Hang them up

How do you handle a persistent telemarketer? Have you tried verbal abuse?

Press 2 to be taken off the list, and I wasn’t taken off the list. Press 1 to talk to a representative and ask to be taken off the list, and I wasn’t taken off the list. I’m not proud to admit what I did that finally worked: I started harassing them. Rather, I started berating the person behind Press 1. I don’t like being anything but nice to working schlubs. But these people do work for a disreputable company (or series of companies) offering bogus deals on auto reinsurance.

Berating them worked. It was the only thing that did.

Much as I enjoy berating people, it’s a fact that the recipients in this case are merely cogs; the big wheels never suffer any inconvenience at all. And ultimately, we’re never going to get rid of these jerks until there’s an understanding by the general public that everything is a scam until proven otherwise.

The recent trend away from landlines will help, I think; it’s a lot easier to tell someone to go fart up a flagpole if you’re having to pay for those wasted minutes.


  1. Tatyana »

    23 February 2013 · 1:45 pm

    Yes, but then they start sending you text messages – and until you receive it, there is no way you can block the number it originates. Also, often those numbers are “unlisted” – and you’re stuck with overdraft of your available monthly TM, pay extra $20-30 and have no way of stopping it.

  2. CGHill »

    23 February 2013 · 2:00 pm

    Good point, but how many people actually have per-unit text-message charges? The folks with the high-priced plans are getting “unlimited” texting, and buckets of text are available to us cheapskates.

    And truth be told, I’d rather get an unwanted text than an unwanted call that I have to retrieve from voice mail. But maybe that’s just me.

  3. CGHill »

    23 February 2013 · 2:04 pm

    Advice Goddess Amy Alkon just tweeted this:

    Any org using phone you pay for to interrupt yr day to sell their POV should have their execs called @ home to show them how obnoxious it is

    They probably have phone blockers. Then again, so do I.

  4. McGehee »

    23 February 2013 · 9:47 pm

    I wish my cell carrier would do what Google Voice does: allow me to block individual numbers. With GV I can also put a voicemail in a spam folder, though I don’t know exactly what consequences befall the source.

    I’ll pretend a squad of goons pays them a visit in the Street View car and beats them to a pulp until someone proves otherwise. After all, Google’s “Don’t be evil” slogan is directed at others, to discourage competition (bet you didn’t know that).

  5. Trumwill »

    24 February 2013 · 5:49 pm

    Yeah, I felt bad berating them in part because I knew that they were just cogs. Not very well-paid cogs at that. But… it worked.

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