Saturday, October 11, 2014

ARE TELEMARKETERS DRIVING YOU CRAZY?

By Mary Kennedy
 

 Are telemarketers driving you crazy? Calling at all hours of the day and night, interrupting meals...
...interrupting your work, your play, your quiet time, your family time?
I'm sure the answer is a resounding YES.

But don't despair. I have a solution for you. First of all, you can sign up for the Do Not Call Registry.

But this is just the start. And I haven't found the Do Not Call registry particularly helpful. I have signed up repeatedly and still the calls continue. So what to do?
 
Easy. You fight back!!  How do you fight back? You write to the sponsors!! This is the only approach I've found effective. You can google the name of the offending caller and find out which organizations are paying this company to harass you. Then choose half a dozen of their clients, go to each website and hit the "contact us" button. If possible, choose someone in fund-raising or media relations. They're more likely to take your request seriously. The last thing they want to do is turn off potential donors.
 
A few hints about your e-mail. Be polite. (even if you have to grit your teeth) After all, I'm sure some of these non-profits have no idea about the tactics these companies are using.
 
 Be clear and specific. Mention that you are being called several times a day, even though you are registered with the national Do Not Call List. Tell them that you have requested your name be removed from their "call" list and yet they call you repeatedly. Be sure to stress the fact that this constitutes harassment and that this makes it much less likely you will ever contribute to their organization. (If you are currently a contributor, so much the better.)                                                    
 
Start out your e-mail by saying, "I am a contributor to _____ and agree with your mission." (if you really are) If not, see below.
                                                      
 
Start by getting right to the point. "I wanted to alert you about the harassing, parasitic telemarketing practices of XXX, who poses as a fund-raising company for organizations like your. XXX keeps calling us several times a day despite our repeated requests that they take our number off their lists. XXX's shoddy business ethics and total disregard for the people they keep harassing are working against your very own interests. We're certainly put off supporting your organization in any way. If you intend to run an effective fundraising campaign, with donors devoted to your cause, we strongly recommend that you do so without XXX's counter-productive input. My phone number is XXXX and I would like you to ask XXX to take me off their call list. Maybe they will listen to you (you pay them), they will not listen to me. Thank you."
 
Try this and I think you will be pleased!!All the non-profits I wrote to contacted me and apologized. And they guaranteed that my name would be placed on a "master" do not call list with this dreadful telemarketing company. Persistence pays off. I no longer get these infuriating calls. I hope this strategy works for you and you have a happy, quiet home life once more.
                                               
 
Mary Kennedy

29 comments:

AJ Blythe said...

Interesting. In Australia we have a 'do not call' registry, but it doesn't relate to charities. Ours works as there are penalties for those companies that don't follow the law.

Scammers/phishing callers ignore the registry (but this makes it easy to work out it is a scam!). I guess they figure that statistically they have to hit some people who aren't on the register.

How frustrating to have a registry that doesn't work!

Bernie Sammon said...

Another Aussie here, and was just about to say the same thing.
Our particular problem is that the charities (legal) and the phishers and scammers are all working off lists that are at least 10 years old.
That is how long my Aunt has been deceased, but they will insist that they need to speak to her. You can imagine the conversations.
I have offered to host a seance if they REALLY need to talk to her.

Gram said...

We are lucky to have call-blocking on our phone service and put these companies there. Some have called as many as 9 times a day! I do like your idea and may try it on some of the most obnoxious.

mary kennedy said...

Hi Gram, glad things are a little better for you. I wanted to use call blocking but decided against it, because I get several calls from doctors and doctors' offices. Since they sometimes show up as "private caller" they would be blocked. Hope you can get of the remaining one with an e-mail, good luck! These people are really annoying. Thanks for stopping by.

mary kennedy said...

OMG--LOL about the séance. What a nerve they have! I wondered if the whole telemarketing thing was bad in other countries, sounds like it is. Thanks for stopping by.

mary kennedy said...

It's interesting how these scammers get around the rules. Very frustrating!

Karen in Ohio said...

The Do Not Call registry in the US does not apply to charities, or to politicians. Naturally, they made a law that didn't apply to them.

We were getting calls from the same caller multiple times a day--one day they called five times. It was a robocall, and finally I stayed on the line long enough to talk to a real person. Which is what you need: once you tell them you're on the DNC registry, and not to call you any more, there are serious fines connected to each incidence of further calling. Not that that stops some of them. And if they have either "unknown number", or "private caller" showing up, it's not easy to figure out who they are.

But if you do know the number, you can--as I did--report them to the DNC registry. Action is taken.

mary kennedy said...

Hi Karen, that's one of the problems I had...endless calls that said "private caller" and "unknown number." You're right, it's really hard to track them down and they call over and over. I reported calls from Lifeline (a recorded message by a hillbilly who says "you've been selected to a free medical alert system...") to the DNC about a zillion times and nothing was done. I wondered if they deliberately picked an actor who sounds like a half wit. He was like someone out of that old movie, Deliverance.

Mia said...

Since we tanked our land line phone, the number of telemarketing calls we get has greatly decreased. But we do still get them from time to time.
Some of those calls happen to come through when I'm in an exceptionally bored yet still playful mood. I almost feel sorry for the poor soul on the other end of the line who is just trying to pay his bills with this economy being in the toilet and jobs being hard to come by I do pity them, but only to a point. I'm not above poking them a bit because after all they did call me. I also know that the longer they stay on the line the more likely they are to get paid for the call. It'd be a total waste to just hang up (which is what I do when I'm not in said playful mood) so I make sure they earn their money.

mary kennedy said...

Mia, you are a generous soul! That's interesting that you dumped the land line, it seems a lot of people are doing that.

Anonymous said...

Get rid of the landline. If you have to have one, let the machine pick up.

Lisa Ks Book Reviews said...

Thank you for the great hints, Mary!

mary kennedy said...

Hi Lisa, glad you liked them! Someone pointed out that my strategy only works for charities and non-profits, not political calls. Hmmm. I think she's right. Still, it felt SO GOOD to get rid of that one annoying caller!

mary kennedy said...

Anonymous, I think you're right, the landline is probably causing a lot of the problems. Thanks for stopping by.

Shirley Layne said...

I have caller ID and an answering machine. I just let it ring and 4 rings later the machine gets it. I just don't talk to telemarketers. Although there latest trick is annoying, using my phone number to show up on the caller ID. Like I am going to fall for me calling myself. What pathetic tactics.

Kait said...

I wonder why companies, charities, etc. still support the cold caller system. No one likes it, I can't imagine anyone being induced to give money, etc. to a group that is soliciting through annoyance. I used to try to be polite. The folks on the other end are just trying to make a living after all, but if they keep talking through me - I hang up. I've tried reporting them, it doesn't have any effect. Most calls these days are computer generated. I'm going to try Mary's suggestion and start writing - when I can figure out who the caller is! My husband gets them on his cell phone. Thank heaven I haven't had that problem yet.

Lynda Turpin said...

I have my name on the do-not-call list, but unfortunately, it doesn't apply to charities, politicians, or anyone you have a "connection" to - like a bank or credit card company. It's unfortunate that, once you donate to a charity, they give your name to other charities and they ALL call you constantly. It makes you not want to donate to anyone, so I've had to find ways where I don't have to give my phone #. One particular bank I had a credit card with used to call me several times a week to sell me other "services". Telling them to take me off their list didn't work. Then, one day when they called while I was sick and in a crappy mood, I did as you suggested here and contacted the "higher-ups" and it finally stopped. But then that company was taken over by another company, and it started again. So now I use my cell phone for any calls I WANT to get (although the other day I got a "congratulations you've won a time share membership" on my cell - grrr). I keep my home phone for emergencies and I have a recorder on it, so when calls come in on that line I don't pick up unless I hear someone I want to talk to start leaving a message. About 85% of the calls hang up before going to the recorder.

mary kennedy said...

Kait, I would definitely try it. I was so happy with the results. I didn't know that the big telemarketers keep a "master do not call list" and that you *can* get your name on there if you insist.

mary kennedy said...

Shirley, I noticed the same thing. My own number showing up. Weird! They never run out of tricks, do they?

mary kennedy said...

Hi Lynda, it sounds as though you've solved most of the problem. I've started getting a lot of political calls in the last two weeks. I hate to think of what is ahead in November!

Lynda Turpin said...

Sometimes you have to wonder about people not using common sense. When my dad's companion passed away, I called to cancel the newspaper service, and they kept repeating that she was the only one who could cancel it. I wish I had thought of the séance line. Amazing.

Maggie Sefton said...

I haven't answered my land line in almost two years. The only reason I still have it is so my name and address will be in the directory. And it is convenient when you're pestered by some organization when you're trying to get info on them for first time and they won't continue without a phone number----give them the one not answered. Everyone in my family, friends, publishing business, other important people/organizations have my cell phone #. That's the only one I answer. When the land line rings about 4 times a day, I just let it ring knowing they'll stop after four rings. :)

mary kennedy said...

That's a good idea, Maggie! Thanks so stopping by.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Such a useful post, Mary! I am just getting it now because we're home after a thirteen hour excursion to close the cottage for the winter. I plan to reread it tomorrow and make notes. But now I'm going to have a drink. No one better call me! XO MJ

Anonymous said...

Solution. Get rid of the home phone. No one needs one now. They are antiquated. With a cell only you then download a firewall. The firewall prevents any unknown call from going to your phone. It drops them into wireless airspace. Problem solved.

mary kennedy said...

That's an excellent idea, Lexie. I think more and more people are dumping the landlines. Thanks for stopping by.

mary kennedy said...

I'd join you in that drink if I could, MJ!! :-)

Debbie said...

Here in California non-profits are not affected by the Do Not Call List. Of course I still tell them off after they call me and they usually promise to take me off their list. What absolutely drives me mad are the robo-calls. How I fantasize I could have a button to push that would send an electrical charge back to their computer and blow it up for good. I will never donate or patronize a business that sicks a telemarketer on me!

Debbie said...

Everyone has probably heard this before, but it is creative and funny!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAb8vGSRBoE