So how do you deal with them? I was so perturbed by the day I had yesterday that I came home and googled energy company business harassment. Unfortunately there does not appear to be any legal way to prevent them phoning (unless any of you know differently, dear readers? Do share). I can’t take the phone off the hook because I may lose business, so what to do?
Tips to deal with marketing harassment
1. Before you answer the phone know whether you want to be disturbed by a telesales person at all. If you don’t, is there any way you can screen your calls? Do you have an answerphone? Most telemarketers won’t leave a message and while they keep ringing, you can keep screening. Genuine customers will leave a voicemail or phone back.
2. Here’s something I didn’t know. When you answer the phone, if there’s a pause, then it’s an automated call that is dialled by a computer. When you answer it is put through to a telemarketer. Your name appears on their screen so they sound like they know you. (And, what is it with people who don’t know me from Adam calling me by my first name!?) So if you get a phone call with a pause, hang up really quickly. Ta dah!
3. If the caller tells you they’re doing a survey, it’s just a sales call in disguise. The same is true if they start off by telling you that you or your business have been especially selected for some special promotion in your area (I had one of those calls yesterday too! Sheesh).
4. If they tell you you’ve won something, have an inheritance, or offer you a “great” investment opportunity, it’s a scam. Laugh and hang up.
5. Remember never to confirm your name to telemarketers. It’s none of their business. When they ask “Is this such-and-such?” ask them right back, “Who’s calling please?” and if they then tell you, ask them what the call is about before admitting who you are.
6. Once you’ve heard enough, if you think it’s a scam, just hang up. They will only keep talking.
7. If you think this is a genuine call and it’s the first call from this person or organization, tell them politely you are not interested. Then hang up.
8. If they persist – ask for their full name, business name, address, phone number and on whose behalf they are calling. Depending how the telemarketers answer this will give you further clues as to whether or not it’s a scam.9. If they keep calling back you can repeat the previous steps and add” As a courtesy, I have to let you know this call is being recorded.” By all means record it if you wish.
10. You can ask not to be contacted again.
11. This is a really interesting one and well worth a try. Ask the caller if they have any legal stuff they need to read to you in order to comply with your request not to be contacted again.
12. Don’t allow telemarketers to talk over you while you make these requests. You deserve the respect of being listened to. Tell them you insist they give you any legal information that they are obliged to. It was inferred in numerous conversations I had yesterday that this telemarketer was the only one who could deal with my energy needs and that they were The Company to talk to. Given how many times I heard that – it was a falsity. Make sure you are getting the truth. If you are confused, just say so.
13. Politely say “thank you” and hang up.
14. If you do want to listen to what these people have to say that’s fine. If you have any doubts tell them you would like to check them out and call them back. If they are not interested in letting you do that then you don’t want to do business with them anyway. Hang up.15. Avoid saying yes to anything. Telemarketers will latch onto that as a sign of interest. You can say, “I won’t be saying ‘yes’ to any of your questions, so don’t ask. I’ll just be listening.” When they pause waiting for a response just say, “Go on.”
16. If you are interested – don’t sign up there and then. Ask them to post something to you, or email details. If they are genuine they will be happy to do this. However, do be careful of giving out your address and any other details.
17. Don’t agree to a free trial.
18. Tell them you want to think it over.
19. If they get aggressive at all or exert any undue pressure then you know this is a company that you do not want to have any dealings with. Tell them you’re no longer interested. Hang up.
20. At any stage you can tell them you’re not interested, thank them for calling and ask them not to call you again. Say it all in one go – without stopping – otherwise they will just try to argue with you. Hang up.
If, like me, you find it hard to be impolite or hang up, it is really important that we learn to be tough. The telemarketers are and believe me, they are used to being cold shouldered. If for any reason if you feel you are being threatened or harassed to the point of despair by the same caller, over and over, you can report them to the police.
Good luck, and if you have any other tips, please share them with me! I’m desperate :-)