How to Handle Telemarketers

Okay Boys and Girls, guess what day it is?  It’s Lighten Up Monday!  I must confess that sometimes it is hard to watch these old comedy clips.  I feel like my performance was so amateurish and stiff.  It is also interesting to see what the years have done to my face and body.  However, truth doesn’t change.  If you ever get annoying sales calls, you might want to try this.


Question: I would love to hear if you have a method other than “hanging up” that works on telemarketers. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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37 thoughts on “How to Handle Telemarketers

  1. I always tell them to send it to me in writing. If your product is worth it, I will consider it. So when they continue to explain whatever it is, I interrupt and say send everything to me in writing and I will look it over. Everyone wins. They think I will look at it, the post office receives a small donation (helps protect jobs), and I recycle their paper (if they ever send it). Best part, I don’t give them my address. If you paid for my number, than pay for my address as well. This way, if I really do receive anything, it is probably legit enough for me to really consider it. It is a win win for everyone.

  2. Ask them if they like to grill on the patio after work or on weekends. Tell them you have a slightly used grill in fantastic condition for sale and that you would be willing to let it go for half price if they would buy it today!

  3. two ways if it is a unavailable or toll free number I just don’t answer the call, plus sign up for the do not call list ,

  4. “I gotta go because…” and I simply fill in the blank, no matter how trivial. “Because my ice cream is melting” … “because the blood is running out of my forearm” … “because it’s almost lunchtime in Australia.” I’m never lying, never offensive. And I always hangup.

  5. One time a telemarketer called, notice the odd name in caller id, so I answered the phone in a unique accent.
    The telemarketer asked if I was in, I replied that Mr ????? is out of the country for awhile. She said when will Mr ????? return? I replied once the ransom is paid. I further added we were having trouble raising the ransom would she care to donate? She was silent, I hung-up laughing to tears.

  6. Here you go Ken, next time on calls, tell them, “just a minute”, lay the head set down and walk away from it. When you walk back by and hear the busy tone you can hang up the hand set.

  7. I always ask for their home phone number and that confuses them. I say give me your home phone number, I’ll call you and then we can talk about it. They hang up everytime.

  8. Ken . . . I have tried this twice with great success.

    After the telemarketer starts talking I asked him to hold on. Then I turn and yell “everyone stay clear of the body”. Then I ask the guy on the phone if I could help him. When he starts talking again, I turn and yell . . . “I told you to stay clear of the body. Don’t touch it or step in the blood.” Then I said “go ahead please.” He then asked if I (Mr. White) was there. I asked him his name and how did he know Mr. White. I told him I was detective Cupcake and we had a homicide on our hands. I asked him how long he had know Mr. White and when was the last time he had seen him. He said he didn’t know Mr. White, he was just calling to . . . I quickly interrupted him and asked “what sexual orientation are you?” He hung up!

    This is not original with me but I’ve had a little fun with it. You could master it!!

  9. I love this performance. I watched it so many times on VHS that I could quote it. When I realized it didn’t make me laugh anymore (the surprise was gone) I started showing it to others so that I could enjoy their laughter. One of these times I was showing it to a very anti-God woman. She knew the message would be Christian and when she sat down to watch it, she crossed her arms and legs (maybe eyes, toes and fingers too) But before the movie was over, she was open to what was being said. I have lost contact with her, but I learned that day that I could use the movie to help spread the good news that Jesus loves us so very much. Thank you for that movie. Thank you for your openness about life.

  10. I am sooo, happy to talk to you “Jim”, how are you? That’s great! How’s the weather where you are? Have you lived there long? Do you go to church? You really should think about going, it’s a great way to meet more friends and you won’t have to call complete strangers! I’m so glad you called. You have a great evening, and God bless ya!

  11. One young woman called my cell phone and identified the company she was calling from and asked if Joe (my husband) was available. I asked if her husband was available. She stuttered then said uh no. I replied, and niether is mine, but thank you for asking! And hung up.

  12. “oldies but goodies” still enjoy watching the older videos, in fact, I have most of them memorized. Thank you!

  13. Let’s explore all of these comments.

    People that none of you know that work for a company that you have no knowledge of call and ask if they could present their product or service.

    Question at this point: Are they doing anything that is criminally or even morally wrong?

    Then you do “fun” things and tell stories that will cause them to go away.

    Question at this point? Have you done anything that is criminally or morally wrong.

    I’m going to stop there and answer that question. Criminally, probably not. Morally? Think about it. Morals = Right from Wrong. Immoral = Wrong. Wrong = Sin. What is lying? Right or wrong? Truth or SIN? You answer it for yourself.

    I’m a salesperson. I have done telemarketing. It’s a job. A job that many do not like, but there are some people that enjoy it and do well at it. It’s a challenging position because not only does the telephone marketer usually initiate the contact, they can only hear the called person. Many of the nuances of personal contact are missing. That is what makes it so challenging.

    For some people, telephone marketing is all that is available to them for many reasons. For some, they do it because they lack skills or education to have other jobs. For some, it’s a result of other economic factors. I have done it because of external economic factors and I simply needed A job to pay my bills.

    In my region of southern Ontario, Canada, until about 15y ago, this was home to hundreds of thriving industrial businesses that were aligned to the automotive industry. General Motors was the largest employer and has since downsized and sent most of those good paying jobs (22,000 at one time) back to the USA or Mexico. There are now less than 400 GM workers in this area. Most of the spin off suppliers closed their doors. Hundreds of other smaller businesses (restaurants, etc,…), including at least 50 in my small city of 20,000 people, have also closed. We are talking about the loss of THOUSANDS of WELL PAID jobs.

    So, what’s left? Service companies that pay minimum wage and don’t offer benefits. There are at least 10 call centers in the area that employ about 10,000 people. I have worked in two of them. Many of these people had one of those very well paid jobs at one time. They still have bills to pay and have to work. For many reasons, they cannot move and even if they did, where do they go? The USA has taken no less than 2million jobs out of Canada in the past 15 years.

    The USA now benefits from many good jobs that were here and they left us with telephone marketing and other service industry jobs that barely pay a living wage.

    I’d also like to comment on the general overall attitude of what I have read here. I am guessing that most, if not all of you, are Christians? (It is mostly Christians that follow Ken Davis.) As such, if you all claim to be a follower of Jesus, where did you get the idea that it is OK to lie to people just because you don’t want to talk to them? And, at least one person here was honest enough to say, “One telemarketer asked if I could find him a job.” Well, can you and did you? Not trying to embarrass that person, however, if we call ourselves Christians, do our “reactions” to telemarketing calls live up to the standards that we want people think we live up to?

    How many of you that like to give a telemarketer a hard time thinks that they could do the job, and do it better and make at least as much money at it than you do now? Further, how many of you work for companies that employ telemarketers? How many of you are directly involved in the procurement process for your employer or maybe even your own company and you have to talk to someone on the phone about buying goods and services?

    Folks, God has asked us to be Holy. He asks us to live UP to standards that the rest of the world knows nothing about and does not understand.

    Our human tendency is to judge others because of stereotypes, customs or
    prejudices. Jesus treats people as individuals, accepting them with
    love and compassion.

    Do you dismiss certain people as lost causes, or do you see them as valuable in their own right, worthy of knowing about the gospel? Are these people worthy of making an honest living? (Yes, SOME telemarketing campaigns are scams, but most are not.) Try putting yourself in the shoes of someone that had few other options and this is a job they take because they need to support themselves and possibly a family. Show them your Christ likeness.

    PS You should all be thankful that the my mobile device that I used last night to author a comment here suddenly failed and the comment never made it here. Last night’s diatribe was not NEARLY as polite as this.

    • When you’re on a no-call list and the telemarketing calls continue there has been a violation. I find nothing wrong when someone violates my no call filing and I have fun with the situation. Lighten up and enjoy life. I telemarketed for years and nothing people said ever bothered me. Actually 1 in 20 people were friendly, the rest just didn’t want to be bothered.

  14. I am on the Do Not call list but I still get them. I have said things like. I am so glad you called…Mary.. I have been waiting all day for you to call. How’s your Mom doing ….they usually hang up. Also I ask things like. Acme siding company calls I say do I actually need to own the home or can I sign up the owner with out them knowing….. Hang up …. Or I was sleeping can you call back. Oh great thanks “when would work for you?” I reply last Tuesday. Or a date like Friday the 18th. ( today’s the 24th).

  15. When I see a number that I don’t recognize, get an “unknown”, “unavailable” or “blocked”, I usually don’t answer. On the rare occasion that I do, I have said “hello . . . hello . . . hello” over and over, as if I can’t hear them, and then hang up. I have also answered the phone with a strange accent, and had them hang up.

  16. If I answer a call about my credit card interest rates, first I ask them which card they are talking about. Then when they want my card number, I ask them to look on their computer screen as they are the ones that called me. Usually they hang up on me!

  17. I always answer the phone by saying ‘ It’s a beautiful day the Lord has made; rejoice and be glad in it.” Then 90% of the time they hang up but if not; I listen to their spill and then tell them the I have a free offer and would they like to hear about it……then the fun begins 😉

  18. I had a friend who would interupt the caller and tell them, “I will listen to everything you have to say but you must then listen to what I have to say.” Some would some wouldn’t but for those that would listen she presented the gospel message to them. Some asked her to pray for them and some did accept Jesus. I think that is a pretty moral response and like Mark said below – it is a living for many people. I had a short brief stint at telemarketing, was terrible at it but I was 18 and really needed a job. Who knows how desperate the person on the other end is to support themselves or their family in today’s economy? It’s a different kind of mission field but I still believe you can have a measure of fun at it if you do so with lovingkindness.

  19. I love your gracious responses to some of the stiffer comments to this post. Very instructive to me. Still benefitting from the SCORRE conference at Winshape last year by the way. Thanks.

  20. I misunderstand what they are selling and start logically talking and thinking about this other item. For instance I might say I already have several Bibles when they are selling insurance, its fun if I have the time. Otherwise, I tell them to take me off the list. It’s a $80,000 fine to call someone if they are on the do not call list.