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How To Deal With Telemarketers, A Strategy, Just Hang Up!

Updated on July 14, 2017

Unsolicited Call


Intrusive and annoying!

In my opinion, telemarketing is one of the most intrusive types of marketing that we are subjected to today. "Lead generators" and other telemarketers are trained to keep you on the phone until you make some kind of commitment. The longer you stay on the call, the harder it is to get off.

I understand that in our market system we need advertising and marketers. However, as consumers find more ways to disregard the ever increasing amount of unwanted marketing attempts they are subjected to, the marketers increasingly become more intrusive and annoying. But it seems, that of all forms of marketing we have today, telemarketing is the most invasive and troublesome to deal with.

I'm convinced that telemarketers are not polite people. They may act friendly, but take a moment to think about their actions and motivations. They interrupt you at the busiest time of your day. They call you by your first name, without your consent, in an attempt to disarm you and make you think that you know them. They won't let you end the call when you would like to do so. They manipulate you through pre-planned strategies. Many of them find ways to make you feel guilty, in an effort to influence you. All the while, their motivation is to persuade you to part with your hard-earned money in order to line their own pockets with a commission. They are even trained to believe that their true goal is to "benefit" you or to "do you a favor."

So Annoying!


Ineffective Defenses

Even equipped as we are today with defenses for unwanted intrusion, like caller ID, you are not safe from telemarketers. I have heard about some callers who use programs which have the capability to put out a false phone number that can look like the number of someone you know. So, even if you screen every call with caller ID, you are still likely to come into contact with a telemarketer. Besides, sometimes we are waiting for an important call from someone whose number we may not recognize. We don't want to miss the important call, so we answer the call from the unidentified or unfamiliar number.

Some try screening all calls by listening to the answering machine and picking up the calls they want to receive. The problem with this is that you may miss calls that you want because the caller didn't feel like leaving a message.

The National No-Call list may help some, but any "opt-in" activity you participate in (entering a contest, taking a poll, signing a petition, buying a product, calling a business, and any other activity for which you have to provide your telephone number) may give telemarketers all they need to legally add you to their call list for a period of time, despite the fact that you are on the no-call list.

Telemarketing Poll

How Many Times Per Week Are You Interrupted By Telemarketers?

See results

Why So Many Questions?

Telemarketers are trained to ask you questions. Just by answering their very first question, even if it is just "How are you, today?" you are entering a labyrinth of questions formulated to end in a sale or in some kind of commitment. Many questions are designed with only one possible "correct" answer, which is intended to lead you into the next question, and inevitably, into that commitment. Even the phrase, "I'm not interested" has been extensively studied and analyzed for any possible way to turn it into a question that you cannot answer without admitting to some kind of interest. This, of course, has already been planned out in advance, before their auto-dialer ever entered your number.

Many telemarketers routinely "role-play" before making calls. They think about what you will answer and how they will react to that answer. They are prepared to "overcome" any "objection" you may raise. No matter what you answer, they are going to ask another question. Some telemarketers are even trained to "evade objections" altogether by ignoring your objection completely, and you guessed it, ask another question.

Angry Words


Who is being rude anyway?

Is it rude to hang up on an unsolicited caller? I'm convinced there is no way to politely end a call with a telemarketer who is trained to "overcome" all your "objections" to ending their call or refusing their product or service. The only way to end a call, in a way that can't possibly be "overcome," is to just quietly, and immediately hang up.

Hanging up in this manner is quick. It is easy. It is painless. It is final. You may feel that you are being rude, but consider how rudely you may end up acting if you continue the conversation in the hope of reasoning your way out of the sale. Ever ended up barking at, or even screaming at, a telemarketer? I have. I have even used words that I try not to use in everyday life. Perhaps you are even doing them a "favor" by not wasting their time arguing your way out of a conversation with someone that you do not plan on doing business with anyway. Hanging up may also prevent you from being rude to your family, or work associates, afterward. The telemarketer has a strategy, so should you!

Peaceful Resolution


Just Hang Up!

I have learned to hang up at the end of the, quickly delivered, opening statement, before they even have a chance to ask the first question. Unless of course the opening statement was a question! Either way, as soon as I realize that the call is coming from a telemarketer, I simply hang up.

If you don't hang up, but choose to play along with their game, and you make it through their entire sales call without buying anything, the telemarketer is going to ask for permission to call again, as a way for you to end the call by making a commitment, no matter how small. Now you've grasped at the chance to hang up, only to ensure that they will call you again to put you through the entire humiliating experience once more.

So there you have it, my simple strategy for how to deal with telemarketers and have peace of mind: Just hang up!


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    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 4 years ago from USA

      Thanks Wabash Annie, now that I solved my problem with telemarketers I need to find a way to stop all the "approved" credit card offers that come in the mail.

    • wabash annie profile image

      wabash annie 4 years ago from Colorado Front Range

      We receive very few telemarketing calls although we did not sign up for the 'do not call' system. The only one received recently but often is from card services and a friend told me to listen to the recorded message and, at the end, could elect not to receive more calls. It worked! The nonprofits that can call anyone do drive me wild, however, as do the robo calls. Great hub!

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 5 years ago from USA

      Thanks, cat on a soapbox. I've noticed that pause lately as well. It's nice of them to warn us ahead of time that it is going to be a sales call so we can hang up on them sooner. LOL

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      A good read, Eric. Thank you. I hang up as soon as I hear the slight delay that tells me it's a telemarketer. My husband tells them, "just a sec. . " then walks away. ha! It really IS an invasion of privacy, but your hub made me smile. I love that crime scene put-on!

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 5 years ago from USA

      Melissa, great analogy about the salesman and the stranger in your house!

    • profile image

      MelissaA48 5 years ago

      I solved my telemarketer problem a long time ago by letting them go on and on, showing interest, but then when it was time to "pay", I'd tell them I had no credit cards, no debit cards, no bank account, because after all I was poor. Poof! GONE! LOL and it must have taken me off lists because as I said, I am no longer bothered.

      As for people who think they have to be "polite" to these telemarketers, tell me - would you be polite if some stranger just walked in to your home in the middle of the evening? Would you be polite to someone who kept moving in front of you to block your ability to walk away? Would you be polite to a sales person who kept following you around the store, constantly trying to get you to buy something? Of course not...and yet....

      juse because it is on a phone line YOU are PAYING for, you think you have no control over who calls? Think about it - you have all the right in the world to be rude and then some, at the very least.

      It is YOUR phoneline you pay for, it is YOUR time they are demanding of you, it is YOUR patience they are trying, it is YOUR RIGHT to talk to who you want to talk to on your own phone in your own home. Period. Nuf said.

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 5 years ago from USA

      Thom, that works for many. Although I did have one that kept calling me back and when I tried to say that to him he hung up on me before I could finish saying it. It's amazing that he thought I would ever buy anything from him after that. Thanks for your comment!

    • profile image

      ThomW 5 years ago

      Enjoyed the hub a lot. My strategy is to simply say, "Please take me off your list." Then I hang up.

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 6 years ago from USA

      Hey ciel! I wish I could post them they are really funny, but I am afraid they would get the hub flagged because they do have a lot of bad language in them. Just look up "prank call murder scene" and you'll find the funniest one.

    • Ciel Clark profile image

      Ciel Clark 6 years ago from USA

      Oh, come on! Now we need to see the videos.

      Also must add that although I would love to revisit my childhood via the type of almost constant videos + photos that kids of today will have of their youth.. part of me is glad that certain things will be lost in the mysteries of time. (Phew!)

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 6 years ago from USA

      Hi, fiftyish, nice to see you here! I think they may have to pass some kind of test for being nasty before they can be hired. There are not many people who can make your blood boil as fast as they can.

      Text messages selling products? I am glad I don't have a cell phone anymore!

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 6 years ago from USA

      Thanks, bethperry! Secretly I wish I could have posted some of those prank videos, but they wouldn't have met the standards set for hubpages.

    • fiftyish profile image

      Andy Aitch 6 years ago from UK & South East Asian Region

      Actually Eric, I think telemarketers have to be a bit 'nasty' to do that kind of invasive work.

      Most of these cold-callers ring in the evenings, usually just after hard-working folks have got home and are trying to unwind for the day.

      The last thing most of us want is some hard sell spewing down the ole blower! I think informing them you're going to end the call and then follow through with that, is the only approach.

      I now live in the north of Thailand and don't get this kind of invasion. However, I do get the more silent annoyance by way of text messages that try to sell me some product of service – Grrrr!

      Andy Aitch (aka Mr Angry LOL :))

    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 6 years ago from Tennesee

      Eric, good advice. Unfortunately the ones who are most annoying are those daring jerks who just refuse to give it up, whether you threaten with the No Call List thing or not. For these types, yeah I can understand why their victims resort to pranks.

      By the way, I enjoyed your humorous photos! lol

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 6 years ago from USA

      I think the no-call list is a one time thing unless you change your number. I think it tells on the page the link takes you to. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Sparrowlet profile image

      Katharine L Sparrow 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Great hub! I was looking for that no call list link, because I believe you have to put yourself on every year, and it's been a while.

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 6 years ago from USA

      Thanks, Kashmir56. I get a lot less now that I've started just hanging up. I guess they realize they are wasting their time. And since I'm not responding I guess they can't sell my name on any active lists.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Funny and entertaining hub but true,i don't get many of these calls any more, i think it may because i screen my calls by letting my answering machine take my calls.

      Vote up and more !!!

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 6 years ago from USA

      Tonipet, you are welcome. I felt bad hanging up at first, but watching my wife continue to try to reason her way out and end up spending unwanted time on the phone strengthened my resolve. It gets easier after a while, and you can go right back to whatever you were doing without feeling frustrated. Thanks for your comment!

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 6 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hello. This is funny but very true. I'm the kind of person who just can't hang up so it's really taking me a little time reasoning my way out. I hope those people also take time to think if they should continue or not, or they just have to understand why people hang up. Thanks for this Eric. Awesome hub.

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 6 years ago from USA

      Thanks Ciel. Your father sounds like he may have unbalanced a few telemarketers in his day! You are right, it would be interesting to hear the viewpoint of a telemarketer to this hub, maybe we'll get one. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Ciel Clark profile image

      Ciel Clark 6 years ago from USA

      Funny hub and great photos! I don't get telemarketing calls anymore, phew. My father used to ask for the caller's home phone number, saying something like, "I'll interrupt you at home when it is convenient for me," --but I think he just hangs up now. I do a similar thing with the door to door people-- I open the door, smile, and say, "No thanks!"

      I'd be interested to hear some comments from any telemarketers out there... Anyone? It must be a thankless job. Voted.

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 6 years ago from USA

      Mynde, you are very lucky that your telemarketers are so polite. Many of ours here in the US will not let you end the call in a polite manner. Thanks for your comment!

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 6 years ago from USA

      RC Cooper, yes, some people lead them on quite well. I wanted to post a video of someone pranking a telemarketer into thinking that he had called a crime scene and was now a suspect, but some of the language in the video prevented me from doing so. It was a very funny video though.

    • Mynde profile image

      Mynde 6 years ago from Lithuania

      Luckily, I don't have to experiance such calls in my country. Sometimes it is enough to say that you are not interested and the conversation is over. Probably our companies don't pay so much attention to telemarket.

    • RC Cooper profile image

      RC Cooper 6 years ago from Michigan

      Funny and true, hanging up works the best. Though, if you wanna have some fun, you can lead them on... then just shoot them down by saying "no thanks, I'm broke."


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