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Ten Ways to Annoy Telemarketers

The easiest way to get rid of a telemarketer is to put yourself on the National Do Not Call List, but why not have a little fun first? If you’re constantly being pestered, here are a few ways to annoy telemarketers right back.

  1. Call them back. Of course you don’t want to talk to them more than you have to. After all, that is the reason you’re annoyed in the first place. But why not annoy them right back? Call them back. Ask about car problems, vacation spots, medical issues relationship advice, anything you can think of with one general rule of thumb: don’t ask about anything having to do with what they’re trying to sell. Eventually they’ll get so annoyed with you that they’ll avoid having to talk to you on the phone at all costs.
  2. Do you speak Russian? It’s pretty typical at this point for annoyed customers to pretend not to speak English. But why not take it a step further? Inform them that English is not your first language and request to speak with someone who is fluent in a slightly more obscure language like Russian or Swahili. See what happens. If they do bother to stay on the line and find another sales rep, it’ll be even more annoying/entertaining if you try and fake it.
  3. How are you? If they bother to ask how you are, how your day’s been, etc., don’t just stop at “Fine.” Go ahead and tell them. In excrutiating detail. Be sure to include every meal you ate and what ingredients you think were in each of them. That includes herbs and spices. But you don’t have to stop there. Take it a step further and be sure to include every single restroom trip. See if they make it through you explanation and actually stay on the line.
  4. How did you find me? Yes, this is another typical reaction that telemarketers are used to. But why settle with “How did you find me?” and “How did you get my number?” At this point they’ll probably say something along the lines of “We choose from a randomly generated list of numbers…” and once they’re done explaining, respond with “They promised I’d be safe. I can’t believe you found me.” See how they respond. They might roll with it or just give up and hang up on you.
  5. I already have it. Once they’ve explained what they’re selling, whether it’s novelty lamps, internet service or timeshares, just respond with “I already have six.”
  6. You have to hear this! Once they start their pitch, just interrupt with “Wait! You have to hear this!” Hold your phone up to a speaker and put on any song, playlist, or album you’d like, whether it’s Mozart of Marilyn Manson. The fun part about this is seeing how long it takes them to hang up.
  7. Go. When you answer the phone and can tell it’s a telemarketer, just interrupt them and say, “You have 30 seconds to convince me. Go.” See if they get flustered or rise to the challenge.
  8. For parents only. If you have small children, just hand the phone to them once you realize it’s a telemarketer and watch the hilarity ensue.
  9. This is a business. Most telemarketers who call after 5 p.m. are not trying to reach any sort of business. Just inform the telemarketer that they’ve reached a bakery, tire shop, nightclub, or any other business that pops into your head. You can say something simple, or get as creative and ridiculous as you want. You’re likely to get a series of profuse, uncomfortable apologies, and you’ll most likely be taken off their list as well. It’s a win-win.
  10. If all else fails…request to be put on their Do Not Call List. And while you’re at it, put yourself on the National Do Not Call List. In the meantime, keep having fun with those ruthless telemarketers.