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View Full Version : Those Pesky Unwanted Phone Calls


donmcc
09-21-2005, 07:31 PM
My name is in the book, so telemarketers generally know my name. If they ask for Mr or Mrs, then I know they are selling, because there is no Mrs. But in Canada I can usually tell a telemarketer because they all use dialling software that only notifies them if there is a pickup. I can tell by the two second delay that I am in for a pitch. (Although it might be a call from the bank.)

I get wrong numbers who rudely answer my Hello with a rude "Who's this". I kindly tell them that they called me, and I have no intention of telling them who I am. Sets them back a bit. Some people are so perfect that they cannot comprehend how telephone equipment can be so faulty to connect them to a different number from the one they pushed.

Don McCahill

Franca
09-21-2005, 08:54 PM
My name is in the book, so telemarketers generally know my name. If they ask for Mr or Mrs, then I know they are selling, because there is no Mrs. But in Canada I can usually tell a telemarketer because they all use dialling software that only notifies them if there is a pickup. I can tell by the two second delay that I am in for a pitch. (Although it might be a call from the bank.)Most of them seem to have our last name even though we're not in the book. But they don't know how to pronounce it. <veg> I hang up if it's that two-second delay thing. If it was a "real" call, they'll try again and speak up sooner.

I get wrong numbers who rudely answer my Hello with a rude "Who's this". I kindly tell them that they called me, and I have no intention of telling them who I am. Sets them back a bit. Some people are so perfect that they cannot comprehend how telephone equipment can be so faulty to connect them to a different number from the one they pushed.Oh yeah. We're the wrong number experts here. When someone says, "Who's this?" I say, "Who's this?" right back. Then they hang up because I don't know anybody that rude.

Most of our wrong numbers, however, are people who are trying to reach a CPA office number having a prefix with the middle digit different from ours. (772 vs. 722) I don't understand it, but people misdial this all the time. I'm now intimately familiar with the names of the owner and the key people who work in the office. Then someone had the nerve to send out a mailing with our phone number in it, compounding the already nerve-wracking problem.

Now, out of the goodness of their hearts they are sharing their office space with a displaced senior center, and are allowing them to use the same phone number. The idiot running the senior center has recently sent out our phone number in a mailing, and has also given it as her work number to her son's high school. (I got a message on my answering machine saying that if she didn't call them in the next 24 hrs. he would be put on the truant list.) I have had callers who have misdialed (I ask what number they think they dialed) argue with me and tell me that the number they dialed is not my number! Er ... they're talking to me - did I answer it or didn't I? >:-(

All of this ranting brings me to a question for all of you - what would you do in this situation? We have had our phone number longer than this CPA office and we would rather not give it up just because these people and their clients are all cretins. OTOH, two or three wrong numbers on an average day and maybe a dozen a day during tax time is pretty aggravating. Is there anything to try before asking for a new phone number?

annc
09-22-2005, 12:59 AM
All of this ranting brings me to a question for all of you - what would you do in this situation? We have had our phone number longer than this CPA office and we would rather not give it up just because these people and their clients are all cretins. OTOH, two or three wrong numbers on an average day and maybe a dozen a day during tax time is pretty aggravating. Is there anything to try before asking for a new phone number?There was a similar situation that I read about some time ago where the mis-dialled number was that of a hotel. The private individual getting the wrong numbers (many in the middle of the night) tried to get them to change their number, but they refused. He eventually resorted to accepting room bookings, which meant that the hotel ended up with an awful lot of people turning up to find that there was no record of their reservation. I think they went broke.

You could contact this CPA and ask them to change their number. If they refuse, you could tell them that you will just hang up on any wrong numbers in the future, and that if the wrong numbers persist after six months, you will supply the number of such-and-such brothel as the correct one. Or the local police station. Or the local undertaker. Whatever takes your fancy. ;-)

For the situation where they have sent out a mailing with your number on it, if they refuse to send out an amendment, you could tell them that you will be reporting them to their professional body. As far as you are concerned, the registered owner of the phone number is at fault.

And I know that you would do all this in such a pleasant manner, that either they'll accede to your request immediately, or the people who do call will blame everyone but you.

Richard Waller
09-22-2005, 01:13 AM
Is there anything to try before asking for a new phone number?How many wrong calls compared with the number of good ones?

Have your answering machine give an immediate message, and tell people to press # and talk to you if they do have the right number. You can then pick up if they start talking.

I recently changed my Email address and trash all messages not to my new address. People who I have not told this address have to use the response form on the websites. I do not know how much good stuff went down the black hole but I get virtually no sales or spam messages now.

annc
09-22-2005, 04:05 AM
I recently changed my Email address and trash all messages not to my new address.What about all those software registrations you made with that e-mail address? That's what stops most of us from changeing e-mail addresses every few months to shake off the spam.

Franca
09-22-2005, 09:40 AM
How many wrong calls compared with the number of good ones?Many more wrong calls than right ones. But the few right ones I get I do want to pick up!

Have your answering machine give an immediate message, and tell people to press # and talk to you if they do have the right number. You can then pick up if they start talking.Hm ... hadn't thought about telling family and friends to interrupt the outgoing message. My answering machine is a bit primitive; I'll have to test its capabilities.

This idea could work if I'm in the kitchen where the answering machine resides. Not much help in the bedroom or downstairs unless I'm willing to drop what I'm doing and sprint to the kitchen - but if I'm expecting an important call I probably would sprint to the kitchen. :) Maybe I should leave the answering maching on delayed pickup to give me a bit more time to get to there. Thanks, Richard, this is a possibility while I work on a better solution!

Paul
09-22-2005, 10:45 AM
Have your answering machine give an immediate message, and tell people to press # and talk to you if they do have the right number. You can then pick up if they start talking.


I have had similar problems at two previous residences. In one town, the number was almost the same as that of the gas company's line for emergency calls. I received a fair number of them, many from people who were very angry (because their gas service had been turned off, or not turned on). I started using an answering message that began "This is not the gas company. If you wanted the gas company, please check the number and dial again." That was fairly successful.

On the other hand, I was once assigned a number that had belonged to a defunct business. This was in Connecticut, before the state was split into two area codes, and numbers were in short supply, so old ones were reassigned more quickly than usual. I tried an answering message saying "This is not Balloons by the Sea. This is a private residence. If you wish to leave a message for anyone at this PRIVATE RESIDENCE, you may do so after the tone...."

It had very little effect. Most people who wanted balloons left their orders anyway; they seemed to think that it really was the business, but the proprietor didn't want to take any new orders, and that if they were nasty enough, their order would be fulfilled anyway.

Paul
09-22-2005, 10:48 AM
I gave up on this about six months ago, and subscribed to caller ID. Now I don't answer any call that doesn't display caller ID. I also ignore calls that have a caller ID that I don't recognize -- most of the calls that are not telemarketers (in spite of the fact that my number is in the national do-not-call registry) are wrong numbers, often from people speaking Spanish or Korean. I know how to say "wrong number" in Spanish, but not Korean.

jrabold
09-22-2005, 11:17 AM
What about all those software registrations you made with that e-mail address? That's what stops most of us from changeing e-mail addresses every few months to shake off the spam.

I think it's too late for such registrations already made. But for anything new, I use sneakemail.com. I give a unique Sneakemail address to each business. Sneakemail keeps track of all those addresses, and forwards that mail to me at an address that only it knows. If I start getting spam at one of those unique addresses, I shut that address down, and that one alone. (And I probably won't do any more business with the addressee to which I gave that address.)

kirun
09-27-2005, 11:44 AM
If you're in the UK, then registering with the Telephone Preference Service (http://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/ or call 0845 07 007 07) should stop pretty much all unwanted calls (and threatening to prosecute those that ignore the list works quite nicely as well)

It can't, unfortunately, do anything about the rash of autodiallers from the US claiming you won a holiday (but if everyone called the free 0800 number in these messages and told them they didn't appreciate the call, they might be more careful next time).

The problem of businesses with similar numbers is much trickier. We've had a weird one of these. Somebody we sort-of knew, but won't have had our number, misdialled a local club they wanted to book, and left the message on our machine. Mind you, somebody else I once knew ensured one local taxi firm was the least reliable in town, the amount of bookings he got...

jgr
09-27-2005, 02:02 PM
Did you happen to notice the identity of the person who designed and donated the sneakemail link buttons (http://sneakemail.com/promotion.pl/1127858413?sel=promote&sid=)?

Robin Springall
09-27-2005, 04:08 PM
Just seen this brilliant post from Alan over on Binky's Snarkish forum:

------


Not sounding anything like my name, I asked, "Who is calling?

The telemarketer said he was with The Rubber Band Powered Freezer company or something like that, so I asked him if he knew William personally and why was he calling this number. I then said off to the side, "get really good pictures of the body and all the blood" then turned back to the phone and advised the caller that he had entered a murder scene and must stay on the line because we had already traced this call and he would be receiving a summons to appear in the local courthouse to testify in this murder case. I then questioned the caller at great length as to his name, address, phone number at home, at work, who he worked for, how he knew the dead guy and could he prove where he had been about one hour before he made this call.

The telemarketer was getting very concerned, and his answers were given in a shaky voice. I then told him we had located his position at work and the police were entering the building to take him into custody. At that point I heard the phone fall and the scurrying of his running away.

My wife asked me as I returned to our table why I had tears streaming down my face and so help me, I couldn't tell her for about fifteen minutes.

My meal was cold, but after what I had done, very enjoyable.

terrie
09-28-2005, 11:12 AM
>>robin: At that point I heard the phone fall and the scurrying of his running away.

ROFL!!!! You are *wonderfully* wicked...'-}}

Terrie

Richard Hunt
09-28-2005, 12:45 PM
When I was about 11, our phone number was 2806 and the local veterinary practice was 2608. As we were, at that time, living in a rural area we had a fair number of honest misdials, often at 0300, from farmers needing help. This was back in the days of the GPO so bedside phones were an unafordable luxury. Invariably they were very aplogetic if they realised.

Richard

annc
09-28-2005, 04:33 PM
Invariably they were very aplogetic if they realised. Well, I suppose that made it almost bearable. But in small communities like that, they're far less likely to be abusive, because they know who you are, what you look like, and that they will probably meet you in the street within days.

marlene
09-29-2005, 05:23 PM
We're the wrong number experts here.

We get a lot of wrong numbers. Our phone number is one digit different from a local senior citizens' home, so we get a lot of calls from confused elderly people who think they have reached the front desk. We got two such calls just this morning, one from a women who calls a couple times a month.

I haven't considered changing my number, but then again it hasn't been published in flyers and such, as yours has. In our case, people are simply misdialing.

My fax line phone number, however, has obviously been published somewhere. I get dozens of calls per month, all from people with Hispanic or African last names (I've got caller ID, even on the fax line). They call at all hours of the night, so I suspect the number was given out as some sort of hotline. What I find perplexing is that I get repeated calls from the same people.

I just keep the ringer turned off on the fax machine. I got tired of hearing it ring at 3:00 a.m.

mxh

ElyseC
09-29-2005, 07:33 PM
I turned off the ringer on our fax long ago, because of my international clients who, of course, would be faxing during their work day which often was while we were sleeping.

I once had a query about packaging production specs for some dairy products, supplier in the Netherlands. At 2:00 a.m. I got a phone call from the Netherlands with a cheery, accented voice at the other end ready to answer my questions. I took down her answers and asked -- very nicely -- if she knew that it was currently 2:00 a.m. for me. The poor woman became obviously upset and apologized profusely. I assured her I'd be fine, but I just wanted her to be aware, so that next time she might want to wait another four hours or so -- if possible -- to contact me by phone. She was so worried and upset that I felt a bit bad I'd even mentioned it, but knew I had to, for the sake of my husband and son. I knew I could get back to sleep OK, but didn't want their sleep disturbed.

Got many emails from my client the next day, with profuse apologies from them, as well. Seems the Netherlands supplier called my client to confess their mistake and apologize to them, too, for disturbing me.

Franca
09-29-2005, 07:43 PM
Yes, if it were the fax line I wouldn't care at all. Sigh. We're getting almost nothing but junk faxes anyway. I'm tempted to turn it off and have people call us if they want to send a fax.

ElyseC
09-29-2005, 07:53 PM
I've used my fax so few times since we moved (email and phone has been handling it all instead) that I decided to cancel the phone line. Saves us $28 a month and no junk faxes, guaranteed! :-)

If I need to fax something I'll just connect it to our (now only) line, use the "cancel call waiting" feature, and send away.