Sunday, July 5, 2009

Telemarket THIS

Telemarket THISWe all hate telemarketing, don’t we? I hate them too, and thankfully, I don’t hear them a lot around here. However, there used to be a time where some newspaper that I was subscribed to nagged me almost weekly, trying to get me to re-subscribe. When all my requests to be removed were ignored, I decided to take a more aggressive tactic.

Here’s the trick: When you pick up the phone, and someone asks for or your spouse by NAME, don’t confirm or transfer. Ask “who is this, please?” Even the slimiest telemarketers will answer truthfully to this. At this point, don’t just ask to be removed…give them a reason that will get them running. It might be something appropriate, if you’re a good improviser. For example, if they are offering you a TV or newspaper subscription, tell them that you have suffered an accident and have gone blind. If it’s a phone company, tell them that you’re the person’s brother/son/caretaker and that the person cannot answer the phone because his ears were injured and he is now deaf. If you just want to make it quick, tell’em the person is dead. Killed in a car crash works well. Make sure to stress how painful it is and ask the telemarketer “Can you imagine how such an offer makes us feel at this time? Please don’t call back”. Make sure you repeat their name – most of them will be scared of a lawsuit and will take you off the list right away. Don’t overdo it, by the way. Don’t go into details, so they won’t think it’s a prank or a shake-off.

Speaking of aggressive marketing – many companies will sell your address to just about anybody. In fact, many of them will lure you in with free gifts or very cheap merchandise, just to get an address. A big customer list is an expensive thing and selling your address to multiple buyers is a good and steady income. Well, other than being paranoid and not giving the address, of course, there’s one more technique I often use.

When I do need to give an address – I add a little extension to my last name, to link it to this business. For example, if make an online purchase at Jimmy’s Flower’s, I’ll list my name as “Erez Ben Arijf”. The JF at the end signify “Jimmy’s Flowers”. It won’t interfere with the mail delivery, but if, at a later time, I get a letter from another company, I’ll know exactly who sold them my address. If I can do something about it is uncertain – that depends on local laws and things you might have agreed to when signing up originally, but at least you’ll know. It’s a good idea, of course, to keep track of these addresses, as you might forget what BS stands for in a year.

A similar idea is for Email subscriptions. Since free accounts are a common thing, you can create a new account whenever you need to provide your Email, and set it to forward to your day-to-day account. If you start receiving spam, you can see it was forwarded from the Email headers, and stop the forwarding from that account. You should also use an address from wherever possible. Mailinator is a service that receives mail to ANY box at and saves it for a short time. It’s good when you need to give SOME email, and works well for a single-time use, like when making an online order.

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