Favourite method of dealing with cold sales calls (phone or doorstep)

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  • pjmaybe 18 Jul 2003 17:30:41 70,676 posts
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    OK throwing this one out as I did with me "how to deal with my stupid neighbours" thread. Time and time again, despite signing up with the government's anti-nuisance call scheme, I get these bloody arseholes ringing me up (usually in the middle of sunday dinner) to ask me in a really shitty and pushy way, whether my nicely modern house needs an entirely new set of windows/doors/plastic cladding (whatever)

    Just wondered if anyone had any good effective ways of pissing the person on the other end of the phone off, to the point where they won't ring again.

    I did manage to get rid of one caller from a kid's clothing company who kept repeatedly asking for Mrs May (despite there not being one) - I told them that she died in tragic circumstances the week before, then pretended to sob piteously down the phone. I've never heard someone backpedalling so fast and apologising so much in my life...!

    So, bring on the pain...!

    Peej
  • Machiavel 18 Jul 2003 17:42:36 5,964 posts
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    I think the quickest fob off is that you live in a listed building (or something like that).

    As to pissing them off, play the sound of a police siren every five minutes and apologise for being "close to the station." Had to transcribe some audio transcripts once, and my ears used to bleed from the ambulances racing past.
  • pjmaybe 18 Jul 2003 17:45:03 70,676 posts
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    "I think the quickest fob off is that you live in a listed building (or something like that)."

    As tumbledown as my house is, they already know my postcode in most cases so they'd know. Nice idea though.

    There was a PDF on the web somewhere which was basically designed to waste a cold caller's time as much as possible. Can't remember where the site is now, but it was class..basically answer every question with a question.

    Peej

  • FWB 18 Jul 2003 17:46:04 43,882 posts
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    The usual one I go for is:

    Salesman: "Hey, can I speak to you for a minute?"
    Me: "Well actually you've caught me a bit of a bad time. See I'm just in the middle of jerking off, so can you call back"

    All I can hear is someone bursting out in laughter down the other end, so I hang up the phone.

    Another good one, stolen from a Calvin and Hobbes comic, have a balloon nest to your phone. Then, during the conversation pop it and scream, "Oh shit! I've been shot!".

    I know their assholes for doing the job in the first place, but I'd rather give them a laugh than yell abuse and I know that every time I've done that the sales dude has been telling the story I created down the pub.

    Alternatively do a Jerry Seinfeld:

    You: "Sorry, I'm kind of busy at the moment, but can I take your home number and I'll get back to you?"
    Salesman: "Err, no."
    You: "Why, cos you don't want to be bothered at home? Well now you know how I feel."

    Edited by FWB at 16:48:35 18-07-2003
  • pjmaybe 18 Jul 2003 17:47:51 70,676 posts
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    "Salesman: "Hey, can I speak to you for a minute?"
    Me: "Well actually you've caught me a bit of a bad time. See I'm just in the middle of jerking off, so can you call back""

    ROFL!!!

    Must er, try that one. Specially if it's a female cold caller...

    Peej
  • DocX 18 Jul 2003 17:51:36 1,963 posts
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    Well if you have signed up for the no cold calling scheme (I have & haven't been troubled since), nothing will piss them off more than you asking for their name & company & telling them to expect the 1000 fine shortly. Iirc that's what they can get for calling phone numbers that have opted out.
  • Machiavel 18 Jul 2003 17:52:15 5,964 posts
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    That Seinfeld one is excellent. Of course, you could always parry like with like:

    "Actually, I'm looking at an impressive set of encyclopaedias right now. And very reasonable. Do you have a 26 piece collection on your shelf at home?"

    Bizarrely, I used to try this on JW's and Christians preaching to me when I was an environmental canvasser (it was a long time ago). I stopped when one of the Christians got rather wound up and confessed his sins, showing me his prison rehabilitation card and regretting the people he killed...
  • FWB 18 Jul 2003 17:53:14 43,882 posts
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    One I haven't tried, but I really should, is selling something back to them. Like my used boxers or something.

    EDIT: Mach beat me. :)

    Edited by FWB at 16:53:50 18-07-2003
  • pjmaybe 18 Jul 2003 17:55:10 70,676 posts
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    DocX wrote:
    Well if you have signed up for the no cold calling scheme (I have & haven't been troubled since), nothing will piss them off more than you asking for their name & company & telling them to expect the 1000 fine shortly. Iirc that's what they can get for calling phone numbers that have opted out.

    Didnt realise that - I signed up about 2 months ago and apparently it takes about 3 months for companies to "get the message" - since I signed up though, I've had more cold sales calls than ever before...! Like they're trying to get them all in before the 3 month cut-off period. Also signed up for the junk mail one but it doesn't stop the hundreds of bits of junk mail that are just hand delivered...

    Good advice though Doc.

    Peej
  • Errol 18 Jul 2003 17:58:30 12,457 posts
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    I keep a tapedeck by the phone, and when people cold-call me, I play a tape of a 'chainsaw massacre'; with screaming people, chainsaws, and cutting noises.
  • Zee-Zed-Zipster 18 Jul 2003 18:00:11 30 posts
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    Here's are two most effective solutions (and no mistake).

    1. Based on the above Seinfeld suggestions - Tell them it's a difficult time to talk, but you're really interested and can you have their home phone number? They will most likely refuse... just don't give up until they hang up. Constantly 'playing the ball from your court' annoys the shit out of em.

    2. When they ask for someone in particular, say 'I'll just get them'... put your receiver down (don't hang up) and just leave it. They'll soon piss off.



    Edited by Zee Zed Zipster at 17:02:07 18-07-2003
  • Machiavel 18 Jul 2003 18:01:01 5,964 posts
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    Errol wrote:
    I keep a tapedeck by the phone, and when people cold-call me, I play a tape of a 'chainsaw massacre'; with screaming people, chainsaws, and cutting noises.

    All the more reason for you to have double glazing Errol ;)
  • ssuellid 18 Jul 2003 18:03:00 19,141 posts
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    My home phone with BT has been set up so that anybody who withholds their number just gets a standard BT message. Also there is a preferential telephone service that you can register with and then your number is not sold to anyone and they actually take your number off cold call databases for you. In two years we have not had a single cold call.

    If they come to the door just tell them to fuck off or tell them you rent the house.
  • Wretched-Chin 18 Jul 2003 18:10:44 742 posts
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    A Mormon friend of mine once told me that if the Witnesses come-a-knocking just tell 'em your a Mormon and they'll disappear never to return again (they kind of black-cross the address for a few years).

    Dunno if it's true but hey...
  • Darramouss 18 Jul 2003 18:34:55 143 posts
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    Get an Ex-Directory number, I have never had a nuisance caller. Apart from my ex.
  • Shinji 18 Jul 2003 18:52:07 5,903 posts
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    Our local loony religious types have completely given up on us. I'm not sure whether the last straw was the Jehovahs Witnesses who backpedalled furiously after being politely invited in to worship the ashes of my ancestors (I told them we were devout Shinto), or the little old lady who I opened the door to and was instantly greeted with "Hello! Have YOU felt the power of our lord Jesus Christ in YOUR life today?", to which I responded "No thank you, I'm perfectly happy with my current electricity provider" and shut the door. She was still standing on my doorstep looking utterly perplexed over a minute later.
  • terminalterror 18 Jul 2003 19:02:29 18,937 posts
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    When you get somebody at your door, head to the kitchen, grab a big carving knife and squirt some ketchup/tomato sauce on your shirt, then open the door with a big grin.
  • Nemesis 18 Jul 2003 19:16:56 18,596 posts
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    Whilst up at Homebase the other day, the doubleglazing salesman tapped the top of my sons head with a paper brochure as a humourous way of getting our attention.

    I almost smacked that fucker into next week, you've never seen a)me so mad - I'd probably turned red in anger or b) someone backpedal so fast there was smoke coming from his feet.

    Fucker.

    I don't like salesmen. Full stop. I don't like 'em on the 'phone, I don't like em at my door (which doesn't happen now I'm in a secluded flat) and I certainly don't like 'em in stores. If one more cunt tries to sell me extended warranty they'll be blood and it won't be mine.

    Just. Don't. Get. Me. Started.

  • ssuellid 18 Jul 2003 19:26:26 19,141 posts
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    Looks like your are in need of my 'Anger management course' - yours for 3 easy installments of 24.99 a month. Order now and you will receive a no obligation pen.


    Was it Perfect Panes - they were in our local Homebase? Apt name really. We had them round as we need a new front and back door - quote was 2100. They do bullet proof and knock down proof doors if you want.
  • Nemesis 18 Jul 2003 19:40:44 18,596 posts
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    Dunno!

    Still. Grr. I'm generally pretty good with salespeople and just say no, but if they get a little pushy then I really get angry pretty quick.

    Grr.

  • st3ph3n 18 Jul 2003 20:22:29 2,833 posts
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    The one i've been getting in the house recently (still live with my parents, but i'll fend off the cold callers if I answer) is telling me I've won a free holiday after filling in a market research survey a year ago. They always get in quickly with "its not a time share", but quickly asking them "where did i fill in the survey?" usually gets them scrambling. I know that no one in my family fills in the surveys so make them squirm by getting them to suggest some locations or what have you for where you might have filled in the survey. My favourite is "on a flight", "where from", (sounds of brain whirring into action) "mmm, SPAIN", "sorry, not been to spain recently, bye" and hang up.

    My personal favourite for other ones goes something like:
    "Hello"
    "Hi there, this is Person from Random Window company" (sales pitch starts)
    Hang up phone

    And if they call back just repeat until they get the message.
  • Smiler 18 Jul 2003 20:57:52 46 posts
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    Why can you just not give the people a polite "No thank you".

    At the end of the day, these poor souls who do the job probably do it because they have no choice - so why the need to abuse / piss them off?

    You'd probably think differently if you were put into that position. Would you like to take abuse every day? I think not.
  • Shivoa 18 Jul 2003 21:16:18 5,677 posts
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    >Would you like to take abuse every day? I think not.

    Which is why I'll never take a job where I try and sell people something they don't want by thrusting it down their throat. I'd rather be pennyless than take a job that is primarily pissing people off.

    Think of it as a degree of scale away from going round causing people emotional trauma by telling them about false family berevements. If people were prepared to pay for that as revenge against an enemy or even as a joke then you think you'd be prepared to make someone think their family had died? No. Because you're getting paid to do something that just isn't nice.

    If someone wants to buy something then they can actively find out about it or even be lazy and let advertising on something like TV/internet/magazines tell them about it. Marketing calls or calling on doors to sell a product should be considered invasion of privacy if I want it to be (as the onwer of the phone/house) and so there is no need to not piss the people off. If you take a job then you should be aware of what in involves.

    And yes, I have been unemployed for longer than was absolutely necessary in the past because I've turned down those types of jobs.
  • Daryoon 18 Jul 2003 21:22:25 4,602 posts
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    I had a second phone line fitted a couple of years ago, since then I'd had people calling from as far away as Africa asking for some guy I've never heard of. Especially annoying when they call when I'm asleep, wake me up and then proceed to try and make small talk for some reason.

    But phonecalls are nowhere near as annoying as the people on the street...
  • ReGuRgIt8oR 18 Jul 2003 22:49:05 2,600 posts
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    We bought our house from the Diocese of Chester as the local vicar was moving to a new "super vicarage".

    Therefore we get people calling at 3 am in the morning in need of shelter and salvation and 20 quid. We get flowers sent in memory of great uncle Albert, we even had 100 cash donation shoved thru the letterbox.

    I frequently open the door and appear as a skinhead wearing shorts and a footy shirt with a wavebird in hand and my gut hanging out and the caller says "sorry to disturb you Father but....... ermm..... hmmm"

    However the icing on the cake was when the hearse and funeral procession turned up to collect great auntie Agnes.


    Edit - oh the point of the thread. Tsk tsk.

    Cold callers - at home try to be firm but polite.
    At work - stick em on hold and the transfer them to the fax machine "ssscrrrrkk, tshhhhk, srcrrrkj, deeeeep" enough to get rid of anyone.


    Edited by ReGuRgIt8oR at 21:51:58 18-07-2003
  • Deleted user 19 July 2003 01:22:10
    Telesales drone: Hello sir, would you be interested in....
    Moi: No, thank you...goodbye

    Simple:)
  • rare_uk 19 Jul 2003 08:02:29 3,562 posts
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    this works for me
  • shane 19 Jul 2003 09:01:19 863 posts
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    WOPR wrote:
    Shouting 'fuck off and leave me alone' usually gets a reaction.
    yeah i know not many people call back after that
  • Mike_Hunt 19 Jul 2003 18:01:38 23,512 posts
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    I'm actually gutted that my phones ex directory now as I'll never be able to try any of the above methods out!

    Also, I once heard (quite sure it was in this forum) that one guy had a phonecall from a conservatory salesmen who wouldn't go away. So he gave in, and said they could come round and measure up for a quote. They weren't impressed when they turned up and saw he lived in a 2nd story flat!

    [MH]
  • ReGuRgIt8oR 19 Jul 2003 21:44:58 2,600 posts
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    You are correct in your belief that you heard such a wonderful tale on this forum MH. Twas my keys you heard a typing. The chap in question was the brother of an ex-colleague of mine.

    How he laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed, repeat to fade.
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