Eight Awesome Ways People are Messing with Telemarketers
4. Demand Their Do Not Call Policy
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Here's a fun fact that you may not know: by law, if a company is calling you, not only can you demand to be put on their Do Not Call list, they also have to provide you (at no cost to you) a copy of their Do Not Call Policy. Under the law, they can call you one more time after you request not to be called again.
What happens if they don't give you the policy? That's an automatic $500 in your pocket, thanks to federal law.
There are people who make their entire living out of this. They actually carefully trap the telemarketer with a script and then fire off a registered letter: the telemarketer can either pay up or go to court, where they will lose and be subjected to more legal trouble. Some people, if they get a call after they pull this, accept the product, then don't pay for it. Then the company has a choice, either eat the loss or admit to violating federal law under oath in open court.
3. Only Put Down Your Cell Phone Number
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Here's something else the government has done for you, without you even knowing it: telemarketers absolutely cannot call your cell phone. They're banned from the network. This is law for a really obvious reason: it wastes people's minutes. Turns out cell phones fit under the same rules as emergency phone lines, paging services, or other vital necessities.
So, the next time some dweeb with a contest form wants your telephone number, just put down your cell phone number. They can't call it, and they have to remove the number from their list.
And if they don't? That's another $500 to you.
2. Make Them Repeat Their Spiel
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Meet Jim Florentine. He makes a career out of terrifying people who make the mistake of calling him for unsolicited goods and services. One of his methods is simple, and will drive them insane: just ask them to repeat themselves.
How good is Florentine at this? He's never the one who hangs up. He actually manages to drive the telemarketer so far up the wall that they're the ones who hang up.
1. VoIP Sends Numbers Where They Belong
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Let's say that you have a VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) system set up: Google Voice, Skype, etc. It has a useful feature that you may not be aware of: the ability to direct calls from specific numbers, any number, to any other number.
Even better, there is literally no way for the telemarketer in question to know who, precisely, they're calling. It could be anyone.
People have been abusing this feature for all it's worth. One guy, when faced with a fax spammer and a surly company that said it was too busy to stop annoying him, redirected the fax calls to the rude receptionist he dealt with. Another redirected the calls from one telemarketer to another telemarketer. Another refers all his telemarketing calls to the Church of Scientology.
Far be it from us to suggest you redirect any calls you get to a sex line. Or anywhere for that matter, considering that doing so is probably a violation of The Telecom Act. And it would be wrong. Funny, and cause all sorts of problems, and probably rack up an enormous bill for the company...but wrong.