There are many techniques that have been used to handle telemarketing calls. Jerry Seinfeld fans will recall Jerry asking a telemarketer for their home phone number to discuss the product they were trying to sell later in the day. I’m sure there are mixed reviews on what does and does not work, but I can give you an edge when it comes to these annoying calls.
The National Do-Not-Call list in Canada is administered by Bell Canada. Yes, it appears the lunatics are running the asylum. I do subscribe to the do-no-call list but still receive unsolicited calls. I have never worked in a outbound telemarketing call centre and could not bring myself to do so. However, it is important to be polite. I would like to share some things I have learned:
- Avoiding the call: Check your caller ID before answering. If it is listed as 123-456-7890 or 999-999-9999 or any other ridiculous variation, resist the temptation to answer the phone.
- Private Name/Number: Sometimes the caller information is private, in this case let your voicemail or answering machine handle the call. Unknown name/number call.
- Not sure who it is: If you must answer, be sure to say “hello” only once. In many telesales call centres, there are automated diallers that place the call for the rep. On the first hello, the dialler determines that there is a live person and fires the call to a rep. The rep does not hear you. Your second “hello” is when they first hear you and begin their pitch.
- You answered the phone without realizing: When the telemarketer asks for Mr. or Mrs. [your name here], you can always see “They are not in right now. Can I take a message?” This almost always results in ending the call or the rep asking when a good time to call back is. My answer is “no, I don’t, they are quite busy.”
- Never press any buttons! If you are congratulated by an automated message on your cruise reward for a contest you didn’t enter, or if a rep asks you to press some buttons to confirm your interest, or even to unsubscribe from the calls, do not do it. Never touch the keypad on an unsolicited call as this can lead to your phone line being hijacked for lengthy and expensive long distance calls.
- You are on a call. Unsubscribe: Ask the rep for their name (this in itself may end the call), but if they are compliant, ask them to remove you from their calling list. Some will actually comply.
- Register a complaint: Be sure to report this to the National Do-Not-Call list (Canada) if you are registered. You will need to provide your name address and phone number along with the offending phone number and the time of the call.
- Report fraud: If you think there is fraudulent activity, contact the police or PhoneBusters.