How to ask telemarketers to stop calling

How to ask telemarketers to stop calling

It often seems that the best way to attract telemarketing calls is to prepare dinner or step into a shower, but many of us wonder how to avoid receiving telemarketing calls in the first place. There are actually a few techniques and products available which should significantly reduce or even completely eliminate the number of telemarketing calls a consumer receives on a regular basis. Because certain charitable and non-profit organizations are allowed to solicit funds over the phone, however, you may still receive a few unsolicited calls from time to time.

One way to avoid getting telemarketing calls is to completely change your phone number and pay the fee for a non-published listing. Many people consider this to be a rather drastic course of action, since other legitimate callers may not be aware of the change and a number of personal documents will have to be updated.

The advantage of having a new, unlisted phone number is that you won’t be included in a list of potential customers called the phone book. Many telemarketing calls are generated by professional telemarketing companies moving methodically through numerous phone books. This also includes removing your name from Internet-based phone directories, some of which obtain private phone numbers through other public sources besides the phone company.

If you don’t want to change your current phone number, you might be able to avoid telemarketing calls by guarding your personal information at all times. If providing your phone number on a subscription form or mail order coupon is optional, leave it off. Never fill out entry forms for contests offering free prizes unless you know how the contest will be administered. Many times those entry forms are sold to telemarketing firms in order to generate future leads. Treat your phone number like you would your social security number or your home address. Know exactly who you are dealing with and don’t volunteer your phone number to surveyors or pollsters.

There are some devices designed to reduce or eliminate the frequency of telemarketing calls made to your number. A device known as a Telezapper® attaches to the main phone line and sends out an electronic tone to the incoming telemarketing call. Many telemarketing companies use a number-generating computer to initiate telemarketing calls. Once the dialing process is complete, a human telemarketer takes over to make the sales pitch. The Telezapper® sends out a tone which tells the computer your number has been disconnected. This not only terminates the call, but also puts your number on a list of other disconnected or non-existent phone numbers.

Many consumer advocacy groups recommend contacting a national “do not call” list in order to protect yourself against unsolicited telemarketing calls. This usually involves visiting a government-sponsored website or calling a toll-free number. Once your phone number has been registered with a national “do not call” listing service, you should not receive telemarketing calls for five years after activation. If you do receive unsolicited telemarketing calls, you can report the caller and they could face fines for every protected phone number they call. You may also be able to ask individual telemarketers to place you on a “preferred calling” list, which may sound counter-intuitive at first, but unless you ask specifically to be put on that list, you could continue to receive telemarketing calls from that company.

Telemarketers have become increasingly aware of the penalties for violating “do not call” listings, so many of them take the information provided to them by the government very seriously. The instant the five year limitation runs out, however, they can legally begin making telemarketing calls again. You need to remain diligent and use a multi-prong attack to keep these unsolicited calls from interrupting your dinner or afternoon nap ever again.

A regular contributor, Michael enjoys doing research in order to satisfy his wide-ranging curiosity about a variety of arcane topics. Before becoming a professional writer, Michael worked as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

A regular contributor, Michael enjoys doing research in order to satisfy his wide-ranging curiosity about a variety of arcane topics. Before becoming a professional writer, Michael worked as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

Being a telemarketer is an exercise in resilience—constantly making unwanted phone calls to people who typically hang up on you. I should know: I worked as one for two years. Most people don’t know how to get rid of us, but the right approach can make all the difference. Here’s how you can get rid of telemarketers like me and save us both a lot of time.

How telemarketers get to you

Not all companies run exactly the same way, but most calls follow a similar pattern. Successful telemarketers generally have a 96 percent chance of getting turned down. With such terrible odds, they will be relentless in trying to keep you on the phone.

Each telemarketer has their own username and password, so all the information they gather during their shift stays linked to them. Depending on the company calling you, the lead will display a little or a lot of information. I work for an arts organization, so we can see the customer’s entire history: subscriptions, added ticket purchases for friends, donations and sometimes even notes on who their assistants or friends are. In other cases, they may just have your phone number.

Avoid Telemarketers by Understanding Their Secrets

Sure, you can put yourself on the Do Not Call list but that doesn't stop telemarketers from being…

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Anything relevant you mention will be added to your lead profile: an email address, best time to call, or your objections to the product. Don’t say anything to the telemarketer unless you want it written down on your profile.

If the caller doesn’t reach you, they mark your lead as “no answer” and the system programs it so you get called again a few days later. If the company does not have a large lead pool, you may get called as soon as 12 hours later. If you’re dealing with this kind of aggressive campaign, it’s actually better to answer then to let them keep calling you. (More on how to handle that later.)

If the caller does speak to you, they will do their best to sell to you on the first call. A good telemarketer uses the “Three Nos” rule: don’t let the customer go until they have said “no” three times during the phone call. This technique has actually worked for me several times. After the first two no, the client often runs out of reasons and becomes more persuadable. Telemarketers try to keep you on the phone as long as possible because they can eventually wear you down and get money out of you.

If you don’t purchase on that initial phone call , the telemarketer will log everything you’ve said and suggest calling you back another time. These are logged as “call backs”—tiny gold nuggets for telemarketers. Selling to a call back is more likely than selling to a first call because you’ve already established a rapport. This process may take weeks, and sometimes results in a sale simply because the patron wants to stop the calls.

How Can I Block a Number from Calling My Cellphone?

Whether it’s your annoying ex, a persistent telemarketer or someone else you’d rather not hear…

How you’re making it worse

A lot of people make simple mistakes that lead to several more calls. Here are the things you need to avoid:

  • Don’t immediately hang up the phone. This results in the telemarketer marking your lead as “no answer” and calling you back until they actually have a conversation with you.
  • Don’t engage with the telemarketer in any way. This gives them the false hope that you may just need some convincing and are actually interested in their product. Do not ask questions. Do not explain why you are not interested in the product. Do not show empathy or other human characteristics.
  • Don’t get irrationally angry at the telemarketer. Remember, the computer chose your lead, not the caller. If you scream at them because you’ve gotten called before, this will not make them sympathetic to your case. It’s likely they’ll just put you back into the lead pool to torture you. If the telemarketer is being rude, you can ask to speak to a manager. Despite what they might say, every campaign and business has a supervisor in the call room.
  • Don’t give up mid-conversation and hang up without an explanation. This will most likely result in the telemarketer calling back, claiming you got “disconnected.” If you don’t answer then, they will keep calling.
  • Don’t let the telemarketer call you back at another time. Anything that’s not a hard “no” will be interpreted as an opportunity to call you back. When you say “This isn’t a good time,” the telemarketer hears “Call me back later!” When you say “Sorry, I don’t have time to talk about this right now” the telemarketer hears “I will buy this another day!”

Telemarketers literally have a script that tells them how to respond to every objection, so the less you engage with them, the better.

Banish telemarketers from your phone

The National Do Not Call Registry allows you to register your phone number as a do not call number…

How to make the calls stop

The most efficient way to get the person to stop calling you requires you to say one sentence: “Please put me on your do-not-call list .” Don’t say “Can you put me on your do-not-call list?” or “I don’t want to get these calls.” This will lead them to ask why. Be polite, but firm. If they ask why or won’t do it right away, remain calm and repeat, “I want you to put me on your do-not-call list.”

You should register on the national do-not-call list if you haven’t already. It’s illegal for a company to keep calling you if you’re on this list and you have verbally asked them not to call you at least once. Unfortunately, it is not illegal for non-profits. But most non-profits run seasonal campaigns, so at least your lead will be put to rest for three to 11 months.

Even when dealing with a non-profit, you should ask for a manager and tell them you’ve repeatedly requested to be placed on the do not call list. Keep in mind that a prior caller may not have done their job and removed you, and this new, innocent caller is getting all the blame. The manager needs to to deal with these kind of customer issues so the callers can keep dialing.

The solution for getting rid of telemarketers may seem obvious, but it’s mostly about the approach. By using those exact words and not making any of the mistakes previously mentioned, you don’t give the caller anything to work with. The way you phrase your response can mean the difference between getting called all the time and getting rid of telemarketers efficiently. Make the right choices and you won’t be bothered.

This story was originally published in 2014 and was updated on 11/19/19 to provide more thorough and current information.

Erica Elson is a freelance writer who has worked at a variety of strange jobs to support herself. Her first book, The Awkward Human Survival Guide , is available on Amazon.

You can curtail or eliminate annoying calls from telemarketers. All it takes is a little effort and the following information.

Contact your phone company about caller ID services. With caller ID, you’ll be able to see who is calling before you answer, then block your number from callers who won’t allow you to identify them.

Resist trying to reason with a telemarketer. Telemarketing companies have scripted responses for almost anything you say.

Prepare for those unwanted calls before they happen. Write the phrase, ‘Put my number on your don’t-call list’ on a memo by your phone.

Stay on the line when a telemarketer calls. You actually have to speak to telemarketers in order to get them to stop calling you.

Announce your prepared phrase, ‘Put my number on your don’t-call list,’ to the telemarketer. Per FCC requirements, once you’ve said this sentence, the telemarketer is prohibited from calling you again for 10 years. (Make sure you say that exact sentence. Just saying ‘Take me off your list’ or ‘Stop calling me’ does not legally force the telemarketer to stop calling you.)

Write a letter to Telephone Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association at P.O. Box 9014, Farmingdale, NY 11735-9014. Provide your name, address and home telephone number and say that you do not want calls from any telemarketers. Be sure to sign the letter and keep a copy.

  • Get the name of the caller and the company’s name and address, and ask the caller for a copy of the company’s don’t-call list. If the telemarketer doesn’t know what that is or cannot supply you with one, take action by filing a formal complaint with the government agency. Contact Know Fraud at (877) 987-3728;
  • Realize that making these annoying calls is the telemarketers’ job. They are not trying to personally assault you over the phone.
  • Get the name of the caller and the company’s name and address, and ask the caller for a copy of the company’s don’t-call list. If the telemarketer doesn’t know what that is or cannot supply you with one, take action by filing a formal complaint with the government agency. Contact Know Fraud at (877) 987-3728;
  • Realize that making these annoying calls is the telemarketers’ job. They are not trying to personally assault you over the phone.

This article was written by Legal Beagle staff. If you have any questions, please reach out to us on our contact us page.

How to ask telemarketers to stop calling

If your phone is ringing off the hook from telemarketers, you’re not alone. The Federal Trade Commission receives as many as 200,000 complaints per month from consumers who are tired of receiving “robocalls” from businesses. There are steps you can take to give telemarketers the boot. Here’s how to keep overeager businesses off of your phone line.

Know the Rules

Even if you’ve signed up for the National Do Not Call Registry, there are still exemptions that allow certain organizations to call you anyway. According to the Federal Communication Commission, the national registry:

  • only covers personal and home phone lines—business lines don’t count
  • doesn’t include marketing calls from nonprofit organizations, including political campaigns.
  • allows companies you’ve done or inquired about doing business with to contact you for up to three months after your last inquiry or 18 months after your last transaction. This is called the EBR exemption.

“A lot of consumers don’t realize when they are applying for a loan or they’re putting their information on a website or entering a sweepstakes [that], if they don’t read carefully what they’re signing, they may have given written permission for certain companies to call them,” says Eric Allen, an attorney with Allen Legal Services in Salt Lake City who specializes in telemarketing compliance and litigation. “That consent is indefinite until they opt out or make a do not call request directly with the company.”

Two more important telemarketing rules: The federal government prohibits marketing calls to be made before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. and requires marketers to identify the organization they’re calling from and state, whether it’s a sales or fundraising call.

Taking Action

Step 1: Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry at

Step 2: Ask any companies that are calling to stop. If a company is continually calling you, simply ask to be placed on their internal do not call list, says Donna Reed, a Do Not Call Specialist with Oklahoma Attorney General’s Public Protection Unit.

A handful of states also maintain their own state registries which can be helpful to those who need swift action against aggressive local marketing companies.

Step 3: Reed advises consumers to carefully screen calls. “If they will watch their caller ID and only answer if it’s a number they recognize as someone they know, then eventually these calls will drop drastically,” she says. “The more [you] answer, the more calls [you’re] going to receive.”

If you still receive calls 30 days after making that request, file a complaint with your local attorney general’s office or consumer protection bureau, as well as with the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Better Business Bureau.

Beware of Telemarketing Scams

A bigger problem than telemarketers is con artists who trick consumers into giving money over the phone, says Reed.

A popular scenario is “the grandparent scam”: Scammers target senior citizens and pretend to be officials from another country who have the target’s grandchild in custody. Another scammer gets on the phone, pretending to be the grandchild, and begs for money for bail or a plane ticket home. Grandparents are then requested to purchase a prepaid debit card and verbally give the numbers over the phone.

“As soon as [consumers] have sent them those numbers they realize that it’s a scam,” Reed says, “but there’s no way to get that money back.”

Another common scamming tactic: informing consumers that they’ve won a large sum of money, then requesting a “fee” in order to access it.

How to Fight Back

If you have been the victim of a scam, Allen recommends filing a fraud complaint with the FTC and notifying your bank and state attorney general’s office of the problem. Be sure to document what happened.

“[Consumers] should keep a log of when they were called or contacted, the name the person gave, not just the name of the individual phone agent, but the name they gave out as the business they’re calling on behalf,” Allen says. “They should document the times of the calls. They should save their phone records to prove the call took place. They should save any e-mails or things they receive in the mail also.”

Avoid Future Problems

The fastest way to end telemarketing woes is to prevent them before they start. Before signing up for an online service or entering a contest, do your homework, advises Allen.

“Really look at the website. Look at disclosures and disclaimers. Read the fine print. Read the website’s terms of service or privacy policy. Find out what you are really agreeing to,” he says.

You can also avoid scams by thinking twice about phone offers that sound too good to be true, staying wary of organizations that request sensitive information like your birth date or Social Security number and questioning how and why a strange caller who does have private info on you received that intel.

“If someone calls you up on the phone and already has [sensitive] information, you should be very concerned and you should ask questions about where they got that,” Allen says. “. Treat it as a red flag.”

They invade your privacy and peace, and in worst case scenarios, have you falling for scams that can have you losing as much as your life savings. Here’s how they have been acquiring your contact information, and the best ways to stop telemarketers from calling your cell phone.

Almost anyone with a mobile number today is no stranger to the impressive persistence of spam callers and telemarketers. They invade your privacy and peace, and in worst case scenarios, have you falling for scams that can have you losing as much as your life savings. Here’s how they have been acquiring your contact information, and the best ways to stop telemarketers from calling your cell phone.

So, how is your phone number ending up in the hands of these telemarketers?

1. Accepting the Terms and Conditions without reading them

Many apps, even seemingly innocent ones like your gaming apps, have been built mainly to acquire and sell their downloaders information. When setting up these apps, you might already be familiar with the usual call to actions that ask of you to agree to “Terms and Conditions”. Like everyone else, you might tend to click “Agree”without actually reading them. These apps also usually seek access to your location and your contacts under their “Terms and Conditions”. The owners of the apps can therefore easily unlock a trove of data found in everyone’s and anyone’s smartphones.

Be careful when you install any new apps on your device and always read the terms and conditions before you unknowingly agree to sell off your personal information. Question the actions the apps prompt you to do, like for example, allowing access to your contacts for a utilities or gaming app.

2. Signups, Sweepstakes and Social Media

Usually, anytime you provide your personal information to participate in contests, warranty registrations, or even in online services, that information can be in the hands of almost anyone who’s willing to pay for it. The problem with ‘big data’ is that there are dedicated companies out there now who build technologies to scour the web and collect large amounts of information to sell them for a profit.

Be wary when you sign up for anything online, and be sure to read the fine print. Opt out of allowing the information to be accessed/shared if such an option exists.

3. Third Party applications or Data Aggregation Platforms

You’re sure to be familiar with such apps on your social media, popularly disguising themselves as personality quizzes, multi-player games or even productivity extensions.These apps are sometimes solely built for the purpose of extracting data of people, and now with social media, this process has only gotten so much easier. That personality quiz? You most likely just enabled the app to pull the contacts of your friends and now, you are one of the many who need to stop getting soliciting phone calls.

Many social media services provide the means to opt out and prevent your information from being shared with third parties. This could however, be time-consuming to do.

4. Credit companies

Probably the one institution who knows you best (after the government) and have strategically used it to their advantage are credit companies. These companies store lots of their clients’ data, detailing useful information like consumers’ financial habits, for example. These companies can sell this information to other businesses for a hefty profit.

What are the practical steps to stop telemarketers from calling your cell phone?

Here’s the baseline—it seems that almost anyone who has a mobile number has their information in the hands of telemarketers. Though they may merely be a nuisance now, unwanted calls could escalate to have even more telemarketers bothering you all day, or worse, have you falling for scams that could have you paying a major price.

1. Register your number to a National Do Not Call service

Those who do not wish to receive telemarketing messages via phone calls or texts can apply to their national Do Not Call registry. It is usually a simple online process that can stop telemarketers from calling home or your business. Most telemarketers heed to these national regulations and that should reduce the proportion of the calls you’ve been receiving.

National Do Not Call registries, however, only protect you from registered businesses and their sales calls. They cannot protect you from unregistered or illegal services’ calls or telephone survey calls, for example.

Furthermore, should you have given a business written agreement to be in contact with them (which you might have inadvertently done for their attractive discounts and membership cards), they will still be able to contact you. You need to directly correspond with these companies to unsubscribe from their marketing calls.

2. Download Call Blockers

There are many apps available today to help block those unwanted calls from spammers and telemarketers. Apps like Nomorobo can identify and answer spam callers and robocalls so that they don’t get through. It can even help blacklist these robocallers for everyone once picked up by your cell, reducing the likelihood of bots all around.

However, with easy access to improving technology, these spam calls just get cleverer with time. Scammers are now using spoofing as a technique to fake numbers with the same area code to appear more legitimate. This could mean that these blocking apps may no longer be able to protect your privacy sufficiently.

3. Download a “Second Phone Number” app

Phoner 2nd Phone Number for Me (click here to get it on Google Play) is one of the best fuss-free solutions out there. You can consolidate all non-private relations with the Premium phone numbers provided through the app. With the option to have multiple phone numbers, you can stop telemarketers from calling your business or private lines.

Nip the problem in the bud by using an alternate mobile number for interactions via social media platforms, online transactions, or even for those one-time verification code texts. You can then almost always be assured that you will stop getting phone calls from telemarketers to your private number!

The best part about this app? Not even Appsverse, the developers of the app, has access to your personal information from your carrier-registered number. This way, this alternate number has no chance of getting in the hands of those data-hungry companies.

A perfect solution; what’s more, through such an intuitive and simple process!

You vs Big Data

With an understanding of the business practices in the ‘big data’ world we live in today, you can better equip yourself against having your personal information being traded so easily. The more you keep abreast on developments in data trading and internet security, the better and faster you’d be able to stop telemarketers from calling your cell phone!

Want first-hand insider developments in Internet privacy and security? Check out our blog here.

The National Do Not Call Registry stops many unwanted telemarketing calls to private homes. It allows you to add your home telephone number to a list that shows you do not wish to get marketing calls. Telemarketers are required to check their solicitation lists and remove all registered numbers. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) explains that it is not illegal to call business lines that have been added to the Do Not Call Registry. You may still be able to get them stop if you handle their calls in the right way.

Add the business telephone number to the National Do Not Call Registry through the federal website. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) explains that this is allowed, even though putting it on the registry does not legally stop telemarketing calls. Including it on the registry should still cut down on the number of solicitations received.

Ask telemarketers for the name, address and telephone number of their businesses. Get each caller’s name, too, and keep track of this information. This procedure helps you identify future calls from the same company.

Ask the telemarketer to add your business telephone number to the firm’s internal do-not-call list. Legitimate companies maintain lists of businesses that do not want to be bothered and honor requests to be added.

Remind repeat offenders that you requested removal of your business number from their solicitation lists if they call you again. Explain that you will consider any future calls as harassment and complain to the FCC, attorney general’s office and Better Business Bureau if they continue to contact you.

Mail a letter to persistent businesses listing your phone number and asking them to cease and desist their solicitation calls. Send it certified and get a receipt so you know the offending party received it.

Send telemarketing calls to voicemail or put the callers on indefinite hold if they still bother you after repeated verbal and written requests to stop contacting your business. They may eventually stop if you waste their time instead of engaging in conversation.

Unscrupulous telemarketers sometimes refuse to give out their real contact information, making it difficult to send a do-not-call demand. It is possible to look up their phone numbers in an online database like 800 Notes or Who Calls Me. Businesses and individuals report information about telemarketers on those sites, often including addresses.


The FCC warns that adding a business fax line to the National Do Not Call Registry does not make it illegal for companies to send unwanted fax solicitations to that number. However, they are prohibited under other regulations such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Junk Fax Protection Act.

  • Federal Trade Commission: Q & A, The National Do Not Call Registry
  • Federal Communications Commission: Unwanted Telephone Marketing Calls
  • Federal Communications Commission: Fax Advertising, What You Need to Know

Based in Kissimmee, Fla., Barb Nefer is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience. She is a mental health counselor, finance coach and travel agency owner. Her work has appeared in such magazines as "The Writer" and "Grit" and she authored the book, "So You Want to Be a Counselor."

Chris Hoffman
How to ask telemarketers to stop callingChris Hoffman

Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek. Read more.

How to ask telemarketers to stop calling

Modern robocalls aren’t just telemarketers trying to sell you something. They’re often scammers trying to trick you into parting with your money or identity information. So how do you stop them from coming in?

Get on the Do Not Call List

How to ask telemarketers to stop calling

In the USA, you can register your number on the National Do Not Call Registry. Telemarketers are not supposed to call numbers on the list. Some other countries have their own “Do Not Call” registries, so check to see if your country offers something similar if you don’t live in the USA.

Just head to that government website and register all the phone numbers you use to avoid getting telemarketing calls. If you’re not sure whether you registered your number previously, you can verify whether the phone number is on the list or not.

Telemarketer calls should stop within 31 days of you adding your number to the list. Initially, numbers put on the list were set to expire after five years, forcing people to re-register their numbers. However, this requirement was removed. Your phone number will now never expire from the list.

Unfortunately, the Do Not Call list won’t stop all robocalls. It will stop legitimate telemarketing calls, but telephone scammers—which are generally located outside the USA, anyway—won’t bother following the rules. This also only applies to telemarketing, so political campaigns, charities, and surveys are still free to call you as well.

Ask Legitimate Callers to Stop

Callers with whom you have an “existing business relationship” are free to place robocalls to you, even if you’re on the Do Not Call list. However, if you ask the caller to not call you again, they are supposed to stop calling, or face a potential $40,000 fine.

If you asked the company to stop calling you and they continue, keep a record of the date and time you asked. You can then report the company to the FTC.

This won’t help if you’re dealing with a scammer. But, if a legitimate company is placing robocalls to you, it should follow the rules when you ask it to stop.

Block a Database of Numbers on Your Smartphone

How to ask telemarketers to stop calling

The Do Not Call list is a great first step. Unfortunately, there are many telephone scammers out there who don’t want to follow the rules. And you may not want to receive calls from political campaigns, survey companies, charities, and other organizations that are exempt from the Do Not Call list.

To block those robocalls, you can download a third-party app for your smartphone that blocks a “crowdsourced” list of phone numbers that other people have reported.

There are quite a few apps for this, including Mr. Number, available for both Android and iPhone. When a robocall dials your phone number, you’ll see a warning that the caller is a suspected telemarketer or scammer. The app can also block these calls completely, so you won’t even know these numbers are calling you. If you’re an iPhone user, you’ll need iOS 10 to take advantage of this app.

Block Individual Phone Numbers

Lastly, you keep receiving robocalls from a specific phone number—or a few specific phone numbers—you can block that number right on your smartphone. Both Android and iPhone have built-in ways to block specific phone numbers so you won’t receive phone calls from it ever again. You can do this right from the call history in your dialer app.

Unfortunately, there’s no foolproof solution to block all robocalls. Apps that do the dirty work for you are the best option, but that won’t help if you’re using a landline phone. In 2015, the FTC ruled telephone carriers could offer call-blocking tools to their customers. Telephone companies will hopefully provide better call-screening tools for all customers in the future. For now, though, these solutions should help diminish the problem, if not eliminate it entirely.

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How to ask telemarketers to stop calling Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek.
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And so started each day. Again, and again and again. About 30 times an hour, for 8 hours a day I sold raffle tickets for a charity. Or more precisely, I sold tickets for an organisation that raised money for a charity.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Charities have to raise money. But the next time your dinner or TV watching is interrupted by one of those annoying fund raising calls, just think about the poor bastard whose only job it is, is making those calls. It’s a nasty, soul destroying job staring at a computer screen in a Zen like trance waiting for the automated click and the call to connect. (Yes, we didn’t even dial – I was an appendage to the machine.) But when it’s a choice between your bank taking your home away and you prostituting yourself out – it’s not a hard choice.

That’s the most common response. (Otherwise it was just “No thanks,” or worse.) If you get one of these calls and hang up, well, that’s pretty stupid. Why? Because they will call back. Again, and again and again. They have a massive location based database of numbers scraped from phone books from the last 20 (or more) years. It’s recycled about three to four times a year, and if you don’t answer, then the number just goes back into the pool. Even if you get a fresh new silent number from Telstra, if it was listed 20 years ago – they will have it.

I hear you protest. Tough, it doesn’t apply to charities. Or,

I have a silent number. It’s unlisted.

They don’t care, it wasn’t silent before and now it’s in the database, so you’re going to get called. Once, I had someone who had only got the phone connected that morning – I was their first call as they were moving into their home.

The saddest customer is the old biddy who probably doesn’t have full use of their faculties and still has a credit card. Yes, young man, you sound honest, I’ll hand over $200 for tickets for a prize I could never make use of with money that isn’t really mine. The other type of person who I hated calling was the one who was interrupted doing something (like in the shower) who dashed out to answer the phone. Really? Don’t you people know how to use voice-mail? In fact, why do you have a land-line anyway? Come the next 20 years and there will be fewer and fewer POTS numbers to call.

So, of that $200, 100% went to the charity – literally. When I made a sale by credit card, I put the details straight into a web form for the bank account of the charity. If you wrote a cheque, then it was in the name of the charity. (Quite a few of the younger employees working there had never seen a cheque.) But then the calling organisation would charge back about 40% of the cost of the service. If you think about it, you have to spend money to make money. Even those charities that do all the work themselves: making the call, buying the prizes, etc. still have to spend the same amount of money.

At least the job was honest. We got paid on time, we got our superannuation (eventually) and they looked after employees who managed to keep going for the long run. But it was hard, mentally draining work – and you had to be good to keep your job. And by good, I mean make $30/hour in credit card sales and up to $90 in combined credit card and cheque sales – for every hour you worked, and if you didn’t you’d get the “Please don’t come back.” talk from the supervisor – no matter how long you’d worked there. It basically paid your wage and the overhead of the organisation. If you decided not to turn up for a day unannounced, you lost your job. If you dicked around too much, you lost your job. Seriously. Some days the owner would walk through, see someone using their mobile to surf Facebook or similar and politely say to them “Please don’t come back.” And he could – because we were casual, hourly wage slaves. If you didn’t focus on the job, then you’d be let go. And every Friday about eight or so new bags of fresh blood and bone in human form would turn up, give it a go and maybe come back for more punishment the next day.

So, how do you get them to stop calling you I hear to ask. It’s very simple – when you get a call, repeat after me:

Hello, I appreciate the work you’re doing, and I realise it’s your job but I’d rather not get these calls. Please put me on your Do Not Call list. Also, does your organisation make calls for any other charities? Yes, please put me on those Do Not Call lists as well. Your floor manager has a form you can fill in to remove me from all the databases, and I’m happy to wait on the phone while you do it. Thank you.

Insight Charity Fund Raising Services does fund raising for a few charities, if you want to donate to them (the charity not Insight CFS) I’ve linked to their donate page:

3 Replies to “How do I stop charity fundraising phone calls?”

I was previously employed by the highly immoral Insight CFS. Basically what the company is doing is cold calling elderly senile Australians and intimating/pressuring them to purchase raffle tickets via credit or debt card for a charity such as the PCYC or RSPCA etc, which cost $1000.00 dollars or less. I am embarrassed to admit that I once worked for Insight CFS, and I feel so dirty. So if Insight CFS call you, clearly state that your not interested and hang up.

Hanging up is fine, but if you don’t ask to be removed from their database, they will call again. And again, and again.

So, we’ve been getting calls from SES Fundraising from 02 8277 6528. They usually hang up before we could answer. Chased it down and it was from Called 1300 707 344 and asked to go on their global Do Not Call list. Let’s see how it goes.

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