicker, but I end up feeling a little bad - I remind myself that this person is simply doing their job and I should actually be getting upset with the people that hire them, and not the actual person doing the calling.

So over the years I have managed to hone my anti-telemarketing skills and come up with some strategies to avoid/get rid of these people, while still being nice about it. So here they are - feel free to cold call me later to thank me.


Avoidance is your first port of call. As you know, I generally like round numbers, the exception being when it is an incoming call. Any number ending in something nice like 0000 or 2500 I avoid answering. If I am mistaken and the call is actually from someone important then they will likely leave a message. I also avoid all private number calls - again the reasoning is an important call will result in me receiving a voice mail and I can then call them back.
"Avoid answering private numbers and numbers which end in something nice like 0000 or 2500"

Alternate Strategies

Of course sometimes your significant other/good friend/mom will call you from their office phone, which may go through a switchboard and end up arriving at your phone with a nice 0000 at the end or even as a private number. Naturally you may need to answer. Also sometimes I know I am going to be receiving an important call (e.g. with regards to a delivery) and then I also need to answer. But fear not I have some good tips for this too:
    • If you answer and you hear it is a telemarketer, you tell them unfortunately you are very busy at the moment, it is best they call you when you are done with work, which is after 18h00. Most of them do not work that late, so the likelihood of them actually calling you at that time is quite small. I have had the odd overachiever who actually does call back after 18h00, and just for their effort I almost feel like answering.....almost. But luckily I have taken a mental note of the number from earlier in the day and I just let it ring out.1
    • I knew someone who had another strategy, which I may or may not have used before :) Once you hear it is a telemarketer you ask them if the call is being recorded. If they respond yes then you tell them sorry you cannot speak to them as you are not comfortable that the call is being recorded. If they reply no, then you tell them you would prefer the call to be recorded and therefore you cannot speak to them. Problem solved!

Hope these tips help, please let me know if you have any other suggestions or strategies2 by dropping them into the comments below - I would love to hear them, and I am sure your fellow readers would too!

Till next time, Stay Stealthy!
 - ~ - ~

1 Maybe if enough people start requesting call backs after 18:00, the call centre's overtime bill will become too large to justify its continued existence? Then all the call centres would need to shut down, saving thousands of hours, resulting in a significantly better economy, which would attract a lot more foreign direct investment, which would strengthen the rand thereby decreasing inflation? Okay I may have overstated the impact a little :)
2 My wife has a new cunning strategy which she uses to good effect, but unfortunately it won't be an option forever (although a little white lie never hurt anyone....right? ;)). With a newborn in the house she is quick to say she has just had a child and therefore very busy and cannot take their call, usually accompanied with our milk monster crying in the background for added effect! No further questions are asked :)