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Just say ‘no’ to cold callers

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Posted: 3 pm ET

Retirement planning is big business. Everybody wants a piece of it. I've had five telephone calls so far today from salespeople pitching annuities. It only takes me a minute to say "no thanks" and hang up, but it's still annoying.

The last time the phone rang, I turned the tables on the caller. I asked the questions and she answered them -- in between giving me her sales talk. She was pleasant and possibly honest, but she didn't offer me any reason to think that it would be wise to invest my retirement savings with her.

She told me she had been selling annuities for an investment company for the last six months. Before getting into the investment sales business, she said she worked for the local hospital, cleaning up between surgeries. Prior to that, she provided personal home care. At 62, she said she's working hard at this new career because she recently went through a lousy divorce and needs to make enough money to keep a roof over her head.

If you're getting these kinds of telemarketing calls too, be very wary about investing your money. Here's what the Securities and Exchange Commission tells you to do to protect yourself.

  • Don't do what I did. Telemarketers who chat you up are trying to warm you up for the sale. Just say no -- quickly -- and hang up.
  • Put your name on the national Do Not Call Registry. If a financial telemarketer persists, file a complaint with the SEC.
  • If you're in the market for annuities or other financial products, find a trustworthy financial adviser. This should be someone who has appropriate credentials and experience, and he or she should come highly recommended by people you trust.
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February 11, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Why on earth would anyone even CONSIDER doing business with a cold caller? If your business cannot get enough customers via word of mouth, nor any researchable info on it, then I will not do business with you. If I want something, I will first ask my circle of friends/relatives for referrals, and/or at least research on the internet. Then *I* will call YOU. I don't decide I need something because some stranger called me on the phone telling me I do.

February 04, 2011 at 11:22 am

Just tell them your busy and ask them for their home phome number so you can call back. Some will say they don't do business from home and tell them you don't either.

February 04, 2011 at 2:04 am

The worst advice to "Just say no and hang up" is terrible.

The only way to ultimately STOP cold callers is to keep them on the phone for as long as possible. More of their time wasted = less profitable occupation = fewer telemarketers. Keep talking to them, then ask them to hold on while you walk away and leave them hanging. Have them send their sales literature to a fake address.

Nothing could be more nonsensical than worrying about the telemarketer having to make a living - they don't need to do it at your expense and this is NOT a real job! They've thoughtlessly wasted your time without asking, wasting as much of theirs as possible is the only truly effective response.

February 04, 2011 at 1:11 am

sorry but I have no sympathy for telemarketers. Many of them are scams. There are other jobs out there. And no, the sour economy is not an excuse. Most people don't turn to drug dealing just because the job market is bad.

February 03, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Depends on the 'work'. Most of the telemarketing calls I receive where I've actually managed to talk to someone turn out to be fraudulent, and I don't see any reason why I should respect someone for keeping their family off welfare by becoming a thief; and the prerecorded calls (which I'm reasonably sure are ALSO illegal) are generally put out by companies who try as hard as possible to avoid actually having to pay any humans. (One extended auto warrantee vendor allegedly wasn't even paying their employees for the time they DID spend selling product)

February 03, 2011 at 6:51 pm

I've worked inbound and outbound so I have plenty off experience in this. All you have to do is say 'no thanks take me off the calling list'. That's all. People freak out all the time and I get it, it is annoying but if you just hang up or yell at the caller or whatever, they're gonna keep calling you. Easiest way to get rid of them is just to tell them that.

February 03, 2011 at 4:05 am

I know, heaven forbid in this economy, someone is actually trying to work to keep themselves and their family off of welfare. How DARE they call you and annoy you.....Grow up. It's all the telemarketers fault for doing their job so they can feed their families?

February 02, 2011 at 7:59 am

I am on both my state's do not call list as well as the national do not call list, yet I still get these criminal calls. Totally exasperated, I purchased a security whistle and answer with it. If it is a recording, I push the button, then blow hard. They don't call back.

January 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm

here's an idea. have caller ID and don't answer the phone. I don't even have a land line. Just let it all go through your cell and screen them. If a message is left, reply if you turn out to know who it is. If you already know who it is, the name will come up on the cell phone. simple as that. just don't answer the phone!

January 26, 2011 at 6:46 pm

It's also very important to understand there are completely unscrupulous telemarketers out there who will lie to you on the phone (it's easier than face to face) to get you to do what benefits them. Many people get repeat calls multiple times a day so you will have to not only say no, but also ask each individual caller to put you on their do not call list in addition to getting all you numbers registered for the national do not call list. Also, be careful what you buy or even info you request online.

Do not agree to anything over the phone, do not even ask that they send you information. This is crucial because there are companies out there that will charge you money (some have your bank/cc info with or without your knowledge) if you tell them to send you info in the mail, fax, or email. Of course, they will not tell you that you're being charged or bury it somewhere in the script and say it so quickly you'll miss it. Be firm and very specific & don't accept anything over the phone.