Dodging telemarketers

When I moved, I rang up the phone company to get my new number, which like the old one, is silent, to dodge telemarketers. I also asked if it was a fresh, unused number, and the operator said it hadn’t been used in five years. Excellent.

And to avoid telemarketing calls, I’ve started quoting a 7010-xxxx number if any company demands my home phone number when I think they have no good reason for having it. ‘Cos it’s not like banks, airlines, charities or newspaper/magazine subscription people ever ring you up to tell you something important. No, it’s always marketing. When it’s something important they write you a letter instead.

Why 7010-xxxx? In the 03 region, 7010-xxxx is allocated for use in works of fiction. So it should get past any pesky data validation that these companies have. And they can ring the fictional Daniel.

The only people I want ringing me at home are those friends and family members I’ve given my number to.

That’s the theory. But alas, a few days after moving: *ring ring* The display said it was from an Out Of Area number.

I picked it up. Silence for a few seconds. I should have known to hang up.

“Is Mr Van Ferdinand there?”, a subcontinental voice asked.

Sigh. “No, you have a wrong number”, I replied, not giving anything about my name away.

She apologised for having out of date data (very out of date if this number was last used five years ago), then said she’d talk to me instead, and without taking a breath started to tell me about how wonderful Optus is.

At the first opportunity I got to get a word in edgeways, I said rapidly “I’m not interested, thank you, goodbye” and hung up.

It would seem I haven’t quite avoided them.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

18 replies on “Dodging telemarketers”

why do telemarketers always ring at the worst time (eg about to put reluctant kids under the shower or while stirring a saucepan)? Very annoying!

We keep getting Optus calling (from India) on Saturdays. Between the utter politness of the people – i.e. they enjoy talking to me so much that i have to hang up on them because i cant get a word in and the utter effectiveness of their marketing I have resolved to not use Optus ever!

Great work telemarketing!

I have had a private number for a while now, but it’s a combination of numbers that’s also easy to confuse with another number because it’s a repeating pattern. Great for us to remember, but easy to confuse and guess for telemarketing groups.

We’ve had one company call us several times and we’ve told them several times to take us off their phone list (which they politely say they will do immediately).

The last time they called, we told them that if they call again we will report them.

Thank god there’s new laws coming in to legislate against these pests. It’s not the people themselves that call, but the usual big corporate swines that hide behind their polite frontline staff to pester you in the most irritating ways possible to get your business.

I say boycott any company that resorts to telemarketing to get your business. When companies realise this tactic will only damage their reputation and lose them customers will we ever see this matter resolved once and for all.

aust direct marketers associateion have a ‘do not call’ list that their members use.

its free, and it works.

you still get the odd telemarketer call, but it cuts the number right down.

if its a ‘survey’ company (usually telemarketing using surveys as a stalking horse) i tell them i charge 75$ an hour and to send me a cheque and i will talk to them. they never do.

I was lucky enough to get a never-before-used unlisted number when I last moved (about 8 years ago) and I’ve only had one telemarketer ring in that time. I told (not asked) them to take me off their list and I’ve had nothing since. But, apparently, what they do now is use a computer program to generate all possible numbers and ring that list. So it doesn’t matter if your number is unlisted or not. Then, when you answer, they ask you to hold on until an operator is free to flog you something. What a cheek!!

I have a friend who always asks them to hold on for a minute as she has something important to do, then she puts the receiver down and checks back in half an hour or so.

The ADMA only has about 300 members and can’t control the OS telemarketers, unfortunately. I registered some months ago and if anything, the number of calls I get has increased, though that might just be coinkidink.

I’m on the ADMA DNC list as well but unfortunately, what the larger telemarketers do is use the prefix number of the exchange (first few digits of your phone number) and then just use their automated dialling systems to dial every combo e.g. 97740000, 97740001, 97740002 etc.

There is no escape!!!! We now refuse to answer any calls from private numbers and our private number friends know to leave a message and we call them back.

I had a call from a telemarketer recently trying to sell me a mobile phone package for the O2 network.

He told me that I’d be getting a free Nokia something-or-other and 600 minutes, plus however many free texts.

I asked him “Is this a sales call?”

He said “No”

I asked him “So you’re going to be giving me this phone, line rental, and all these extra bits for free?”

He said “No, the charge is ”

I said “Well, then this is a sales call, isn’t it.”

He said “Yes.”

I said “Goodbye” and hung up. Good grief.

Telemarketers just continue to ring us, we have that ever so nifty invention known as Caller ID, our friends and family if they have a private number know to leave a message on our answering machine. But when a Private Call or an Out of Area call comes through and they get our answering machine, they just keep trying. I would roughly say we get Private and Out of Area Calls about 6 times a day, and that includes weekends! I personally am sick of them. There is only one good bit that i like about them calling me. When the answering machine gets it, it costs them money.

You can usually tell if it is a telemarketer on the other end by the “dead air” before the caller gets connected. It’s a side effect of the automated dialers telemarketers use. If you hear that emptiness, just hang up. (It it was someone important, they will ring back)

I have a “silent” number, and in fact this is the third number that Telstra have given me since I moved to where I am now. The first one got bombarded by telemarketers, so I changed it; the second one turned out to be someone’s old fax number so everytime the phone rang I kept getting fax rings and this one that I have now has turned out to be an old number for someone who obviously hasn’t told many people that they have moved so I still get calls for them from companies and friends of theirs. All very annoying! :(

The Aussie equivalent of 555-1234

You’ve probably watched an American TV show or two and heard phone numbers prefixed with “555” – this is the standard American prefix for numbers that are supposed to be fictional. Turns out that there’s an Australian equivalent. I stumbled…

I like letting them start their speil and then NOT hanging up – but just putting the phone down. Works really well for those people who just talk and talk and talk without drawing breath. The only down side is having to remember to hang up again later…

And we also have family with silent numbers, who then show up as private. Of course She Who Must Be Obeyed won’t allow me to ignore them because it may be her sister. And besides, how annoying is it to listen to the phone just ringing and ringing and ringing…

Daniel – are you crazy giving out a fictional phone number? Who knows what strange fictional characters will start ringing you up? Are you really prepared to deal with all those phone calls from wicked witches trying to entice you into their gingerbread houses?

Most companies who the telemarketers call about have a toll-free number. Call that number and ask to be put on their do-not-call list, the call-centre drones never seem to be able to do that, despite being asked.

And.. if you’re like me, harvesting all the email adresses from their web page and entering them into a few carefully chosen email spammer’s “remove-me” (yea sure…) URLs, and also posting it to a Newsgroup helps too. Don’t get mad, get even! :-)

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