Friday, 17 October 2008

How to spot and stop a telemarketer’s call without any gizmos

image If there is one thing I don't like about telephones, it's probably the telemarketers. I just find it really annoying that I always seem to get calls from telemarketers whenever I'm doing something important or sleeping. And they're always trying to sell me something I never really need. But at the same time, I know many people (both in India and Canada) who are telemarketers and most of them do the job because they need the money.

Nonetheless, I think I've figured out a way to avoid calls and confrontations with telemarketers. Maybe this is news only to me, but I've been wrong in the past. So, I think I just publish my thoughts this time.

The thing that sets a marketer apart from normal people is that they don't know your number. Obviously this means that they will have to depend on some kind of computer system for directory from which they can come up with phone numbers. Now, although I've heard cases where my friend had to call people manually, the standard system that telemarketers use almost everywhere is automatic.

The way this works is (from what I hear) there are some companies out there that collect and make a list of phone numbers. The company then forwards the list to companies that are in the business of telemarketing. The telemarketing company then uploads the numbers to calling software. Finally, when a telemarketer is trying to get customers, they use software to dial the numbers.

Although this sounds like a foolproof system, the system actually works against them if you know a little trick. And this is pretty simple. This is how you do it:

  1. First pick up your phone (if you happen to have caller ID might be a good idea to check the number first, most telemarketing companies have weird numbers that don't have the local area code)
  2. Don't answer the phone for 3 seconds
  3. If you don't hear a hello from the other side, it's probably a telemarketer
  4. You can then hang up and go back to your work

Why does this work? Because telemarketers almost always wait until they get a reply from you before responding. Humans don't. For example, if your friend is calling you, as soon as he or she realizes that you've picked up the phone they will say hello. So, by waiting for a few seconds you can save a couple of minutes. Of course, you can just hang up when you know it's a telemarketer. But remember, they're just people too just like you and all they're doing is trying to put food on the table.

There are other ways like do not call me lists (I wonder if all of telemarketing companies actually follow the rules, even if they are huge amount of fines involved), or phones that are designed to create weird tones to somehow deter phone call from telemarketers. But that's something I'll probably save for another post, besides they probably don't work as well.

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