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Pandora's avatar

What do you do to handle the annoying phone telemarketing calls?

Asked by Pandora (30813points) May 29th, 2015
28 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

So needless to say, I get a crap load of telemarketing calls. There is the usual things one can do, but it seems they just become more determined to keep calling.
True you can simply just let all unavailable or numbers you don’t recognize go unanswered but the ringing gets on your nerves. You don’t want to turn off the ringer because you may actually miss important calls.

1. So I decided to do several things. I changed all my phone rings to a delightful little tune I actually like hearing.

2. I turned off the ringer on my phone in the bedroom so I won’t be disturbed when I am in my room. (I have my cell with me for family members to reach me)

3. I blocked all repeat offending numbers.
And yes. I did go to the national registry to do not call list. That is a joke. They don’t block charities and all they have to do is call themselves a charity to be able to call you.

Also there are too many companies that are fly by night, and if they get a lot of complaints the companies in question close down and open up under a different name.
Since doing this. The calls have slowed down. I get maybe and average of 1–3 calls a day instead of the usual 4–10 calls.

So what do you do?

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jca's avatar

When I see a number in the Caller ID that I do not recognize, I usually don’t answer the phone. If I do answer, as soon as there is hesitation (from the robo-call machine) or when the person asks for me, I will hang up asap.

jca (36054points)“Great Answer” (2points)
Coloma's avatar

Let all your calls go to voice mail and check them later, and if you do happen to answer, be polite.
A simple ” No thank you, I’m not interested, have a nice day” then hang up is the best methodology. If it’s an automated call just hang up.
Telemarketers are usually young or senior citizens trying to supplement their income, there is never a good reason to be rude to people who are just doing their jobs no matter how annoying you may find it.

Apparently_Im_The_Grumpy_One's avatar

Change the tone for all unrecognized numbers to silence. Add the important ones to your contacts.

LuckyGuy's avatar

1a) If it is a person I say “Thanks I am not interested. Please take me off your list.” And then hang up.
1b) If it is a Robo call I put my phone near the radio playing a talk show., usually NPR, and just let it sit there until my phone gives a warning that it’s off the hook. I figure that ties up one of their lines for a while costing them a little money.
2) I then save the number on my phone as “Spam”.
3) Finally, I report it to It takes me about 2 minutes, but Oh the satisfaction! It also helps other people who use

elbanditoroso's avatar

Pick up the phone, slam it down.

@LuckyGuy ‘s decision tree, although admirable, is way too much work.

cookieman's avatar

I have fun with them if it’s a human. I either:

A) Act REALLY happy to hear from them and energetically inquire about their health and their family. “Oh my god! How have you been? How’s the erectile dysfunction working out for you?”, “Is your Mum still sleeping with her neighbor?”

B) Just calmly keep repeating “Cheese sandwich” over and over.

If it’s a robot, I just hang up.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@elbanditoroso If you hang up it frees them to call another person. I take the bullet for the next guy. .

sahID's avatar

If I don’t recognize the number, or it pops up as “Unknown” I simply don’t answer

On occasion I do answer. As soon as it sounds like a recording, or as soon as I hear either a difficult to understand accent or a message in Spanish, I simply hang up.

One other thing I discovered almost by accident: robocall setups are programmed to listen for a response that begins with the word “hello.” So answering with anything else, especially “Yo” causes the system to terminate the call.

Pachy's avatar

I no longer answer ANY calls that I don’t recognize on Caller ID. From time to time I miss one I should have picked up, but since voice mail catches them, there’s no problem.

The main thing, I don’t let myself get pissed about telemarketing calls anymore. They’re a fact of life, like a million other things that used to annoy me but no longer do.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Well the one unexpected benefit from listing the phone in the cat’s name is demonstrated in the following conversation:
Q: “Hello Mr. Kitty? A: “Go fk yourself”. click

stanleybmanly's avatar

Come to think of it, I wonder just how many of the cat’s close personal friends have been rudely offended?

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Pandora's avatar

@sahID That’s interesting. I have to give it a try. It would explain why it would hang up sometimes in the past when I would assume it was someone I knew calling and I would immediately say the persons name, like mom, if I picked up before caller ID would show.

gondwanalon's avatar

I don’t have caller I.D. because I don’t want to waste my money on it. I have an answering machine. If the caller has something important to say then the will leave a message and I may or may not pick up the phone.

If I do pick up the phone and it’s someone asking for donations then I say send me information about your cause and I’ll consider it after consulting my budget. When they will press me for a verbal commitment I again say “I have to consult my budget”. If they keep at me for a verbal commitment I say “This conversation is over” and hang up. Sometimes they have the nerve to ask for may my credit card number and that’s my signal to say “Have a nice day” and hang up.

osoraro's avatar

I just screen them. IF it’s a number I don’t recognize I let it go to voice mail. IF they want to talk to me, then they can leave a VM. IF not, well, whatevs

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I sometimes grab another extension and load up the feedback by putting the earpiece to the microphone of the other phone.
O h —- y e a

suryokecu's avatar

It’s better for me to just answer these calls and if it is robocalls or telemarketers, I just hung up the phone. After that I will also report it to FTC if they always calling me more than 3–4 times a day. Beside that, I will also share their numbers to all of my family and friends. It’s still not enough, then I share them to Facebook, Twitter, or some websites like just to let more people know that those numbers are crooks, block them from your phone. :)

wildpotato's avatar

1) Read them the label on a Dr. Bronner’s soap bottle. I have an empty one I keep by the phone specifically for this purpose.
2) Tell them I’m very sorry they have such a terrible job and wish them better luck in their life in the future.
3) Keep the phone unplugged during the day and check messages often. I do miss some calls though.

jaytkay's avatar

I say, “Hi! One second” and then I put the phone down and let them hear me working or whatever I’m doing.

Also, I add them to my telemarketer phone group – if they call again, the voice mail picks up immediately, and my recorded greeting for that group is, “Hello? pause Hello? longer pause Hello?”

Adagio's avatar

I only receive telemarketing calls about once a week or perhaps even fortnightly. I’m never rude to them, don’t engage in any conversation and am always clear that I’m not interested, thank you, goodbye. I see no point in playing games with them, I figure they are simply people trying to survive and probably being very low paid for their efforts.

kritiper's avatar

I ignore them. That’s what Caller ID and a answering machine are for.

LostInParadise's avatar

I give the person or robot at the other end about two seconds to start speaking after I say hello. If I don’t hear anything in that time, I just hang up. That can screen out a good number of calls. For some reason most telemarketing calls have a delay before speaking.

jca's avatar

Usually when they come in to my phone, I’m at work so all I see is the number on my home phone but no message.

From handling these calls at work, I got into the habit of asking “what are you selling?” That’s a hint to them, like “cut to the chase” so I wouldn’t have to hear their whole speech. I received a telemarketing call at home and I asked “what are you selling?” The caller said “I’m not selling anything, I’m trying to save you money.” I replied “I don’t want to save money. I like to spend it.” and I hung up.

jca (36054points)“Great Answer” (2points)
LuckyGuy's avatar

@LostInParadise “For some reason most telemarketing calls have a delay before speaking.” True.
Often they are calling multiple numbers at once. The poor, overworked caller can be listening for a response on 5 different lines. As soon as someone bites, they try to get there, with varying degrees of success. If they have someone already, they let it go A bird in the hand… They will call back the next day.
You know someone above them is taking data and plotting statistics on every aspect of their performance.
What a crap job.

(By tying up a line I figure I am screwing the call center owner, not the caller.)

snowberry's avatar

I had a friend who put this on his answering machine: Hello! This is Jerry. I screen ALL of my calls. If you are a telemarketer, hang up now. If not, leave a message, and maybe I’ll get back to you! His friends of course, knew the drill, and he’d call them back Otherwise, he didn’t!

lugerruger's avatar

This probably isn’t the answer you’re looking for, but I like to have some fun with them.
Once I was talking to a telemarketer and I told them I couldn’t afford the item they were trying to sell, as I had 4 sets of quads. They were shocked, and he completely forgot he was trying to sell something. He asked some questions about it, then he said “God bless you” and hung up.
Some funny things to say to telemarketers:
“I can’t talk, I need to wax my cat’s eyebrows.”
“I work for that company too, you can’t sell to employees.”
Say nothing
“You’re still in business? I guess the assassins haven’t arrived yet…”
Speak in a foreign language
” I’d love to hear more about why you are calling me, but I’m in the middle of dinner right now. Why don’t you give me your home number so I can call and irritate you in the middle of your meal?”

RocketGuy's avatar

I gave the phone to my daughter once, when she was 2. She chatted nonsense to them for a few minutes.

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