I hate getting calls from telemarketers. And I think it’s safe to assume I’m not alone in that particular hatred.
Most of the time, these calls are completely unsolicited. It’s not like I’ve put my phone number out there for random companies to find and dial up so that I can buy something I don’t need or donate money I don’t have to a cause I don’t believe in.
Although, maybe these calls are solicited and I just don’t realize it. After all, it’s super easy for anyone to get pretty much any kind of information they want just by using the Google. And it’s not too difficult to scratch the surface and dig a little deeper if you’re willing to pay a small fee.
So how does one deal with the unwanted phone call from telemarketers?
There was a time when I would have no problem answering my phone, no matter who it was that called. Whether I recognized the number or not, if I was in a good place to answer, I would. I was even polite enough to let the person on the other end of the line get through their sales pitch before telling them I was not interested and would like to have my name removed from their call list. Then I’d hang up before they could go into their second, more convincing pitch.
Not that their second pitch would have actually convinced me. I’m just certain that they believed their second pitch was more convincing.
But something has happened in the world of telemarketing. I’ve stopped getting calls from live individuals, for the most part. More often than not, I get a pre-recorded message that lets me know why they’re calling, who they represent, and what I need to do so I can talk to a live customer service representative who is excited to help me today!
I’ve made the mistake of answering my phone twice in the last month to answer calls from unknown numbers. One was definitely unsolicited, but it came from a real person, so I listened to the speech. The other was… well… it was my fault the guy called.
That unsolicited call came from what looked like a local number (a trick I’ve learned they like to use to get you to pick up). Since I’m still new to my job and could be getting phone calls from parents or teachers of students I work with, I felt it important to answer. Turns out it was someone looking for a donation. I politely explained that I really didn’t have money to give right now, even though he made it sound like it was going to help police in some special capacity. He got me to agree to pledge $15 because, honestly, of course I can afford $15.
For the record, when they sent me the information and envelope for my donation, I really didn’t want to follow through. Turns out I was donating to a political action committee, which I really did not want to do. PACs and corporations that lobby for certain bills in Washington, in my opinion, are the source of a lot of the corruption we see in government. But I gave the $15 like I said I would. I also included a note telling them not to contact me in the future.
The other call I got, the one I sort of asked for, was because I got a letter in the mail with an enticing offer for credit card debt consolidation. It was free to go online and see if I was eligible, so I did. I checked out how much I could save per month and it was a pretty sweet deal. So I agreed to let someone contact me.
Dude contacted me within minutes. We talked, it sounded great, and he sent me an email with all of the details in writing. Then he called me a couple days later to break the news that I wasn’t eligible for the debt consolidation program that I had been looking at to begin with. But, and here’s the kicker, I was eligible for a program where the company he represented would work with my creditors to lower my interest rates. Then I would pay them a monthly fee, while they distributed the money to my individual creditors on my behalf. Isn’t that sweet of them?
Of course, I again asked me to email me the details before I would agree to anything. This time his email spelled out more details. Like who he worked for. It was a different company than the company that had supposedly sent me debt consolidation info in the mail. As I did some digging on the internet, I discovered that the company I thought I was contacting was just a front for this financing company that this guy really worked for. A lot of websites used the term “bait and switch.” I guess that’s the accurate description of what was going on. They pulled me in with the promise of one thing, then suddenly it was something else.
I also checked out a lot of the reviews that customers had given this company on Google and with the Better Business Bureau. The company has an A with the BBB, but that’s only because they respond to complaints left by customers on the BBB site. The reviews were interesting the say the least. There were a lot of 5-star glowing reviews that all sounded the same. You know how you can read a couple of different books and still know you’re reading the same author? It was like that. There were also a lot of negative reviews, but they tried to bury those under the stellar reviews. It kind of looked like the good reviews were posted by people who worked for the company.
Needless to say, I decided not to put my financial future in their sketchy hands. But that didn’t stop them from calling or emailing. I responded to one email with a one line response: I am no longer interested. Phone calls… I’ve been avoiding those.
Here’s my new policy when it comes to answering my phone. If I don’t have your number saved in my contacts under a specific name, I’m definitely not answering. If you want me to hear what you have to say, leave me a voicemail. That weeds out the telemarketers real quick. Because the only telemarketers who leave any kind of voicemail are the robo-calls and, really, I only get half of whatever they were trying to tell me because they don’t know they’re not talking to a real person.
I’m hoping that, by ghosting these telemarketers, they’ll eventually get the picture and realize I want nothing to do with whatever they’re selling. But that’s not how it works.
I’ll be avoiding unknown numbers for the rest of my life.