Telemarketers, you walk a thin line.

It's been a long day and you've just sat down to dinner when, the phone rings, [tingle, tingle] and this friendly upbeat, saccharine sweet voice asks for Mr, or Mrs. Smith...and you blow-up! I know I do.

It's someone who wants your money, someone has just invaded your privacy! I don't know about you but, I'm tired of this practice.

Don't fall for phone trickery or be seduced by some fast talking, smooth sounding phone trickster. Most of the time consumers find out that the product and/or service is not up to what was expected.

In my mind telemarketing practices are out of hand. There are some that are legitimate or should I say well meaning but on the whole they are all a pain in the butt.

There are two major categories of telemarketing; Business-to-business and Business-to-customer.

There are subcategories of telemarketing:

* Lead Generation, the gather of information: I rate them annoying
* Sales, using persuasion to sell a product or service: I rate them obnoxiously, annoying
* Outbound, proactive marketing in which prospective and preexisting customers are contacted directly: they are the same as sales and I rate them the same
* Inbound, reactive reception of incoming orders and requests for information. Demand is generally created by advertising, publicity or the efforts of outside salespeople: I rate them as GREAT (when I/we want service or information we call them and ask them what we want to know -- it's their job!) Read more...

On average, I dare say, quite LOUDLY, LEAD GENERATORS, SALES, OUTBOUND telemarketers-- "you've worn out your welcome!"

The majority of the public has no problem with inbound telemarketing. Why they term it inbound is beyond me, this is more like customer service and has less negative connotation. On the other hand the majority of us like it when "we" call them to ask about their services or else we wouldn't do it. However, I'd say that we, the public, DO have a problem with telemarketing outbound calling practices.

I know, I know, people must work. The way the economy is today, people must take any job they can get. I was a telemarketer at one time, [business-to-business and business-to-customer] for over ten years as a matter of fact. I know the inside scoop of the industry and frankly, some of their practices bothered what little moral sensibilities I have left.

When I think of telemarketing (Lead Generation, Sales, Outbound) the words trickery or trickster, always pops up in my mind. Yes, that's a nice way of saying LIAR!

Don't get me wrong the actual person who does the calling, isn't the one who's made up the lie or the trick. These callers are given scripts that they must follow. I was told to follow the script verbatim and if I didn't I'd would get a ding on my weekly report. Yes, these calls are monitored and recorded.

These people are pressured with quotas and the threat of termination. If they work in a call center, they have managers running up and down the isles, yelling and screaming to come on and get the sale. These call centers have taken micromanaging to another level. So, don't blame it on the person who calls, look to the manager, the owner or the higher-ups who come up with these tactics.

I use the word trickery or trickster not so much for the telemarketers who are calling to sell a product or service. Even though I do question them too. These words are for the those who are calling for charitable organizations, alumni associations and political parties. No, the actual organization itself isn't being tricky, however, the company that they hired to do their calling is questionable.

Yes, absolutely, donate to your favorite organization but, not through a telemarketer (sorry, guy and gal telemarketers) Because there's a third party involved in collecting the money.

An investigation on the fund raising for the Disabled Veterans Association (DVA) not to be confused with the DAV (Disabled American Veterans), has upset a great many people in the Cleveland Ohio area.

Notice how similar the acronyms are -- DAV and DVA ....

It's been found that only 13% of the monies collected for the DVA actually go to the Vets. So, where's the other, let's see....87% go? Someone is pocketing that money, now who is it?

November 6, 2007 Newsnet5 -- Investigation: 13 Cents of Every $1 Donated Goes to Charity

Cleveland-- A 5 On Your Side investigation revealed that a group raising millions of dollars for veterans, only gives them 13 cents of every dollar donated. Investigator Ron Regan uncovered who's getting rich off the donations that were supposed to be helping American Veterans. Read more

I reiterate, it isn't the actual person who's calling that's perpetrating the falsehood, it's the higher-ups who don't and won't get their hands dirty but all the while are lining their pockets to build their multi-million dollar homes. Again, be careful who and how you donate your hard earned money. It's best to go directly to the organization and bypass all third parties.

Also, for those of you who don't know. Charities, alumni and political organizations are under 501(c)3, non-profit organizations. Their financial books are for public eyes. If you're suspicious of an organization, tell them you want to see their books -- that's your right.

In 1991 Congress actually listened to consumers (stop it! I'm having a heart-attack) and granted consumers certain rights to defend themselves against these annoying telemarketing calls, yes, you all are annoying! Congress wrote an anti-telemarketing script. This is a script of questions, we consumers can ask the unwanted caller, here they are:

* Are you calling to sell me something?
* Can you tell me your name?
* Can you tell me your company name? (not the company that you're calling for)
* Do they have a do not call list?
* Can you put me on the do not call list?

If they answer no to any of those questions the consumer can legally sue them. Read More...

Isn't that great! Now, how does that work for bill collectors? I'm going to research that and find out!

Of course businesses that own or utilize telemarketers are fighting back with the contention that their free speech is violated under these new rules:

First Amendment Center: Advertising and the First Amendment By David Hudson Jr. Telemarketing presents a classic clash between privacy and freedom of speech. Many residents believe telemarketing calls invade their privacy. Business owners counter that telemarketing is a lawful way to inform people about their services, and regulations violate their First Amendment free-speech rights. Read More...

These are my solutions to dealing with telemarketers, [ I'm cantankerous and this might not sit well with those of you who are moral and etiquette purists]

* ask them: "Did I ask you to call me"
* ask them: "Did I give you permission to call me"
* ask them: "Why are you on my phone"
* ask them: "What's your home or cell phone number and I'll call you back"
* If you have a hold button, put them on hold and leave them there
* Do like the businesses, get a gatekeeper, in the private sector this would be caller id and/or privacy manager
* If you have caller id and the words "unknown or unavailable shows, this usually means a telemarketer or a bill collector-- don't answer the phone if you don't want to talk to them
* If you have a whistle blow it into the phone
* Yell at them until they hang up then, call them back and yell some more, call over and over and over and...
* Just hang up

These people have invaded your privacy and your home, it's okay to be rude, really it is! You don't have to use every four letter word in the book to be rude, using sarcasm is wonderful. I love sarcasm, it's an art form which I've learn to master.

As a former telemarketer, I've heard it all and understand where the consumer is coming from. I began to resent the brain storming, educated idiots, who came up with these harassing strategies. They get paid huge bucks, while the people who are doing the work and having their heads handed back to them on the proverbial platter, get paid very little in comparison. Yes, I know, that's the name of the game in commerce. And that, dear reader[s], is why I quit.

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