Why I hate telemarketers

I have an ex-directory phone number. I have this for two reasons – one that I had a very unpleasant stalking experience while living in university accommodation that I’d rather not repeat (this is also why I try and maintain some form of Internet anonymity) and the other is that I cannot stand telemarketers and would like to make it as hard as possible for them to get my information. It worked for a couple of years too.

I am generally polite with call centre workers for the most part because I know the kind of work they’re doing is hard and nasty and completely unappreciated; it’s not their fault that they have to follow Virgin Media’s “Cable Modem Diagnosis for Morons” script sheet whenever I call up, and at least the Indian call centre workers are generally polite if useless. (Top tip: if you know what you’re talking about, go to the USENET support.broadband groups, where there are technicians around who know how their network actually works.)

I see no obligation, however, to be polite to telemarketers. Telemarketers are taking up your time. They invade your privacy. They feel entitled to force themselves on you; they’re just the same as spammers, stalkers, script kiddies and fundamentalists. I can appreciate that it is not the call centre operatives who make four-second silent calls to my phone line who are at fault here, that they’re just doing what their bosses and their computer systems tell them to, but I feel no remorse when I tell them that I don’t answer telemarketing calls and put the phone down before they can respond.

All the calls I seem to get right now are survey calls. I’ve had ICM and MORI, one of whom on being told I was ex-directory told me they got my number from a random number generator. Obviously that’s how it started; once out the random generator, it got sold on as a positive lead. I’ve had people who just say “we’re doing market research”, as I just had half an hour ago. I’ve had recorded messages telling me that I’ve won stuff and to dial 0901 SCAMMER. I’ve never asked to be put on a list; I don’t want to be on any telemarketing lists, I cannot stand being interrupted by some scumbag who wants to persuade me to buy New Tory, Let’s Try Harder or whatever it is they’re actually trying to sell me.

If telemarketing was as ethical an industry as those who promote it claim it to be, they would stop making silent calls, stop the use of recorded messages, stop calling people who plainly don’t want to be called, and stop selling number lists. But they won’t do that, even though by not calling people who don’t want to be called will decrease annoyance factor for people like me and increase the number of actual takers of telemarketed products, because they want to annoy me. They sincerely believe that by calling someone a hundred times they might pay up to make them go away. That’s why telemarketing simply cannot be ethical; because no-one really wants to be sold to on demand. It’s exploiting those who simply don’t know how to say no, the elderly in particular.

I thought I’d said no pretty strongly by having an unlisted number, ticking the DON’T SELL MY DETAILS box on the electoral register and being forthright with those who call me. But they simply cannot be reasoned with.

Which is why the fact that the telemarketing industry is allowed to run their own regulator (the DMA) is extremely worrying – no wonder silent calls and recorded messages aren’t dealt with. The do-not-call register – the Telephone Preference Service, or TPS – is run by the DMA, and expires your number off every so often; what’s more, this means that if you register the telescum have your number on a list which might as well marked “IN 12 MONTHS, YOU CAN CALL THIS DUMBASS AS MUCH AS YOU LIKE”. But quite frankly it’s the only option I have left to stop the deluge of marketing calls.

The good news is that as Jon Ronson pointed out in this Guardian article, 100,000 of us are signing up every week, too many to ignore. And this will kill the telemarketing industry. Do it.


28 thoughts on “Why I hate telemarketers

  1. with reference to myoculus.com they have a cash back program…the deals page must be how they keep it free….I think they have something here..good information

  2. Exactly, the telemarketing calls is harassment, so there is no need to be polite. The more polite you are, the more time you lose. They invade you privacy and try to manipulate. If you want to buy some product, I am sure you are able to do it without them. We do not need spam, junk mail and telemarkting calls to know what we need. We know what we need when we need it.

    1. Hey Einstein- Nobody is holding a gun to your head to answer the phone! The thing you should be pissed about is the Pavlovian training youve recieved to pick up EVERY call, pay THOUSANDS of dollars a year for cell service and the newest “gadget” phone- read a book and let calls go to voice mail- if you dont have voicemail, shoot yourself in the face

      1. sometimes you dont know if it is an emergency and someone you love is using a different number. when i was in an emergency situation and didnt have my phone i called my parents on different phone numbers. And i also hate people taking up my voicemail space when it isnt important. quit being retarted towards someone with reason…go to f*** college and get a real job a**hole.

  3. One of my favorite telemarketer scumbags is a guy named Richard Salvador aka Richard Dunbar of Great Northwest Advertising (http://www.penslinger.net). Richard spoofs his caller id using http://www.spoofcard.com. Richard served 5 years (was sentenced to 9) for his part in one of the nations largest telemarketing scams in U.S. history. He was targeting and ripping off senior citizens. The FBI sting operation was called “operation disconnect” and another called “senior sentinal”. Richard routinely threatens to kill people. Customers, competitors, empolyees etc. He likes to record himself doing so using spoofcards recording features. Richard recently put his 14 year old daughter in the hospital. Apparently he considers himself a big martial arts action hero with over 4 MONTHS of extensive training. His ex wife and daughter are now in hiding. He uses methamphetamines and steroids. He was kicked out of the U.S. Marine Corps for selling dope. Check out Richard threatening to bash peoples skulls open and shoot his competitors in the head:
    Great Northwest Advertising customer service policy:

    Richard threatening his competition with a bullet to the head:

    Richard lives at 4149 Ridgewood Ave.
    Bellingham, WA
    He is currently a felon with an extensive stolen firearms collection.
    If there was an award for stupidity, this guy would be the world champion.

    1. The man is a meth head and has weapons charges and you post this? You’re dumber than a bag of spanners- i think we have a new world champion…. ooops, bye bye dumbo

      1. Oh I’m sorry…your just as much of a dick as the example shown here…ya thats right, ITS AN EXAMPLE of a scammer. Goddamn you need to read better. He was trying to show how much of a scumbag some scammers are …kinda like you

  4. I agree with all of the above…And that is why i invented the “Anti-telesales REPULSSOR 3000!”
    It has been developed by N.A.S.A. to clear astronauts’ minds of messy clutter!…Ever wondered why astronauts are soo great???
    YES YES, its because they bought the easy to use, sexy, intelligent “Anti-telesales REPULSSOR 3000”
    For just $63 a week plus a one off payment of $214 post and packaging, you too can be as sexy as an astronaut!!!
    Try one FREE!!!!!!…If you dont like it we’ll sell you one you do.

  5. Hello Rick, or Rick McKay, or your real name, Dave Gross. It’s funny how you bitch about telemarketers but have made a long living doing it yourself!

  6. I find it quite amusing when people bitch and complain about telemarketers when you actually willingly give your information out when you purchase items and give out your email address/telephone number. Have you ever thought that the company you most recently purchased from has your information and is legally entitled to contact you by any means they see fit in regards to that product or other products related to your recent purchase (including an outsourced company contracted by your product’s manufacturer, and will be used for other products sold by that same outsourced company)? Your number doesn’t get sold to other companies, these are actual service calls that you agreed to in the first place. These are the really “nasty” people, the so called “4 second silence” calls. The reason there is a 4 second silence is because a computer makes the call, the person on the other end has no control over what number is dialed of whom they speak to. They simply have the unpleasant experience to get a total asshat fuck-tard like you on the other end. It’s a fucking job, give them some slack.

    I understand the feeling that your time is valuable because mine is too (more than yours apparently, so SHUT THE FUCK UP), but what happens when the surveys stop? What happens when companies stop trying to sell you stuff? Would you think it’s terrible when the AP can’t get accurate readings on presidential approval ratings, or that your favorite retailer went out of business because you refused a service call? Shame on you for complaining about something YOU started and YOU support and YOU agreed to in the first place.

    You have every right to not take the call, use caller ID, screen your calls with an answering machine, or politely tell them to take you off the list. These are acceptable methods to stop the “nuisance” you started yourself. Simply hanging up without saying anything or insulting them and screaming at the top of your lungs will do nothing because you have not actually stated clearly and concisely that you wish not to receive these calls anymore.

    Oh, and please don’t bother to purchase anything else that requires a telephone number or email address anymore… You’ll just start the cycle all over again, and I can’t wait to call you and try to sell you more useless shit every 5 minutes for the rest of your life, you fucking asshat. This included you too, Mr. Jerry, I can’t wait to call you again (hugs and kisses bitch-ass).

  7. Hello – I totally agree about telemarketers :)

    I am contacting you about a virtual tour for a book titled “How to Sue Telemarketers”. We are looking for bloggers who would like to share information about this book, maybe post an article by the author, maybe review the book or something else.

    This is the link to more details about the book – http://bookpromotionservices.com/2010/07/05/how-to-sue-a-telemarketer/

    If this would be of interest, feel free to contact nikki@nikkileigh.com

    Hope you have a great day and thank you for your time.

    Nikki Leigh

    1. Ha Ha Good luck, there nicky, you’re obviously 14 years old or retarded or both (likely)
      Here’s the deal ,dumbshit:
      Any time you put your contact info on a website FOR THINGS YOU DO WANT, you are agreeing to have your information SHARED with that websites AFFILIATES- EVERY TIME!
      This is how internet marketing works,sunshine
      The real problem for you now is if you DONT AGREE TO THE TERMS, THE WEBSITE WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO PURCHASE ANY THING because that’s their deal with their affiliates and now you’ll have to buy all of your DILDOES and ASTROGLIDE at your local porn shop- somebody will recognise you and you’ll be outed for the ass freak you are. Fuck off, start now

  8. I run a call center. The only reason that I can willingly do this gig is that the service we provide has changed people’s lives. The argument of ‘if i want your service, I will source it myself’, does not ring true with most of the telemarketing businesses around. The reality is that our clients always comment the following..”…i never take calls like this but….” etc. The thing is this, most telemarketers are jaded with the negativity out there toward them and they sound robotic or un-human like. If they do that just ask them to stop being a telemarketer and get to the point-be nice about it, I mean I dont get angry at the TV whenever an advert comes on! I dont get angry at the light if it turns red! Why waste all your beautiful energy on anger or negativity, explain to the person why you dont want to listen to them and perhaps you will look forward to speaking to people. It is very easy to bitch and a lot harder to laugh-but you gain a lot more by laughing. Save your energy for love of your friends and family.

    1. A TV or web advert is expected; it is not an unexpected interruption. But nevertheless, thanks for responding.

      Most of the telespam I get now, and got then, is either marketing from charities and businesses I have a relationship with (annoying, but legal) or outright scamming. I have even had telemarketers call my mobile, which I had thought was illegal.

      So I hope that explains some of the frustration, at least a bit.

    2. Oh stop your BS will you?
      Your product has changed people’s lives? Every business says that! If you want to advertise, do it in a way that doesn’t annoy people. I can turn off my TV, I can’t turn off my phone.

      My phone is here so people with legitimate reasons (i.e. reasons I care about) may contact me. My phone is not here to help you make money. And if you want to advertise to me, you should pay me. Oh but that’s right, you want to advertise for free, that’s why you call people instead of running ads on TV or in magazines in the first place. People should put up with you because you’re too greedy to pay for an ad anywhere.

      Try to justify yourself all you want, but in the end telemarketers are just a pest that makes money by harassing people at home. I have no respect for your kind.

      1. Hey Lovely Lady here’s a tip:

  9. We’ve had this number for almost four years now, and people STILL call us for a Mr. Ralph Bell. Apparently Mr. Bell was the most generous soul on the planet, because every.bloody.charity you can think of calls us on a daily basis to ask for donations.

    “Hello! This is ________ calling for Mr. Ralph Bell?”
    “Yeah. We’ve had this number for four years. He’s NOT HERE.”
    “Oh! Well, perhaps you’d like to contribute?”
    “Oh? Well, if you’d like to pay my rent, feed my kids, fill up my truck with gas, and run them to their dad’s, then sure. I’ll donate.”
    “I’m sorry, I can’t do that.”
    “Of course you can’t. So please, stop calling. This is the third time today.”
    “Would you like to be placed on a do not call list?”
    “Yes, yes I would. I know you’re going to call again, but I’ll hope for the best.”

    -five minutes later-

    “Hello! This is _________ calling for Mr. Ralph Bell?”

    It gets old. Fast.



  11. The “Mr Answers” comments look to me like particularly well targeted SEO spam (the URL on the comments went to a parked domain, which will likely be turned into Fake AntiVirus 2013 in the very near future), but I’ve left them on with URLs removed just to show the level of abuse some people will go to to get page views. The IP is a RoadRunner cable modem in one of Orange County, San Diego, Kansas City or Honolulu.

    If it is not SEO spam and he’s just a abusive wanker going over a obscure blog’s years-old telemarketer bashing without a properly set up domain, that’s his problem.

  12. wow how grown up are you guys i have a family to run and i do this job your very naive thinking you could sue the telemarketeer its the company that could get sued for harrassment not us we are human beings ya know i think your very petty minded being so vile about people earning a living

  13. Several things to remember:
    1. I have a degree, and still have to do telemarketing.
    2. Business to business does not have or follow a do not call list – nor are they required to do so.
    3. It is much worse to be the caller than the called. You get annoyed occasionally. We get chewed out 100 or more times a day. Most of us would rather do anything than what we are doing if we could afford to do so. How would you like it if, for example, you worked building fences and hit your thumb with a hammer on every slat? Or sold insurance and were thrilled when you picked up one piece of paper that didn’t give you yet another paper cut? For us it is a relief to just be hung up on.

    Try putting yourself on the other side of any job sometime, it might give you a new attitude.

    1. Thank you! People forget that the caller is a person just doing a job. They haven’t personally gone through the phonebook looking for your number and thought “Oh I know what I’ll try and piss this guy off” We haven’t sat down and thought that right now must be the most inconvenient time to call this guy up; its run by a computer system the caller has no control over. Unfortunately its a job and not a pleasant one; I don’t want to call people up and bother them at home, I hate it. But as a student its the only place that was hiring for temporary work over the summer.

      All I ask is just remember that the person on the other end most likely doesn’t want to bother you as much as you don’t want them bothering you but sadly its their job and if they don’t they won’t get paid. The amount of times I’ve been sworn at and told to go and kill myself is unbelievable! If were a salesperson in a shop or even going door to door you wouldn’t dare say those sorts of things to my face but suddenly it seems to be your right to do so just because you’re on the telephone. If you aren’t interested just say so and put the phone down or ask for your number to be removed. Simple enough. Just please remember its a person on the other end of the phone who is probably told about 30 times a day what a “worthless piece of sh*t” they are. Imagine if that happened to you every five minutes whilst you were just trying to get on with your work.

  14. Because they refuse to honour the Do-Not-Call list, we have started using a great response… We let them make the appointment, then when they show up at our door we tell them since you keep wasting our time we thought it only fair we waste yours and shut the door. We now do it with all of them. Maybe if more people do this the companies that use those annoying overseas telemarketers that do not honour the no call list will begin to use local telemarketing firms. We just love it.

  15. I too, despise telemarketers, if i get a call from them i say not interested and quickly hang up. Telemarketing should be illegal, it is a form of harrassment. if i want to buy something, i will go to the store and buy it. Besides, there is nothing in life that is so important that i have to buy it from a beggar (telemarketer). I don’t need it. GET IT. piss off telemarketers.

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