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How to deal with offensive telemarketers and bill collectors

steven 2012/02/05 01:25:19
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The following is from my humor volume that is almost ready for print. The actual title is--

Aimless Wanderings

Random, Bizarre, Insane, Disturbing and Downright Fun 'Wonderings' and Observations on a Totally Mad World
from the Guy Who Leads The Pack


(A terribly long subtitle, but the main title itself is short to make up for it. I was suffering from Text-arrhea.)

So, without further ado:
---------------------<<<>>>----------------...

More and more these days we are getting inundated on the phone with calls from telemarketers and bill collectors. Having been a phone marketer myself (forgive me—I've repented), I thought maybe a few words of advice on how to handle some of the more obnoxious ones would be in order. Mind you, most are good people trying to make a living in a very tough business (after all, some of you out there aren't very nice to talk to, either).

So, here it is -- The Dummies Guide to Getting Revenge on Telemarketers and Bill Collectors.

The following is for entertainment purposes only. Should you decide to actually use any of these techniques, cover your tracks as best you can.

1. Ask them what they are wearing. This will startle all but the most jaded. Ask for details on personal things.

2.Tell them to hang on 'cause you have to go to the bathroom, then set the phone down and go make a sandwich.

3. Say 'someone is at the door', then go read a book.

4. Say you have something on the stove, then cook dinner.

5. Say your kids are covered in paint and you just can't talk right now. Then hang up.

6. Answer in a foreign language, if you know one. If not, have a skilled friend record something for you. In fact, have several different ones, just in case they go to get a translator, you can change to another tape.

7. Have music-on-hold and use it generously with these people.

8. Scream as if you are being attacked and drop the phone, then drop a bag of flour or sand on the floor and moan in pain.

9. Tell them you feel an 'attack' coming on and begin to babble soon after.

10. Ask them for their home phone number--after all, they have yours. Insist that you need it for your records. If they gave you their name and you know where their offices are (google the phone number), you can likely find a listing for the agent you are talking to in that local area. Feel free to call them often and at any time of the day or night and make friends.

11. Switch to MagicJack and get a number of your choice, plus 'free' calls to the US and Canada for $20 a year.

12. Tell them you are getting divorced, expect to lose your job, have no car and are considering suicide, which will be less painful than talking to them.

13. Break into song at unexpected times during your conversations. An appropriate song to fit the occasion is suggested, so do some homework beforehand.

14. Tell them that the IRS is first in line and you owe millions, so 'good luck.' Then laugh as if you are quite amused.

15. Call their offices several times per day with 'wrong number' claims. In fact, get a 'demon-dialer' and input only their number and then turn it loose.

16. Go online and sign up their email address for every spam item you can think of. In fact, subscribe their physical address for all porn and gay magazines and anything rude, totally boring or useless that you can find. They will then have to refute payment for the received goods.

17. Give their phone number (with any extensions you have received) for any and all other things you want to stop being bothered for. If you can get these guys to waste time and money calling one another for no reason whatsoever, they will be leaving more of us alone in the meantime.

18. Call the agent (from a pay phone or somewhere with music-on-hold that you won't get traced back to) and tell him or her that a substantial prize has been won. Ask them to hold long enough for you to get their personal info. Then ask if they can hold while you get your supervisor. Place them "on hold" for several minutes by placing your hand over the transmitter portion of the phone. Come back as you feel they are about to hang up and tell them that you need only another minute of patience and place them on "hold" again. After a few more minutes, tell them your boss has gone to lunch and suggest that they will be contacted again. When you call back, you will then tell them that their personal information has been used to purchase a yacht or motor-home and you are requesting a down-payment for your company. Insist that they stay on the line and discuss the matter. Be brutal, as you must. Have fun.

19. Get online and find a TTY interface that you can contact them with. An agent will receive your typed-in information and questions and tell that to the agent you are harassing, er...calling, who will then tell the go-between what to respond to you. You can keep them tied up a long time this way and just hang up the connection when you are satisfied. They have used their time unproductively in the meantime and it has cost them money to boot.

20. Any sound that goes into the phone will come out at the other end just as loudly as it went in. Make sure you have a police whistle or a personal body alarm, which is about 118 dB in volume, loud enough to hurt. Don't make a habit of this unless you are being insulted, cussed out or other that might require you getting their attention in a very real way. Then ask nonchalantly, "What was that?" Or, "Hello? Hello? I think they hung up. Hello? Call me back!" When they do (after their hearing returns), they might be more polite, just in case it really was you that did that to them. Another good way to stop a tirade that you can't talk over is to just punch some of the buttons on your touch-tone phone and they will usually stop dead to see what it was. This is your chance to talk for a minute. Repeat as often and for as long as needed. An alternative, if you are in the right mood, is to bang the receiver on the floor or counter several times, quite sharply. This will nearly always work to stop their tirades. Then calmly proceed to tell them your side. If they resort to tyranny again, repeat as before. They will soon tire of it and hang up or behave as an adult. You have to realize they may be getting a percentage of what they collect, so suggest that you might work with someone else who is more in tune with good old fashioned manners.

21. Call a few pizza joints in the collector's locale and order 20 pizzas from each for a "company party." Have them each deliver half an hour apart.

22. Address envelopes to the offending party or parties, each prominently displaying on the outside of the envelope such pronouncements as "The Results of Your AIDS Test" or "Your Membership to NAMBLA Has Been APPROVED!" If possible, mail these weekly. Sooner or later, the offender will quit the firm in humiliation and a new victim,...er, agent...will begin calling, whereupon the cycle begins anew.

23. Send mass invitations to the agents of the offending firm. Invite them to "an event to remember." I am sure that you and a few equally harassed friends, aided by copious amounts of beer and baloney, can think of several fun and exciting things to do once the 'guests' have arrived. Water balloons filled with any manner of noxious fluids, a skunk that inexplicably escapes into the party, a few biker clubs arrive after having been invited also, etc. There is no end to the fun you could have here. Parties are for enjoying...so, enjoy!

24. A category 5 river rafting trip for all the employees might be cheaper than actually paying off your 'debt' to them. Save the big surprise for last--no oars and no guide.

25. A short 10 second call (to prevent traces) to report a bomb scare (not real, of course) two to three times a week, from different pay phones each time, should be sufficiently disruptive for any collection agency. An electronic voice disguiser is recommended and a wiping of fingerprints from the booth, door, phone and keys and any coins that you might intend to use. Promptly remove yourself from the vicinity of the call afterward. Make sure there is no corner video camera to capture the culprit—that's you, dummy.

26. Call the IRS and ask if Mr. or Mrs. so-and-so of such-and-such company (your offending agent) has reported yet the large amounts of cash they won in Vegas. "There must have been at least $60,000." As a concerned taxpayer, you are pleased for this winner, but you want to make sure that everyone does their fair share. Again, make this call from a remote phone. When asked your name, tell them you "don't want to get involved" and hang up.

27. If you are really brave, have a friend well-versed in computers visit the company with a claim that the computer system was reported to be acting in a strange fashion and that you have come to do a diagnostic. Then your friend will ask the receptionist where the server equipment is and place a trojan into the system that will send out kiddie porn each day. They will soon receive another visit, which won't be near as much fun.

28. Your friend might also insert into the system an equation to solve--of course, this equation would require a Cray Super Computer to actually be solved, so lots and lots of CPU time will be required for their puny little server to accomplish the task. Maybe an endless fractal formula would be nice--and it's pretty, too!

29. Perhaps your computer friend knows how to place a recorded and delayed MP3 call from the offending agency's own VOIP line, that threatens the president with a good whitewashing or the like. This will cause great consternation throughout the company for a few days.

30. And here's one I really like, although not my idea--as a concerned citizen, you will offer to sell them pertinent information on the person they are seeking. Coming to an equitable agreement alone will consume massive amounts of time for the agent. (Perhaps you can trade the info for complete forgiveness of the debt? Make sure you get it in writing from the owner of the company, signed and notarized by his lawyers, so it holds up in court.)

31. Do a mass mailing of fliers, to several news agencies, announcing that Mr. so-and-so of such-and-such company will be running naked down Main Street on (date) and at (time) in order to "protest the law against running naked down the street." Send these already sealed and stamped from a post box in another town. There's nothing like favorable publicity...and this is NOTHING like favorable publicity.

32. Tell them you are willing to cooperate. You will answer a question for every one that they answer. Your first question: "Who was the first president of Czechoslovakia? Answer in Swahili, please." Have several of these ready, along with plausible, but fictitious answers of your own, in case you get a 'freak of nature' that can actually do this for you.

33. Arrange to have a major moving company arrive in the middle of a mid-week business day, ready to help remove all of their equipment for them. Make sure they know that the move will be across a couple of states.

34. Get some official-looking posters printed up that proclaim the building to be condemned by order of the health department, the local sheriff and anyone else that might be officially interested in shutting them down for a spell.

35. Arrange for a fumigator to arrive at the most opportune time to get rid of bugs, mice and lots of other things that might be as obnoxious (bill collectors?)

36. Invite every multi-level marketing distributor you can find to contact you ("the agent") at (the agent's place of business). Keep this up for as long as you can.

37. Have a talented friend start a VERY "creative" website for the Collector and publicize it highly by submitting to any and all search engines.

38. Enter the names of any and all collection agents into the rosters of the American Nazi Party, the American Communist Party and any other subversive group you can get membership info on.

39. Follow this up by calling the FBI and voicing your concern over the agents trying to recruit you to their organization(s) by phone.

40. Ask the local police what it smells like when someone is cooking "crack". Volunteer the location where you smelled it.

41. Report a man with a gun at the office of the collector.

42. Call them every ten minutes for a full day, asking for contributions to help people who can't pay their bills due to the nation's financial conditions.

43. New tactics may be required. "I'm sorry, we've only had this number for a week or so. I don't know anyone by that name. Good luck."

44. Answer with an alternate method when you know the caller ID is one you don't want to talk to. "Good day, Miller's Funeral Home."

45. Call their office with an important national survey: "Which Star Trek character do you think is going to prove most important in our nation's history by the twenty-third century?" Insist that you must have an answer or you won't win that trip to Alpha Centauri.

46. Call and identify yourself as an agent with the FBI and insist that they cease and desist the threatening calls to the White House or face serious charges and be shut down permanently. This should keep them busy for awhile trying to find out who the culprit is.

47. Inquire as to why you are getting sexually explicit messages from their office, left on your answering machine. Explain that you will send copies to the authorities if they don't cease all contact immediately.

48. Inform the owner of the firm that he has won the annual 'Pig-in-a-poke Look-alike Contest" and that he needs to make arrangements to receive the prize pig as soon as possible.

49. Arrange to have two tons of steer manure fertilizer dropped off at the office of the collector, as a gift from a 'satisfied customer'.

50. Announce in the papers that their office will be the next location for the "International Nudist Revue" and all potential contestants are welcome to participate in the festivities, which will include free food and a truckload of whipped cream. Cash prizes will be given for those bringing the most nude-conscious friends.

51. Place on your answering machine a detailed description of the definition of 'Harass'. Let your machine screen all your calls for you.

52. Record the "Barney Theme Song" on your answering machine, followed by Lamb Chop's "The Song That Never Ends". Add to this any other song you might find intimidating to a collector. Use all available time allotted for your outgoing message before you allow them to leave a response. Perhaps the Beatle's "Taxman" would be appropriate, too.

--Steven G. O'Dell
(Feel free to share, in full)
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Top Opinion

  • Nightmusic 2012/02/05 01:29:43
    This helps!
    Nightmusic
    +5
    Try to remember that the person on the other line is just someone doing a job, a job they probably hate so they can pay their bills. You are not speaking to a company. You're speaking to a person. Try to be nice. You don't have to listen to the whole schpiel, but you don't have to insult them either. Most of the time, if they could find a better job, they would. I speak from experience.

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  • hellokitty 2012/02/12 09:12:12
    This helps!
    hellokitty
    +1
    omg ive been letting the answering machine moniter my calls lately and in one day I had nearly 8 telemarketing calls, what a nusiance but thanks to the best ideas ever I can now pick the phone up and annoy them back!
  • Peewee ~PWCM~JLA 2012/02/08 03:15:29
    All of the above
    Peewee ~PWCM~JLA
    +1
    Thanks for the comic relief!! My fav. is #29
  • La 2012/02/08 02:16:40
    This stinks
    La
    Tl;dr
  • steven La 2012/12/18 08:49:30
    steven
    Translation?
  • La steven 2012/12/25 11:48:25
    La
    Too long; didn't read.
  • steven La 2013/01/25 04:47:10
    steven
    It happens. If you didn't read ANY of it though, I have to wonder why you bothered to comment.
  • Boo 2012/02/07 21:23:38
    This helps!
    Boo
    +2
    I have actually seen some of these tactics used successfully. I love it! Keep up the good work Steven. :-)
  • Think Free 2012/02/06 09:45:56
    Ummmm, that was....interesting....?
    Think Free
    +2
    I just cut them off in with "Was? Ich spreche nicht englisch. Jetzt kann ich ihnen helfen?"
    They fumble and say sorry, and hang up. Works like a charm everytime!
  • steven Think Free 2012/12/18 09:34:50
    steven
    And when you get someone who speaks German, you switch to English and explain that you don't speak German and hang up.
  • Tennessee3501 2012/02/05 19:37:25
    All of the above
    Tennessee3501
    +3
    You can put yourself on a "Do Not Call List for Telemarketers." You can take care of creditors buy checking you caller ID and not answering the phone!
  • steven Tenness... 2012/02/06 08:06:03
    steven
    +2
    Thanks for the info, but you do know this was a joke, right?
  • Tenness... steven 2012/02/06 22:43:53
    Tennessee3501
    +1
    I do now! Thank you! Good post!
  • dogs voice 2012/02/05 16:31:09
    This helps!
    dogs voice
    +1
    And Steve, let me add one more to your listing. For those who have young children and depending upon the season, hand them the phone and tell them it is Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Barney, Big Bird and any other fictional character your kids love. They can keep the phone busy for hours. BTW, #20 - The Whistle - doesn't exactly work. My dad tried it one time when I called home. He thought I was a telemarketer and blew for the better part of a minute. I held the phone to my ear the whole time w/o any issues or pain. I really like the kid thing though. Too bad I have none. More often than not, I just listen to the line and make no sounds. When I hear the click of their hang up, then I do the same. Hey, I pay for the line, not them. I can talk or not talk to whomever I want that calls.
  • steven dogs voice 2012/02/06 08:11:24
    steven
    +1
    Great idea. I bever thought of putting my kids on when I got calles at 3 AM. Don't think anyone would have been happy about that. The whistle does work with the landlines normally. Unless phones have changed that much recently.
  • steven dogs voice 2012/12/18 09:37:22
    steven
    I have asked whether they want the Steven with all capital letters or the one with mixed case letters. They are usually confused, so I ask again and tell them I am the authorized representative for the all-caps STEVEN. They usually hang up soon after if I suggest they speak with their company lawyer about the distinction. In some cases they don't even call back.
  • NumptyNuts 2012/02/05 11:39:04
    This helps!
    NumptyNuts
    +1
    HaHaHa Steven. Brilliant. The husband is your new best friend. He does that "hold on a second" and goes away for good. He particularly hates calls from India because he can't understand what they are saying ... big difference in accents. Thanks Mate. I will copy this to my Blog? Mandy (Numptynuts)
  • steven NumptyNuts 2012/02/06 08:10:57
    steven
    +1
    Feel free. Give credit, if you will. I'm glad you saw the humor ini it. Seems many readers didn't.
  • sglmom 2012/02/05 07:27:29
    This helps!
    sglmom
    +1
    Good ones for sure .. Have to remember a couple of the more clever ones you listed here ..
  • Dickens 2012/02/05 05:23:41
    This helps!
    Dickens
    +2
    ..cool!..I've always liked those little canister-type air horns that fans use at the baseball stadiums ...
  • steven Dickens 2012/02/05 07:16:25
    steven
    +2
    I once got a prank call and after they hung up I called back with *69 and used a body alarm of about 98dB to send them a message. Then they called back and apologized. Maybe they thought the call was traced? Haha.
  • ☆GrayBeard☆ ~PWCM~JLA~ 2012/02/05 05:16:05
    This helps!
    ☆GrayBeard☆ ~PWCM~JLA~
    +3
    I speak fluent Russian...... It's a telemarketer....... "Алло? Кого вы хотите поговорить с? Я не понимаю ..... Привет?"
  • steven ☆GrayBe... 2012/02/05 07:17:22
    steven
    +2
    There you go! Haha.
  • jubil8 BN-0 PON 2012/02/05 03:57:23
    This helps!
    jubil8 BN-0 PON
    +2
    Haha, love some of these.

    My favorite was Dave Barry's column many years ago when he published the home phone # of the President of the Telemarketing Association. That worked. :)
  • steven jubil8 ... 2012/02/05 04:06:00
    steven
    +2
    Dave Barry is a riot! Have you ever read the one he did on colonoscopy? I was laughing so hard and wiping tears that it took me literally 20 minutes to finish reading it. Anyone would have thought me crazy for sitting in a room alone laughing like a madman. I've never had a colonoscopy, but he sure made it sound funny.
  • jubil8 ... steven 2012/02/06 01:24:39
    jubil8 BN-0 PON
    +1
    I don't remember it, but I'm going to go see if I can find it. I was so sorry when he stopped writing his weekly column; I looked forward to it so much (it was one of the main reasons I was still getting a Sunday paper, which was mostly full of ads).
  • Someone Else 2012/02/05 03:36:06
    All of the above
    Someone Else
    +3
    I only answer the phone with caller ID if I don't recognize the number I don't answer
  • johnc 2012/02/05 03:00:48
    All of the above
    johnc
    +3
    Most end quick for me, I just say I am also recording this message. =dial tone. but if they stay on, I get into, how do you know me? and argue about how he knows me, is this a ransom call? and so forth. Usually with a New Jersey accent. roto calls, I just hang up on.
  • steven johnc 2012/02/05 03:25:54
    steven
    +2
    Good way to handle it. Very creative and effective.

    "You want I should send over one of da boyz to talk to you?"
  • johnc steven 2012/02/05 04:56:08
    johnc
    +2
    if they stay on the line, I tell them I want to know the name of the cop that told you where I was, this witness protection system sucks.
  • steven johnc 2012/02/05 05:10:00
    steven
    +2
    ROFL! That's good.
  • steven 2012/02/05 02:51:36
    All of the above
    steven
    +1
    I tried to have fun with it. One guy who had asked for info was so pissed by those who had called from other companies that he got angry, yelled at me and hung up. I called back and asked why he would ask for information and then not listen to it before deciding it was useless. He calmed down and actually bought the package, but the rules were that I had to hand it over to a 'salesman', so I only got paid by the hour and no commission sharing. Fooey!

    I had one idiot put on a cartoon voice when I asked for the woman who had requested info from us. He acted goofy and then hung up. I called back and said I was sorry she wasn't there and "we will be giving the cash prize to someone else, but thanks for playing." Then I hung up on HIM. I nudged the guy next to me and said 'wait for it'. Sure enough, she was on the phone in seconds and I had to tell her it was a one-time only opportunity and that I was sorry about that. I wished I could have been a fly on the wall in that home for the next several minutes. I bet she reamed him a new one for that. By the way, I made it all up to get some small degree of revenge, I admit, but it was effective, although perhaps a bit mean at the time.
  • V~POTL~PWCM~JLA 2012/02/05 02:51:08
    This helps!
    V~POTL~PWCM~JLA
    +2
    When caller ID shows a suspicious number, answer the phone by the second ring, and say "Hello". There will be a pause while they route the call to a telemarketer...

    "Is this John Smith?"

    "Not exactly. It seems the Mr. Smith passed away. I am a real estate agent who has been hired to sell the house. Are you in the real estate market for a new home? Let me tell you about this one! It has 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, a 3-car garage, 2 fireplaces, a finished basement, a gourmet kitchen, a swimming pool, and a hot tub. By the way, do you like pork? In the back yard is a pig pen with 157 live pigs! The smell is not the greatest, but you will always have plenty of fresh meat! So, what's it gonna take to get you to buy this house?"

    click

    OR, you could learn from the world-renowned telemarketing expert: Tom Mabe

  • steven V~POTL~... 2012/02/05 02:56:38
    steven
    +2
    Lol. I love it! Funny stuff.
  • Stan Kapusta 2012/02/05 02:41:18
    This helps!
    Stan Kapusta
    +2
    If it's say wait a moment, then put the phone down. If it's a cell hang up. If it's a female put your hand over the mouthpiece, then move it away and say the word B*owjob. They hang up.
  • steven Stan Ka... 2012/02/05 02:47:27
    steven
    +1
    Well, that would do it for me, too, actually.
  • Judge Peter Hill 2012/02/05 02:29:09
    All of the above
    Judge Peter Hill
    +2
    I recorded a message "You have called a number that does not accept sales solicitation calls. If you are a salesperson please hang up NOW. Otherwise leave a message and I will return your call as soon as I can." 98% of the time, they would hang up before the message had even finshed. Try this, it works like a charm!
  • les_gvt 2012/02/05 02:28:04
    This helps!
    les_gvt
    +2
    I always tell them they have a sexy voice, ask if they are married, and if their spouses get into 3 ways.

    Hey I drive a truck cross country, I will be in their city soon
  • steven les_gvt 2012/02/05 02:36:02
    steven
    +1
    I like that. Good one.
  • Kingpin 2012/02/05 02:15:40
    This helps!
    Kingpin
    +2
    I tell them "hold on" i set the phone down and walk away.
  • keeper 2012/02/05 01:58:24
    This helps!
    keeper
    +1
    I use clicking the # sign over and over... ;o)

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