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10 Ways Telemarketers Disrespect You

Updated on May 30, 2014

There are thousands of telemarketers in America alone. There are thousands more based outside the US that call millions of US consumers each day to sell a variety of things. Unfortunately, the majority of them do not have your best interests at heart and many of these companies will allow, reward, or push their telemarketers to get sales by any means. Don't fall for any of these tactics by so called businesses that disrespect you. Consider yourself warned that it is not uncommon for some telemarketers to use several of these shady tactics on a single call.

I Told You Not To Call Me Again

Repeat calls are not supposed to happen...when you're dealing with reputable companies. However, the vast majority of telemarketers are not reputable. They don't make money to remain in business by being ethical and honest, this is why they should never be trusted when they call you or your loved ones. Repeat calls are harassing calls, whether they occur daily or over a period of time. Harassing calls also occur when you get calls from the same telemarketer after you have told them to stop calling. When you state that you want to be taken off their calling list or you don't want them to call you, they are supposed to end the call, not continue yapping. If they continue talking or selling, repeat your request until they hang up or hang up yourself.


They Address You On A First Name Basis

Quite often the people who are calling you to get you to buy something are younger than you, yet they don't even give you the respect of addressing you properly. Common etiquette dictates that strangers address one another properly but many telemarketers don't. There are a couple of reasons for this. If they act as if they're on a first name basis with you, they probably know that they will be able to get past any gatekeepers that will screen calls.

The person answering the phone for you will assume the caller knows you because they called you by your first name and they often will stop screening the call just because of this. If you answer, you may be momentarily confused and wondering who the stranger is calling you by your first name while they start their sales pitch (and don't stop). Don't be surprised if you encounter difficulty in making them stop and listen to you. The other reason this is done is due to a downright lack of respect for you as a customer and person. No one should ever do business with people that disrespect them. Don't correct the caller, tell them no and hang up.

Say What?

Talking fast is a way of life for many telemarketers. They simply hope that you will not hear or understand what is being said so that you will not reject their offer. Don't be fooled, this is intentionally done even if they tell you that they have had too much coffee or grew up in certain northern parts of the US. It is not uncommon for telemarketers to tell you they'll send everything in writing and try to get you to rely on that and trust them. Don't trust what you hear on the phone and be wary even when they say they'll send things in writing. That may cost you, literally.

The biggest problem for you (and your loved ones) is that you really don't know who is on the line, where they're calling from, or if they can be trusted. Further, it is a guarantee you that you'll never speak to that same person again or be able to reach any decision makers at these companies. I can call you and give you any old name, would you really trust agreeing to charges to your account whether or not you had to provide your credit/debit/bank info on the phone to me? I hope not, because you're smarter than that.

You have got it and even when you don't, they want it.
You have got it and even when you don't, they want it.

Liar, liar

These types will tell you just about anything to keep you from rejecting their offer and if you ask any specific question that can easily be answered with a yes or no answer, they launch off into a 1 or 2 minute monologue. They talk with the hope that you don't want to ask any more questions and to distract you from your concerns. It is that simple. Don't believe a word of what they say, especially when they can't say it succinctly and clearly. When they can't it is because they are trying to distract you from having enough information to know that it's a bad deal for you and your wallet.

I know of cases where the telemarketer was told by the customer that they wanted everything in writing first and specifically said they did not want to be charged anything. The telemarketers told the customer "we're sending everything in writing, just verify some information so we can get it out to you". With that, the customer was charged for something they never asked for and never wanted only because the telemarketer tricked them into agreeing to a sale. This is done by thousands of telemarketers every single day with varying dollar amounts at stake.

The customer thought they would get information, not charges, and didn't find out until well after they'd been duped that they will not get any refund and are only able to cancel any future charges. In other cases customers are told we mail everything to you when you join/buy/do the trial or are told we don't send junk mail. Getting the terms of their offer in writing is critical for you as a consumer, don't do business with companies you have not thoroughly checked out without getting terms of their offer in writing or you will be sorry! Don't be distracted or listen to lies about this being a limited time offer and reject them as many times as it takes for their little brain to understand that no means no.

Hello, Anyone There?

Playing with the volume is another common tactic done in hopes that you don't have a reason to reject their sales pitch. The reasoning behind this is simple, you can't object to what you didn't hear. Perhaps you'll be treated to crumpling paper or other noises at certain crucial points during the call and you may not even hear pricing or other critical terms. It is routine for some telemarketers to lower their volume when saying things such as the pricing or billing details and then immediately raise their volume immediately after certain critical things have been said.

Go ahead and try asking them to repeat as many customers do and you will find that many shady telemarketers rarely ever repeat without leaving out the critical information so that you don't reject their offer. You read that right, there are many telemarketers that will not tell you what you specifically ask, even if the deal will burn your wallet or leave your account in the red. Many want to make money and don't care if you understand or not. No matter what, if you can't hear it loud and clearly at an understandable speed, hang up and never answer their calls again. Trust your instincts, you'll likely know when they are fooling with the volume or making noises intentionally.


Grab A Pen And Paper

They want you to do something, take action, as if you were their personal lackey and not the customer to be respected. When they tell you to grab a pen and paper, it is a distraction to make you think that there is a way out if you decide to do so but things are not always that easy. If your instinct during the call is to reject the sales pitch, reject it and do not hesitate or waiver in doing so. It's similar to the animal world, show any weakness and you will be pounced upon.

You should never have to be convinced or talked into anything when they solicit you. If you agree, you will likely regret it. Your life can get busy and you may forget to cancel whatever they're trying to hit your account for. You may not get anything and get charged. Worst of all, you may find that there is never anyone to answer the number that you were given or you have reached a disconnected number. Don't rely on them giving you contact info right away, it's just another way many of them hope to get you to trust them, the untrustworthy.

Caller ID Spoofing

This is the #1 offense that telemarketers consistently repeat without so much as a slap on the wrist and another popular warning sign to consumers. Don't believe that will save you from telemarketers because the crooked ones simply don't care and they get away with violating various laws. This is a fact. Fake phone numbers and names are only used to hide the caller's identity. There is no possibility that this is a positive thing for you as a consumer. Don't fall for excuses such as they call from a computer or they have satellite or special call routing locations in your city. It's a fake number to cover their tracks so you can't track them down when you learn that you've been duped. No more and no less.

No trustworthy and reputable company would lie to their customers. This is even more true of companies that contact you via phone and expect you to agree to spend money in a matter of minutes when they call and interrupt your life. Beware because many crooked telemarketers change their fake numbers and names several times daily, weekly, or monthly as they choose to stay a step ahead of customers and authorities. Others change their product offerings or the companies they buy their leads from frequently to avoid detection by consumers and the law. Caller I.D. spoofing is a low cost option to help ensure anonymity but with a little sweet talk, or investigating (online or offline) you might find out where they're located so you can read them the riot act or take them to court for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act or many other laws.

Some angry customers/victims of telemarketers report feeling like they were used like an ATM, putting their personal accounts in the red or even forcing them to be closed.
Some angry customers/victims of telemarketers report feeling like they were used like an ATM, putting their personal accounts in the red or even forcing them to be closed. | Source

Preferred, Special, Platinum?

You've never done business with, let alone ever heard of the company that's calling you but you suddenly are a very special customer to them. How can this possibly be? Because you have money that they want and they will lie. They might even give you some rubbish about marketing partners but the bottom line is that you never did business before with them and don't know anything about them or their company. Don't fall for this marketing ploy of calling you a special or preferred customer.

Some will use or throw out the names of other companies that you might have recently done business with or mention certain products hoping that you will assume that they are reputable simply because they mention another company's name or product. However, if you truly desired their products or services, you would be seeking them out, not the other way around. I preach this all the time whether you are dealing with individuals, businesses, or others. When you're being sought out, it's because they want something you've got. The problem with telemarketers is that you truly do not know what you're getting in return. They will say things on the phone to get your money and what you will get is often a disappointment, headache, or both. If you never purchased anything from them and they say you're special and they want you to spend your money with them, tell them to kiss your arse and hang up.

Trial Fees Or Shipping, Lead To Bigger Things, Much Bigger Things

You may be told about a very small fee that they want you to agree to pay. This small fee is the lure, often crooked telemarketers will try to make you feel as if you are poor for turning them down for a small fee such as amounts less than $10 or $20. However, don't get hung up on that and don't do anything that will put your accounts in jeopardy...this includes giving your information over the phone. Their goal is to get you to agree to a small fee so they can charge you more just days or a couple weeks later.

Do not make the mistake of agreeing because once done, the company will have everything they need to repeatedly debit your account whether you wanted it, fully understand, or not. A large number of people do not know about the bigger/additional/or recurring charges coming their way and are upset when they realize that they opened this door to debits by a no name company for things that the customer/victim didn't want. In addition, some of these companies will sell, rent, or share your info, including your banking/credit card info to other companies that have similarly low codes of ethics. Buyer beware.

Are You Listening To Me?

When you say no, you have to go, tell them you're unemployed or on disability income, or ask to be taken off the calling list, the last thing they should say is "that's not a problem" or any equivalent of this. With just a few words, they have rejected your attempt at leaving their nonsense behind and getting on with your life, but this is just one of the ways telemarketers demonstrate that they don't listen to customers and simply don't care. Other times they will just keep talking as if they heard nothing you said and push you into agreeing. If they can't listen to you, don't listen to them. Be sure to say no loudly and clearly, then hang up.

In closing...

These are just some of the ways telemarketers disrespect their customers and victims. I'd imagine each day brings at least one or two more. Some people truly are victimized because they are outright lied to, bullied, or tricked into having money extracted from them. The safest bet is to avoid accepting anything from telemarketers and not accepting anything from anyone you did not personally seek out. Also, staying away from untrustworthy websites, surveys, pop ups, and pop unders is equally important because it is not uncommon for shady online companies to associate with or own other bad companies.

Many shady online deals such as free high dollar items like free electronics or free gift cards are tied to telemarketers who begin calling you non stop as soon as their systems pick up your info. Don't let family, friends, or neighbors use your credit card or banking info to buy things online. There are too many risky sites and offers that can put your card or bank info at risk. Many shady sites will process your info as soon as you type it in without you hitting the submit button!

Even for those of us who do all of the above, we are still not out of the woods. Telemarketers have been pilfering phone calls from other companies and government offices through a number of unscrupulous means for decades to divert traffic to money hungry telemarketers. When you or your loved ones make outbound calls, be alert and do not be distracted when making outbound calls because your call (correctly dialed or not) can end up in the hands of a telemarketer who attempts to pass themselves off as an inbound call center rather than a true scourge of modern life.

You or someone you love could be calling a government office, your bank, stockbroker, a charity, school, credit/debit/gift card company, or any number of companies or organizations when a voice comes on the line to take the call...away from your intended destination! Anyone making any outbound call particularly to toll free numbers is at risk, no matter whom they were trying to reach.

You should not have to ask who you are calling because the person with whom you speak should say their company name at the start of the call. BEWARE: crooks will not say the company name without being asked to imply that you have reached who you called. If they do not say the exact same organization or company name that you were trying to call, hang up immediately and do not listen to anything they say. You did not want to call or speak to them, there is no need to listen, get off the line and don't call them back. Also, warn your loved ones about this scam and don't forget the elderly are targets of this as well! If possible, warn the company, organization, or government office you were trying to reach as well.

Remain vigilant online and off and you likely will not be bothered by telemarketers.

© 2012 Express10


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    • Express10 profile imageAUTHOR

      H C Palting 

      2 years ago from East Coast

      Fight back whenever possible. There are laws against them calling not only your home phone but also your mobile as well. I threatened, I kid you not, THREATENED to sue one telemarketer in particular but before I sued them, I sent them a demand letter. Next thing I knew I actually had a valid check in my hand for almost $2,000 for three of their harassing calls which I thoroughly documented.

      The difficulty is finding out exactly who is calling you. If you can do this and have proof, try starting out with a demand letter and see if that gets you anywhere. The idiots who kept calling me despite me telling them to stop have most certainly not called me back since, especially after writing me a rather nice check for my troubles. I wish you the absolute best of luck in getting valid contact info and taking them to task.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 

      2 years ago from Fontana

      I love it! I don't even answer my home phone because 90% of the calls are telemarketers. I am on the list. Now they are attacking my cellphone.

    • Express10 profile imageAUTHOR

      H C Palting 

      3 years ago from East Coast

      I'm happy that you found something less stressful and non-abusive and hope you are doing well. Kudos for you for having sympathy for telemarketers, call me a cynic but I have little to no sympathy because too many telemarketing companies urge their employees or "contractors" exactly as you say, to lie, mislead, talk too fast, talk very quietly/make it hard or impossible for the customer to hear, mumble, avoid answering questions, etc. to get a sale. Millions of people are lied to, misled and tricked into sales or flat out lied to each month by thousands of telemarketing companies across the US.

      We are not even talking about the additional thousands of these companies from abroad. Even worse, many people don't even realize that they can accidentally call a telemarketer and be sold simply by dialing a wrong number or because they were transferred to them by other companies. If you never heard of the company and you did not dial a reputable and well known, blue-chip company, hang up, do not listen and do not let them talk you into anything. Check the number and carefully redial. Otherwise, they will lie and mislead you into doing something not in your best interests.

      I always tell everyone I care about to not accept anything via phone unless you intentionally called a blue-chip company that is well-known and reputable. Do not even accept "literature" or "information." Do not respond to emails, texts, and mail from unknown and little-known companies that you NEVER initiated contact with. Hang up whether they initiated contact with you or whether you accidentally called them or were transferred to them. Simply accepting these or similarly named items often means that you WILL be charged whether or not they make it clear to you. I repeat, their job is to sell and most will lie, cheat or mislead you by any means necessary to get a sale. They get away with it hundreds of thousands of times a day here in the US.

      I don't care how hungry or broke the individual telemarketers are/may be, there are reputable jobs that pay as much or more, even if they have no education and offer them less stress. A clothing store job at the mall, landscaping, fast food, anything! I can't believe I'm saying this but truly, even a prostitute does not lie or mislead their customers about their job. You know what a prostitute does before you seek their services. Telemarketers are NEVER sought out and you will never be told "I'm a telemarketer with We Scam You Company." Telemarketers will lie and say they are order takers, call center agents, inbound call centers, in an office...they will make up anything but will NEVER tell you they are telemarketers. Telemarketers are 12 rungs below prostitutes on the ladder of life, right down there with used car salesmen. My rant is now over, thanks for reading :)

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 

      3 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      I feel terribly, terribly sorry for telemarketers and deeply disgusted by the companies that employ them. It's a gray area of employment that can pay less than minimum wage. All of these aspects on your page are required of them at work. They are so pushy because they are trying to make the sale so they can eat and maybe save up enough for somewhere to live in many cases. The way many of them are employed, they have to make sales to be paid at all and it's a pittance.

      I took a telemarketing job when I was homeless. It was either that or start being a prostitute so I opted for telemarketing. I weighed less than a hundred pounds and my speech was slurred from a head injury. Our bay manager (that's what they called the rooms with tables and phones in them, bays) would talk loudly, urging us to speak faster. I truly could not, so he'd make me stand up, saying sitting down must be making me sleepy, then he'd keep poking me in the arm with a pen as he walked past. Up at the front of the room he'd keep yelling things like keep smiling while you talk, try harder, you're not trying harder, use the script, talk louder, talk faster, and so on. When he'd step out, the other people in the room would tell me to sit down before I fainted. We got no breaks or lunches. They got away with it all by calling us contractors. I was so hungry and weak that I cried about the ink he left on my sleeves at the end of a few days. By the end of the week, I had no clothes without ink on them except my underwear. By the end of the month, it was all over my clothes because he kept poking in new spots.

      I made just under three dollars an hour and started to wonder if the prostitute option wouldn't have been morally cleaner and more profitable. Luckily I got canned for not talking fast enough and eventually found a real job that had to pay minimum wage and let me take lunch.

      I think it might be a good idea to require high school students to do a week of telemarketing so they'd better appreciate their future jobs. I did it for over a month but there's no need to truly torture the youngsters.

    • Express10 profile imageAUTHOR

      H C Palting 

      6 years ago from East Coast

      Thanks Innerspring. These tricks can be compounded by the timing of the call as well such as when the telemarketer catches the person in a busy or noisy work environment, while driving, walking dogs, at the doctor's office, or in the shower. These are times when they want to get off the line ASAP and may be distracted. But even if they say so, some telemarketers will not let the person go unless they get a sale or agreement of some sort. If the telemarketer uses any of these tactics let alone two or more, it's like shooting fish in a barrel... easy to get sales. Perhaps that woman was trying to irritate you so that the call would end. Some people actually blow whistles into people's ears or threaten to bomb the telemarketing office to get the call over with. By putting this info out there I hope it can provide inspiration to do the right thing for either person during a telemarketing call if not simply notify people of red flags.

    • innerspin profile image

      Kim Kennedy 

      6 years ago from uk

      Oh dear, I did have ten weeks doing a temp telemarketing campaign. If only I'd known these "tips" then. Do they really turn the volume down at crucial points? Must admit I'm impatient with callers these day. The last lady who rang, I actually told her she had a horrible voice and couldn't listen to her. She hurt my ears! Useful hub.

    • Express10 profile imageAUTHOR

      H C Palting 

      6 years ago from East Coast

      Don't even fall for it when they say they'll send you something in writing. I know many people who did while specifically saying they didn't want to be charged and they were charged anyway.

    • Express10 profile imageAUTHOR

      H C Palting 

      6 years ago from East Coast

      I write about this type of stuff because too many people fall for it making some people angry, hooking them into even more telemarketers' offers, and some people have their accounts drained to the point that they can't pay their bills. Thanks so much TheLyricWriter.

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 

      6 years ago from West Virginia

      Voted up, awesome, and interesting. Cool article. Should I be surprised that I have nearly heard all of these? You make great points. I can't stand them. You tell them not to call, but they do. You ask to be put on a list, they don't. I have learned that they always want something and it is not free. Just wish I could jump through the line just once:) Great article Express10.

    • Express10 profile imageAUTHOR

      H C Palting 

      6 years ago from East Coast

      Thanks BoundaryBathrooms. People from all walks of life fall prey and the worst things to fall for are automatic or recurring charges. Never agree to a telemarketer's request to bill you automatically each month. Often, it's very hard to get them to stop.

    • boundarybathrooms profile image

      Thomas Mulrooney 

      6 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Some great advice here! You always think that it's only the vulnerable that will be caught out by this, but absolutely anyone can end up giving into telemarketers.

      To be honest if they start giving me the sales pitch when I've already said I'm not interested I just simply put the phone down.

    • Express10 profile imageAUTHOR

      H C Palting 

      6 years ago from East Coast

      Thanks Frank, the bottom line is to not do business with them because they are not to be trusted and you have no proof of their trustworthiness when they call you out of the blue. Thanks so much for bearing with me when I go on my rants about scams.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      6 years ago from Shelton

      yeah.. I got a lot from this hub.. hmm.. very interesting and voted up

    • Express10 profile imageAUTHOR

      H C Palting 

      6 years ago from East Coast

      If the telemarketer disrespects the child, they will hear it with a temper tantrum. Great tip LadyE.

    • Lady_E profile image


      6 years ago from London, UK

      Interesting article. If you have kids, one way to deal with the telemarketer is to give the phone to your 2 or 3 year old. They'll soon get fed up of the conversation... :-)


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