Put an end to pesky telemarketers

Published 9:42 am Tuesday, January 12, 2010

It’s almost like you can set your clock on them.

All one has to do, after arriving home following a long day at work, is sit down at the dinner table and the phone will ring.

Thanks to Caller ID, one can immediately identify the person on the other end of the line as a pesky telemarketer. If you’re like me, you ignore the call, but it still gets on your nerves to have someone rudely cause an interruption during a meal.

Adding to that frustration is that telemarketers are now calling as late as 9 p.m.

But if you really want to have some fun, and don’t mind fielding a call, here are some tips that will frustrate telemarketers.

Three words that really work are…“hold on please.” Saying this, while putting down your phone and walking off (instead of hanging-up immediately), would make each telemarketing call so much more time-consuming that boiler room sales would grind to a halt.

Then when you eventually hear the phone company’s “beep-beep-beep” tone, you know it’s time to go back and hang up your handset, which has efficiently completed its task.

Do you ever get those annoying phone calls with no one on the other end? This is a telemarketing technique where a machine makes phone calls and records the time of day when a person answers the phone. This technique is used to determine the best time of day for a “real” sales person to call back and get someone at home.

What you can do after answering, if you notice there is no one there, is to immediately start hitting the # button on your phone. Do it six or seven times as quickly as possible. This confuses the machine that dialed the call and it kicks your number out of their system. Gosh, what a shame not to have your name in their system any longer!

You can also have some fun with all the junk mail you receive.

When you get advertising enclosed with your phone or utility bill, return them with your payment. Let those companies throw their own junk mail away.

When you get those “pre-approved” letters in the mail for everything from credit cards to second mortgages and similar type junk, do not throw away the return envelope. Most of these come with postage-paid return envelopes. It costs them more than the regular postage ‘IF’ and when they receive them back. It costs them nothing if you throw them away. The postage they pay is according to weight. In that case, get rid of some of your other junk mail and put it in these cool little, postage-paid return envelopes.

Good old Andy Rooney of “60 Minutes” fame advises to send an ad for your local chimney cleaner to American Express; send a pizza coupon to Citibank. If you didn’t get anything else that day, then just send them their blank application back.

If you want to remain anonymous, just make sure your name isn’t on anything you send them. You can even send the envelope back empty if you want to just to keep them guessing.

Let’s help keep our postal service busy since they are saying that e-mail is cutting into their business profits and that’s why they need to keep increasing the cost of stamps.

Cal Bryant is Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be reached at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.