How to Deal with Those Pesky Telemarketers

how to deal with pesky telemarketers
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There are lots of ways to deal with telemarketers, including just hanging up on them. But if you’re looking for what to say to telemarketers to get them to stop calling and to have fun in the process, here’s a fun and funny way to get rid of telemarketers.

First we have to say that credit for this goes to Martijn Engelbregt. He first developed the EGBG Telemarketing Counterscript, in flow-chart format, back in 1994.

Below is our transcription of the main part of the script for what to say to telemarketers, from the first ‘hello’, leading them down the merry path, until the last ‘goodbye’.

What to Say to Telemarketers When They Call

FIRST: To whom am I speaking ?

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NEXT: Could you spell your name for me please?

NEXT: Could you tell me how you found this phone number?

NEXT: And is this your full time job?

IF part time: What else do you do for living?
IF “I am a houseman/wife”: That’s funny, my neighbour does the same thing!
IF “I study”: Ah nice, what do you study? (they respond) That’s funny, my neighbour does the same thing!
IF “I have another job”: Ah nice, what exactly? (they respond) That’s funny, my neighbour does the same thing!

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NEXT (whether full time or part time): Do you also live in (add your place of residence)?

IF yes: Incredible!
IF no (prompt for where they live if they don’t volunteer it): Oh, that’s nice as well!

NEXT: And how long have you been in the telemarketing business?

IF 5 months or fewer: That’s not very long.
IF more than 5 months: That’s quite long.

NEXT: And, do you like your job?

IF no: Why are you doing it then?
IF yes or no clear opinion: I think I would like this kind of job as well.

NEXT: How much do you earn?

NEXT: That doesn’t sound bad at all! Do you get time off for going to a dentist? (doesn’t matter what they answer)

NEXT: Is it important to have good teeth for your job? (doesn’t matter what they answer)

NEXT: Which toothpaste would you recommend? (doesn’t matter what they answer, frankly by now they will probably have hung up)

NEXT: Thank you for your information, would you mind giving me your phone number in case I need additional information? (doesn’t matter what they answer)

NEXT: Thank you and have a pleasant day. Goodbye. (click)

You will also notice that on the graphic representation of the script, there is a section to the right that is in case the “telemarketer does not cooperate”. “If you get in a difficult conversation,” says the script, “make use of the conversation moves below and then continue with the script on the left side of the page.”

egbg telemarketer telemarketing counterscript
The EGBG Counterscript to Tie Up Telemarketers

You can find the entire anti-telemarketer script in PDF format on Martijn’s site here.

Please let us know if you use this and what the results were! Also let us know of any other novel ways to deal with telemarketers, and any notable experiences you’ve had in doing so!

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4 thoughts on “How to Deal with Those Pesky Telemarketers

  1. Maybe there’s some expertise available here. How — exactly — would Verizon Smart Family be able to do that? Essentially ALL of the numbers from telemarketers (just now, this second, got a teleM call from Florida totally bogus number) are “spoofed” — not the real number just one put in the caller ID by the caller (who chooses the number — like the FL number).
    How does Verizon Smart Family prevent this kind of “spoofed” number calling and NOT just block the number — which is a throw away number anyway?

  2. Telemarketers don’t bother me as much (ok, they bug me, but they’re pretty easy to get rid of) as the guys who call and say my computer is generating messages that only they can fix. They have no way of knowing that they’re calling an engineer. Those calls go something like this:

    “Tech Support Guy”: I’m calling from Tech Support. Your computer is generating lots of error messages.

    Me: Tech Support? What tech support is that?

    TSG: Computer tech support. You know, Microsoft Windows. (They also don’t know I’ve been using a Mac since 1997.)

    Me: Oh, that sounds bad. What are the messages?

    TSG: They’re in code. You wouldn’t understand them.

    Me: But you understand them?

    TSG: Yes. We can decode them.

    Me: And when you decode them, what do they say?

    TSG: (reads off a list of letters and numbers)

    Me: Those letters and numbers mean something? What do they mean?

    TSG: Your Microsoft Windows is failing. Now if you’ll just –

    Me: Oh, then I should probably have someone look at it.

    TSG: I can do that for you. Please allow me to access your computer. (That sure as hell isn’t going to happen. I won’t let companies I trust take over my computer; I’m sure not gonna let this clown do anything.)

    Me: I think I’d rather deal with someone local, thanks.

    TSG: I am local. I’m right in your neighborhood.

    Me: Oh? What neighborhood is that?

    TSG: Aspen. (I’m in Chicago.)

    Me: Colorado?

    TSG: Yes. Now if you’ll just –

    Me: I’ve just reported this call to the FTC. Have a great day!


    I like to keep these guys on the phone for a few minutes so they’re not scamming someone else. My mom got one of these calls; she put the guy on hold, called me, and I told her to hang up. The bad thing is, how many people are going to believe these guys, get their computers completely fouled up, and then have to pay these guys off to get the computer back?

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