How To

Tips for handling telemarketers

Here’s what will work, because it’s backed by law.

Unwanted phone calls

What I did to cut down on my telemarketing phone calls was to register with the National Do Not Call Registry (it’s free). I screen all my phone calls as well, through Caller ID and voicemail. I let telemarketers and phone numbers that I don’t know go to voicemail, where I can delete useless messages promptly.

Unwanted mail

I also make it a practice not to respond to junk mail; I shred it when I get it. And I have also registered with the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service, which lets you tell marketers that you’d rather not get junk mail. I opted out of all unsolicited mail.

Here’s what may not work, but would be fun to do.

Got the advice quoted below via email. (Thanks Nicole!) Apparently Snopes has debunked it as ineffective. Still, I say it’s fun to mail the junk mail back to the companies that send it. If nothing else, it costs them extra, and higher cost is always a deterrent. Plus, no one can deny the satisfaction to be gotten from wasting telemarketers’ time the same way they waste yours — on the phone.

So, read through this stuff, but keep in mind it may not work as desired, other than allowing you to blow off a little steam and get a chuckle at the expense of the companies that waste your time.

💡 Three Little Words That Work

“The three little words 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.

These three little words will help eliminate telephone soliciting.”

💡 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 your # button on the phone, 6 or 7 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!”

💡 Junk Mail Help

“When you get ‘ads’ enclosed with your bills, return these ‘ads’ with your payment. Let the sending companies throw their own junk mail away.

When you get those ‘pre-approved’ letters in the mail for everything from credit cards to 2nd mortgages and similar type junk, do not throw away the return envelope. Most of these come with postage-paid return envelopes, right?

It costs them more than the regular 41 cents postage if and when they receive them back, but it costs them nothing if you throw the ads away! The postage was around 50 cents before the last increase and it is according to the weight. In that case, why not get rid of some of your other junk mail and put it in these cool, little, postage-paid return envelopes.”

💡 Extra

“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! It still costs them 41 cents.

The banks and credit card companies are currently getting a lot of their own junk back in the mail, but folks, we need to OVERWHELM them. Let’s let them know what it’s like to get lots of junk mail, and best of all, they’re going to pay for it… Twice!

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 increase postage costs again. You get the idea, right?”


6 thoughts on “Tips for handling telemarketers

  1. For the telemarketers it really helps to use a call blocking device called the T-Lock Pro Call Blocker. Not a perfect solution, but over time you really see less calls and save time with all the repeat hang ups.


  2. GD says:

    Jack, lots of people do the jobs they do just to support themselves and their families. That has no bearing on whether what they do is a nuisance or not, or whether it is moral or immoral. Companies often require their employees to be dicks professionally – some companies rate your work on, among other things, how long you can delay a vendor’s payment. The fact that the guy who’s delayed your payment for 5 months is only doing his job doesn’t make it okay.
    I wouldn’t necessarily call telemarketing immoral, but it certainly is a nuisance. And while I wouldn’t abuse or yell at some poor telemarketer (most days at least), I certainly would do my best to be a nuisance too.
    Of course, the DND list is the best option. 🙂


  3. jack says:

    annnnd f y i its most likely not the same person every time calling you. when a service calls you and gets no response, they just route the call to be redialed after a certain length of time. i rarely call the same person twice. also, anyone in the house can request for the number to be on the dnc list, even the five year old. i do my job properly, and when someone says no, or requests the dnc, i make sure the call doesnt come back. but if people are just pushing buttons, and i dont push the call back button, i can get in huge trouble for it, subsequently causing me to lose my job. dont shoot the messenger.


  4. jack says:

    obviously youve never worked for a telemarketing company. when you say, “hang on please” and walk away, sure, we hang up, but guess what? we call you back 🙂 also the dialer isnt used to “find out when youre home” but so we dont have to dial the number ourselves, weve just called you and put you on hold, hence the dead air. if you wait a few seconds someone will pick up. 😀 (thats funny) pushing the pound key, or any sequence of keys, will not screw with the dialer. thats ridiculous. well just call you back. most companies who are exempt from the do not call lists are fundraisers or charities, and they each have thier own do not call list which is under the same restrictions as the federal do not call list. if you really want a fundraiser or charity to stop calling you back, simply ask them to place you on thier do not call list. how simple. also, how mature. i realize its incredibly inconvenient to recieve calls from telemarketers, but keep in mind, these people (and me) have a job to do. people have jobs to support themselves and thier families (in my case, a three year old). these people arent calling to screw with you, theyre just doing thier job, so they can pay the rent, like everyone else. you want telemarketers to stop calling you? take thirty seconds, make sure they get the name of thier company and the service theyre working for out ( if you hang up after just the company name, surprise surprise, we call you back) tell them no, and ask to be removed form the call list. trust me on this.


  5. That is a bit of bad news, Julie. Makes me feel foolish for not researching this before posting it. I’ll modify the post accordingly, thank you!


  6. You might want to read this. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. The link also has some tips on how to cut down on junk mail.

    You should also report unwanted calls at The FTC will go after someone if they get enough complaints.


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