Fighting back annoying sales methods   
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Ok, for a long time I have done it wrongly. In fact, when a blood sucker called my number, my preferred tactic was to utter, "yes, humm" for a short while, at the beginning of his 'phone pitch' and then gently put down the phone, without closing the line, going quietly back to whatever I was doing.
All blood suckers gave up after a while, as demonstrates the fact that the line was always free afterwards. This also got me banned from many a telemarket scheme, but was a rather egoistical deed after all: they simply pruned my number off their lists, yet continued pestering all the less powerful zombies. So the point should rather be, I believe, to find out a method that 1) can be mass-spreaded and 2) can really annoy them hitting the only place where they happen to have some vague feelings: their wallets.

Now I (think I) know how to fight back correctly, how to reverse telemarketing techniques (and similar scams). I would like to present my conclusions and suggestions. Let's see if this spreads. It's an "in fieri" work, he, we can surely do better. Your suggestions, critics, advices and additions are -and will always be- welcome!

How to counter telemarketing and other pests 

by fravia+, (Building on the shoulders of Saint Protigal and Leo Benedictus)
First published at in April 2005, this is version 1.05

Those telemarketers' slaves, those annoying people on the phone, are *not* our direct enemies, they are just our enemies' cannon-fodder: our real enemies are the wankers that employ them. Let's annoy THEM (economically) to no-end using their own slaves as our pawns!

"Cold calls" "phone pitch" telemarketers

Yes, it happpens to us as well, not only to the zombies. You may pride yourself on never buying anything from a telemarketer or even letting one finish a sentence. But enough of your neighbours and colleagues respond to phone pitches (and email spam) to make both -still- quite lucrative business. And we want to retaliate and end (or at least damage) their business, not just have our private peace. In fact, cutting short with them, hanging down the phone, means HELPING them to quickly pass to the next one in their list without losing "their own" time (telemarketer leeches couldn't care less about the victims' time they waste).

That telemarketers exist is no wonder, it's like email spam: never underestimate human idiocy. Telecom companies, home repairers, mortgage refinancers, bank scrooges, credit card vultures and long-distance providers have found phone pitches to be among their most cost-effective sales tools.

And we are still dealing only with the relatively 'legal' side of this smelly coin: there are much worser scums: in fact people unwittingly hand over hundred of billions per year to completely bogus and fraudulent callers, who make pleas for phony charities, police associations, nigerian ministers, firemen organisations, or offer "prizes" with dreadful strings attached or "you have been selected" kind of "cheap vacations" with real huge hidden fees.

And since the zombies don't know nothing, they "bite" to such scams hooks, with the consequence that -soon or later- such scams will annoy us as well, even if we cut them short.

That's the reason we will have to counter again and again this kind of crap in the future... unless we start a snowball a-rolling down from our seekers peaks, a targeted snowball that will reach zombieland, downhill, big enough to (help to) crash this phenomenon at its ugly roots.

So DO NOT hung up! Resist your immediate impulse! Don't hang up, that's what they can immediately use! It is infact the second best thing you can do for them (apart letting them suck your blood).
Telemarketing, like prostitution and drug selling, works if it is economical. The response of "just hanging up" to telemarketers only facilitates the economy of telemarketing.
Hanging up does not work. By hanging up, you let them spend only a nominal amount to interrupt your evening. The point is to have them spending A LOT OF TIME for nothing. Telemarketers are extremely cost sensitive. They need to complete as many calls as quickly as possible until one of their victims becomes a sales "hit." Consume their time: "Have a lot of fun." Try to find out what keeps them on the line and think of ways they can be discouraged. But most of all, make a game of it and have fun!

So one of the main points is to use appropriately the magic words "Hold On, Please.". Not immediately, after a short while, when the telemarketer slave is confident you'r listening and maybe "hooking": "Uh, just a moment... Hold On, Please.". When you eventually hear the phone's beep-beep-beep tone, you know it's time to go back and hang up your handset, which has efficiently completed its task. This is similar to my simply going away original solution, but MUCH more elegant, since you have gently advised the telemarketer that you have to be absent for a while. Of course there are more variants, the so-called "terminal holds":

Terminal hold 1): "Hey, Thanks for your call... The person in charge (who is very interested) needs to come up from the garage"... "You won't hang up on her/him, will you? I'm sure she/he will be very interested!"
Terminal Hold 2): "Herr professor is in the library upstairs. I'll call him at once. What's your name again? Please hold the line."
Terminal Hold 3): "But, you know, the last time she/he came in from the garden, the telemarketer hung up on her/him. You won't do that, will you?"

Slow 'em Down "Speaka only small English. Please to talk very slowly." But wait until they believe you're interested. And then go down heavy with it: "I buy your product. Please describe again please" "No please no understood last you talked. Please repeat me you said how much pay?"
Otherwise, "no speaka English" is an immediate tipoff for them to move to the next call, and you can use it if you want to cut short.

"Please talk louder" Keep phone far from mouth. Don't be insistent that the caller talk louder until after you show a firm interest in their product. The requests to talk louder must be repeated often because the caller realizes he/she is interfering with others in the boiler room. A side effect is that the caller will likely adjust the receive volume on the phone to hear you. If you later speak up, you will come in LOUD AND CLEAR.

Anyway: Don't give them a hard time at first The first thing to do is show interest. Then they'll gladly spend time on your call, which is what they're paid for by their masters (our real enemies, the ones we have to hit).

Also never answer directly any question. Just grunt, or make some noise that could be interpreted as an "hum". Also use SILENCE a lot. Remember that -as any reverser knows- silence is a powerful weapon in any conversation, and especially in telephonic conversations. The urge to fill a silence gap is almost irresistible for most of the small brained animals you may want to pray upon :-)

Alternatively go for it, hook, line and sinker: "Successful evil callers" often paper the wall in front of them with notes and Post-its about things they believe they should emphasize. This is a way of making sure they cover all the bases during their evil calls. "I have some high-yield, tax-free municipals on offer at an extremely attractive price and virtually no risk. Are you interested?" Well, go for it: "Yes! I am very interested! Please send me everything, I'll pay as much as necessary... let the idiot hope for as long as you manage, it happens so seldom that he'll wet his pants in anticipation of his 'sales pitch' ... and then, after as long as you want and manage to play with him, put the phone down IN THE MID of your sentence, and when he'll phone back (almost immediately, noone cuts the line while speaking, it must have been a technical glitch) start anew the bazaar. Remember that the point is to have them lose their time AND to have fun!
The less moronical among the telemarketers usually "dig it" around the third time :-)

Also great fun is to accuse HIM: "Why do you keep cutting the line?" "Please don't cut the line any more..."

You might think or hope that telemarketers would eventually run out of workers willing to endure such constant rejection and abuse.
Think again. Expanding global trade, combined with falling prices for international calls, has allowed telemarketers to move call centers to countries, cities or regions where more pliant employees line up for such work. So what we really need to do is -I believe- to spread the time-delaying techniques against bloodsuckers.

If you have guests at home another nice 'delaying tactique' is the "nice, but I actually don't live here: wait a moment" one.
It is great fun: let the bloodsucker launch into his huge, rehearsed pitch. Instead of cutting him off/hanging up, let the poor bastard tell it all. Then "hmmmmm" and say, "Gee, that sounds really great! Actually, you know what, I don't actually live here, but let me get my friend Jeff and you can tell him all about it!". Put someone else on and let the telemarketer repeat the whole thing again. Have Jeff get his brother/father/son/sister/somebody else, and keep on repeating. Three people can impersonate a squad and you can bet with your friends about the length you'll manage.

Lower instincts' telemarketers answers (when you'r in a hurry)

These are "deprecated" answers, because they will 'cut short' the phone call instead of having your enemies loosing time, but they are great fun, and you may be allowed to use them once in a while, or if you are really in a hurry.
1).  This works great if you are male, of course, but it will be great fun the other way around as well :-)
Telemarketer: "Hi, my name is Judy and I'm with XYZ Company..." You: Wait for a second, and then, with a real husky voice, ask: "Hi Judy, what are you wearing?"

2).  Insist that the caller is really your buddy Leon, playing a joke. "Come on, Leon, cut it out! Seriously, Leon, how's your momma?"

3).  Another favorite is to use a whistle as a reply to any question by the telemarketer. An example is: Telemarketer asks if you would like a great deal of whatever. You reply by taking your referee whistle and blowing it as loud and as long as you can into the receiver. When you are out of breath and the shrill sound of the whistle has subsided, ask the telemarketer, "Next question please."
Be aware that this will not have them loose much money: Usually no telemarketer will ever ask more than two questions when you use the whistle technique.


Home deliveries

Next time you spend a day's holiday waiting in for a fridge that never shows, call the delivery company (it's always a separate delivery company), keep calm, and arrange another date. Then get even by going out that day. They did not turn up when you were in; let them find out what it's like. You still won't have a fridge, but they have to deliver it, so there's little they can do.

Let the companies that sent them throw their own ads away

Take up a handful of freepost envelopes, fill them with household waste and mail them back. This way the mailer will have to pay (albeit a very small amount) to receive your junk, and he will receive real junk.

Recently my phone bills are full of crap ads. The company probably thinks it's "cool" to annoy me with advertismeent for new gsm models, as if one would switch gsm every year.
So I simply send them all back when I pay the bill.
In the pre-paid envelope theer's my bill, and it is clasped to a heavy twentysome sheets of advertisement they sent me.
If there's no bill, if it is just junk promotion, it does not change much. Then I stuff it into the first pre-approved return envelope I get, no matter to whom.

When you get ads in your utility bills, just include them with the payment: let the companies throw the ads away.
When you get those pre-approved letters in the mail for everything, from credit cards to 2nd mortgages and special bonus computer offers and junk like that, most of them come with postage paid return envelopes, right?
Well get rid of some of your other junk mail and put it in these cool little envelopes!
Send an ad for your local garden cleaner to Citibank. Send the pizza coupon to Eurocard.
What about being a little bit more discouraging - taping one's Freepost envelope to a brick, for example? That's a nice idea, and you may want to try it for the fun of it, but mostly it wont do, alas.
The important thing is not to cross the line into what is officially termed a "malicious posting". If it is overweight, and you don't overdo it, the company will be surcharged, and they wont like it.

Mobile networks & Credit card companies

If you're not happy when talking tariffs with your phone company, threaten to leave. Who did this, meaning it, was immediately passed through a secret channel to a new department, where previously impossible discounts were suddenly made available. Some companies even have a special thinking-of-leaving option on their touchtone menu: this is where the deals are done. "If a customer has found a better offer elsewhere then obviously we'd like to know about it to see if there is some flexibility for us to offer something similar, but there isn't a rule of thumb that if you say that [you're leaving] you'll get a better deal" they say... at the very least, however, you'll get speedy service. The same is almost certainly true of the other networks. Some, for instance, have Orwellian-sounding "retention departments" to which you will be passed if you are thinking of leaving. Also investigate, know and USE all the possibilities that your telephon account gives you. If you have a given amount of their server space (web hosting) for free, fill it with high traffic items (like huge files that you know zillion people will download if you post them on your own server), the moment something is "comprised in the price" it would be nonsense to let it get stale. Remember that your phone company goes to great lengths to steal the maximum possible amount of your money: you should always try to do the same with them.

The same "menace to leave" sometimes works with credit card companies, although the best way to annoy your credit card company is, of course, to pay off regularly the whole balance every month, or to keep shuttling through 0% transfer deals. This way, it costs them to have you as a customer. Bliss.
Note also that ALL credit cards companies will gladly give out their card FOR FREE to many "target" user groups. And they'll probably give one to you as well, for free, provided you use it.
This is not strange at all: they compensate easily: they make enough money not only from the poor idiots that go off balance at the end of the month and have to pay horrid rates, but also from the "parvenus" zombies that buy the "golden" or "platinum" version of their crap thinking (of course wrongly) that they are getting a deal.

Unwelcome salespersons

Next time a young man in a cheap suit gets you out of the bath to sell you something you don't want, you might want to consider buying the lot. Two dozen pairs of glasses, 14 satellite dishes - get your credit card out and really go to town. Then, after a couple of hours or so, write a letter to the company cancelling the purchase. With any luck they'll have already cracked open the champagne.

With very few exceptions, as long as you spend more than 50 euro following a sales pitch that was unsolicited and away from the seller's place of business, you have seven working days in which to formally cancel the sale and receive a full refund. This also applies to people who knock at your door, call you on the phone or stop you in the supermarket. Remember this the next time you scamper, dripping, to the phone to discover that you "could be saving up to 33% on your international calls".

Telemarketers get some of their own medicine

Useful to learn the correct tone you should use to keep them on the line forever " I only mess with Telemarketers and I can swear that none have been harmed in the recordings of these calls."
Try GrampsWithCramps for instance: Chris is a real artist :-)

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