questionsdo you prank telemarketers? if so tell us some…

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come over to the deals.woot chat room. we have several good stories there. including a few that probably wouldn't be postable here.

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@moosezilla: Thanks, I'll be there as soon as I post this.

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Fortunately I have two options:
- if I don't recognize the # on my cell I don't pick it up.
- There are exactly four people (and the last one isn't a person) who know my landline #, me, the phone company, the landlord, and the security box it is attached to.

Therefore, no need to prank, I just have to pick up the phone and push a key if someone calls the landline. Not so much prank, but they get a nice ear of static and phone tone. If they're human at all, most aren't these days.

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My dad once told a telemarketer, when they started their spiel about saving money on our phone service, that we didn't have a phone. I like to imagine the person sitting with a confused look on their face for a few seconds. I'm sure they just shrugged it off and went to the next call but my imagined reaction is much funnier to me.

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I've handed the phone to my 2-yr old kids who start singing the alphabet song.
I've told them to hang on for a few seconds while I finish something, then I come back every 2 minutes or so and tell them "just a second..."
I'll sometimes let them go through their whole script, ask them all kids of questions, drag the conversation on and on as long as possible, then at the end tell them " how does it feel to have some a$$hole waste all that time.
I've tried to sell them something I own, like a sofa or used car, then when they get confused I tell them "what, you don't want to overpay for a piece of crap that you don't want or need from a complete stranger?"
I've asked for their home phone numbers, so I can call them and bother their families at an inconvenient time.
I've even taken the phone to the bathroom and dropped stuff loudly into the toilet while groaning, then flushing repeatedly.

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@inkycatz: I have used an air horn at times.

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@chellemonkey: I find that extremely funny. I'm going to use that one when it's appropriate.

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@kamikazeken: Thanks for a good idea. I don't think I've ever tried to sell them anything.

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When they try to sell me new siding or other things for my house I tell them I only rent. This confuses the sales person because they believe they have a good list of home owners.

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I usually begin a pitch on Scientology to them...... (And no, I don't believe in Tom Cruises Religion =/)

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Answering machine picks up for me. If it's important, leave a message. As for the OP, I have lied and told them that I was the son. Pranks? Tom Mabe rules.

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@chellemonkey: I rarely answer calls from unknown numbers, but you've reminded me of my sister's favorite bit. She answers the phone and as soon as the telemarketer starts talking she says, "Oh. I'm sorry! I have the wrong number." Then she hangs up.

I envision similar results to the ones that your dad got.

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I used to give the phone to my son when he was 6 years old. That was funny.

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I was a telemarketer back in college some 20+ years ago. I know, I should be hated for that. But, hey, it was a job and it paid the bills. Anyway, I did resort marketing. You know the ones where you have to go do a tour and sit through a presentation to receive your prize. Well, on one call, I had a very agreeable guy. He was nice, and answered all my questions. It came time for me to take his name and address. I wrote it out just like he spelled it, but never read it back to him. Yup, I was duped by Hugh Jorgan. LOL I was so embarrassed when my boss told me it was a fake name.

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Not really a prank and I haven't had a landline for about five years, though before that, for about three years, I had an answering machine on the line and screened ALL calls. My friends knew to either call my cell or just wait for the message to end so they could start talking.

The outgoing messges varied. For example,

Hello?
(pause ~3 seconds)
Hello? (louder)
(pause another second or two)
HELLO?!!
(pause)
IS THERE ANYONE THERE?!!
(pause)
ARE YOU THERE?!
(brief pause)
Well, we're not. Leave a message...

About once a week I'd either get a nasty message from some twit upset that I'd wasted his time or (more often) someone laughing, possibly with a "ha ha, you got me" comment and then hanging up.

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@baqui63: I had a similar message for a few years...
"hello"
"HELLLOOOO..."
"You're going to have to speak up, I can barely hear you"
"SPEAK UP LOUDER"
"just kidding, leave a message at the tone"
one day driving to work, I heard the local radio station calling the winner of their big prize for faather's day, a gas grill, a lawn mower, a robe, fishing gear, etc, and holy crap, I heard my message pranking the 2 DJ's ON THE AIR.

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I once told a telemarketer that, "I'm sure your offer is awesome and I would love to hear it, but it seems I have lost my pants, and am in mourning, so literally nothing you say to me will matter until I find my beloved slacks." The guy was obviously holding back laughter, and said, "Ok sir I'm sorry for your loss" and hung up.

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When I first got a headset for my cordless phone, I spent the better part of an hour listening to a telemarketer extoll the virtues of vinyl siding, while I worked on changing the struts on my car.

He set up an appointment for them to come out and give an estimate, and wasn't happy when I finally asked him how they attach it to the brick.

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A question dear to my heart. With all the numerous ways your telephone number is given out these days and sold to other companies, "the do not call list" only stops so many calls, and some of these callers do not abide by the list anyway and are scammers that have your phone number illegally.

For ALL of these people time is money, whether they get a commission for so many calls per shift with results, pay an outlandish fee for the privilege to call our phones, or have prepaid phones so they cannot be traced.

When I have the time, I have what I call the Fast Burn, and the Slow Burn. The latter keeps them from ever calling again, so far.

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The Fast Burn is easy...as soon as I know they are selling something or I won a free vacation from the card I supposedly filled out at a store or gas station, I say...that's great, hold on... let me get my credit card or a pen! I then give the phone to one of my kids and tell them it's Santa and to tell him what they want for Christmas...or I just lay it down and go do whatever I was doing before I answered the phone...they figure these out pretty quickly, and it makes me chuckle every time, plus it's a distraction for the kids, as they just talk and talk and are not listening to whomever is on the other end anyway!

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The Slow Burn...if I have the time for this one, and I'm feeling like really f...ing with them, and after I find out they are selling something or it's the vacation deal where I only have to pay or buy something to get it...I say the same thing, hold on let me get my Black card, or I want to buy three, or I'd like to donate a $1000 dollars to whatever scam charity, anything to make then really want to stay on the phone and close the deal.

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I then do one of two things: lay the phone down and go about my business, read a book, go to the bathroom, and then just occasionally yell out, I'm coming, or my house keeper is looking for my black card, and then later change my voice to sound like my fake housekeeper, usually a thick older woman's German accent as I can speak a little German. I then get on the phone again, and throw in a sentence or two in German when I answer the phone, and ask if any of my employer's 20 different credit cards would be ok, and then add could she get in on the deal too?

I then tell them that's great my children in Germany will be so happy, and to wait and let me get my American credit card...

I have also used a micro-cassette recorder for this with the Slow Burn already on it, and let it play out into the phone after I answer and say let me get my CC. I've come back 15 to 20 minutes later and some of these guys were still on the phone!

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I haven't talked to one in years but I used to when I was younger. Telling them whoever they ask for is dead is usually a good way to get them to stop calling.

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I'm a softy, really. Since I have been in their shoes, I really try to let them down easily, but firmly. I just tell them that I understand they have a job to do, but I am not interested and am going to hang up now. I say sorry again and just hang up.

Outbound telemarketing is one of the suckiest jobs out there. In my 3 years of doing the job, nobody I worked with enjoyed it. It was really just to pay the bills. I applaud the people who feel they have no other choice but to work in telemarketing. At least they're working, and not just relying on the state to support them. Most call centers like this that I've seen seem to be staffed by students and poor people. There is usually a very fast turnover. The average time for someone in our office was about a month. The only reason I stayed as long as I did, was that I needed a sit down job that worked around my college schedule. My boss did that, but still, as soon as I found something else, I was out of there, too.

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@dogbountyhunter1: If I did that one, they would just try to sell me a burial plot!

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just tried a new one today!!!

after listening to the first few sentences from their script I started crying and sobbing.
I started saying "They told me the Thorazine would make the voices go away" over and over til she hung up.

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@kamikazeken: Telemarketers are very poor employees trying to pay their bills, and have bosses who make very strict rules. Rule number one, do not be the one who hangs up. Rule number two, if you fail to make your quota of sales following rule number one, you are fired.

The best way to handle a telemarketer is to hang up. Let them keep their jobs to pay their rent with. They go to the next caller, and that's that. They are just trying to make a living and were lucky to have been hired in the first place.

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@abcdefg: The salesperson is confused because it is true as you say they think they have a good list of homeowners, but let me tell you that the salesperson just needs to be hung up on. That other than a sale are the two best outcomes. If you aren't interested it won't bother them if you hang up. If you say you are not interested, they are required by their boss to go into the "why not" schpiel, and if they don't they will get fired. They really need the job. So help a feller out by hanging up.

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Nobody wants to be the one responsible for someone losing their job, so be aware of something. If you never had to take a job telemarketing in your life and know nobody else who ever did also, then you just need to be made aware of a few things. In 2003 it became illegal for telemarketers to use recorded messages instead of personal presentations. Therefore if it is a telemarketer it is always a person. Only collection agencies use recordings because they are exempt.

A telemarketer applies for a job like everyone else and they get hired on the condition that they will follow orders and meet sales quotas. If they fail to do anything told they have to do then they will lose their jobs. They are required to stay on the phone. They are required to ask why not and "overcome objections" and they are required to have good reasons why they didn't make the sale if they didn't make the sale. Regardless of reasons, if they fail their quota they are fired.

Quotas are time. Hang up on them.

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@trekmiss: When I do telemarketing, the sweetest sound is either "click" or a participation. It is nice to say you're sorry and I think maybe you appreciated it when you were working on the phones. I felt bad for the people saying they were sorry, actually, when and if they did. There's no reason to apologize. The caller made the call because it was on the list, they didn't want to make the call; they don't want to stay on the call longer than necessary. And where I'm concerned, the person should not think I am taking any of it personally. If they hang up, that's freedom to dial another number. Some might say, jokingly or not, that they'd do the world a favor by keeping the telemarketer occupied and save the next house. Believe me, they aren't saving anyone, but keeping someone from doing their job. The companies using telemarketers are wealthy. They can hire another telemarketer, and the high turnover is because they very often do.

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@srfoolishbuyer: Speaking for myself, you can tell the difference between credible telemarketers and the pushy scamers telling you that you won a vacation that you didn't sign up for.

Credible will not call after certain hours and will be professional when you ask to be put on the do not call list, not scream an obscenity and hang up. I unleash Hell after I've been called by the same bank of numbers more than a couple times, and know it's not a credible company.

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@srfoolishbuyer:
We get more than our fair share of calls, to the point that we have to turn the land line ringer off, because it might wake up our children. While most of the time I ask to be put on the list, when I get called, if it's from the other group of callers, then I feel it's game on.I know this probably does nothing except drain their prepaid phone, but when you have had your limit, it does let you feel like you are getting a little control back.

Also, this is after calling the feds and phone company which is more and more being a waste of time, as they can do nothing except block that number. And we all know, blocking one line is like a finger in the dike.

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@107bear: I know what you mean on those frequent and repeated calls, and the attitudes. I once worked in the Telemarketing department of Montgomery Ward. Huge place, hundreds of phones, and a computer directing us all individually who to talk to. MW was selling service contracts for appliances, and they had a database of all people who ever purchased appliances from them all around the country. The people who were on the phones had to use their own initiatives to get the sales, and the more successful ones I noticed, were also the ones that I thought were the most obnoxious in the way that they pressured people. I felt ashamed to be associated with them because that is not my sense of politeness. I did not do poorly with MW and I didn't have to have an attitude, but the computer did always seem to dial numbers that didn't want to be dialed. It was an odd position for an individual employee to be in. We didn't dial, the computer did. I apologized to many people for that.

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I rarely pick up when it's anonymous calls. But when I do and it turns out to be a telemarketer, I usually play along and pretend to be an interested buyer. Then I say I'd go get my credit card. But I let the phone remain off the cradle and leave the telemarketer hanging on the line. Hahaha!

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I also have other prank ideas I get from http://www.callercenter.com/articles/14waystoannoytelemarketers.html and they're funny. With these tips, you never ran out of jokes you can pull on them.