Stop the Phone Calls: Confessions of a Telemarketer - Quicken Loans Zing BlogI’ll let you in on a little secret, if you promise not to hate me.

I used to be a telemarketer.


I know, I know, not the most honorable of professions. But it had flexible hours, decent pay, and I could do my homework while the computer dialed numbers. It was the perfect job for a busy college student.

Telemarketers can be irritating, no doubt about it. The repeated ringing of your phone at inopportune times can really get under your skin. So if you’re looking to keep your blood pressure down and your phone relatively silent, here are some suggestions for freeing your phone from those pesky – but hardworking – telemarketers.

Don’t let it ring
This is one of the biggest mistakes people make. While I can’t speak for all call centers, I’ll give you a brief idea of how our system worked. Any phone calls that weren’t answered were redialed about an hour later. The repeated calls would continue for several days until the phone number was taken out of the queue and filed away for later. The point here is that letting it ring will eventually get them to stop calling you, but only for a few days. You’ll still have to endure several days of repeated calls, and once those stop, it’ll probably happen all over again.

Don’t hang up
Picking up and hanging up has the same effect as letting it ring: we’ll just call you back later. And silently hanging up after initiating a conversation is just as bad. This is extremely irritating, and the system will force me to call you back until you let me know whether or not you’re interested. After all, if you didn’t say goodbye, how could I know if we got disconnected or if you were genuinely not interested?

Don’t pretend to be interested
As a telemarketer, I worked on a commission. Getting someone to answer the phone was the hardest part; when someone did actually pick up, I tried desperately to make a sale. Many people would answer the phone, and to be polite, listen to me for 30 seconds or so. Then they would hang up without saying anything. If you know you’re not interested from the outset, tell me. It’ll save both of us time, and it won’t hurt my feelings.

Don’t be rude
Let me just start by saying that telemarketers are people too. This means two things:

  • They’re not evil.
  • They can get frustrated, like anybody else.

When you’re working in an industry where you’re constantly being yelled at, hung up on, and treated poorly, it’s easy to have a bad attitude. While a telemarketer will never, ever be explicitly rude, some telemarketers can become downright vindictive after a hard day. I had co-workers who’d call rude people back just to be irritating. Was it wrong? Yes. Did it still happen? Absolutely. Be nice to your telemarketer, and they’ll be nice to you.

Don’t lie
Give your telemarketer a little credit: They know when you’re lying. People often try to shake telemarketers by telling them that the person they’re trying to reach is out of town. If you tell me that the homeowner is out of town for two weeks, I’ll call you back in two weeks, simple as that. I’ve heard every excuse in the book: vacations, broken toes, gunshot wounds, jail time, and one woman even told me she couldn’t talk because her stairway had collapsed. People are creative. While their extravagant lies sometimes gave me a good chuckle, they wasted everyone’s time. Lying to your telemarketer is usually a lose-lose situation.

Use five simple words
The best technique for curing your phone line of unwanted calls? Answer the phone and say “take me off your list.” If you’re one of those well-intentioned folks who say that you’re “not interested,” we’ll probably call you back in a few days. Why? Purchasing phone numbers can be expensive, so companies will call you as many times as they legally can just to try to make a sale. If you’re truly “not interested,” you can avoid the calls by telling them explicitly to put you on their do not call list. By law, your phone number will be permanently taken out of the queue, and you won’t receive calls from that company again.

Get on the National Do Not Call Registry
Since February of 2008 it’s prevented most telemarketers from doling out unsolicited calls to annoyed consumers. It’s really easy to register. Just head over to their website, and enter the phone number(s) you wish to add, as well as your email address. You should stop receiving calls within 31 days.

Be aware that placing your number on this registry won’t stop all calls
If it did, I wouldn’t be writing this article. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), calls from, or on behalf of, political organizations, charities, and telephone surveyors are still permitted, as are calls from companies who you have an existing business relationship with, or companies to whom you’ve provided express agreement in writing to receive their calls. To break it down for you, certain groups can call you, and so can anyone to whom you’ve given written permission. Which leads to my next point…

Don’t give out your phone number unless you really know where it’s going
People always demanded to know how I got their number. The truth is, I didn’t know. They could have called our hotline for information, requested information from our website, or more likely, provided their phone number to a third-party website who sold us their information. If you enter your phone number online, read the fine print to make sure they won’t be selling it.

My experience as a telemarketer gave me a lot of insight into the best ways to deal with telemarketing calls. While some of these techniques may not work for all telemarketing calls, many of them will. Just try your hardest to remember that telemarketers are hardworking individuals, just like you. By being polite, answering the phone, and requesting to be placed on their do not call list, you can stop the phone calls, and give the telemarketer more time to call customers who may actually be interested.


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This Post Has 28 Comments

  1. I feel you. I get at least 10 calls a day and all from different phone numbers. It is harassment. If I wanted to talk to them I would answer the phone. It’s terrible when I sit down to dinner and I have to get up because my phone rings and it’s a stupid telemarketing call. Or I’m upstairs and my phone rings and I run down the steps to answer it.

    1. That sounds obnoxious, Chris! If you haven’t done so already, you can register your phone number for the Do Not Call list by visiting or by calling 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you wish to register. Hope this helps!

      Kevin Graham

    1. Hey Simmoe:

      I’ve edited your comment to remove your phone number, but someone will be reaching out. Have a great day!

      Kevin Graham

  2. You don’t get it… STOP CALLING US! Especially when we’ve listed (and relisted) our number on the supposed DO NOT CALL LIST.

    1. Hey, Dianne! Due to the nature of this post, we don’t know if you’re referring to all telemarketers or home loan experts from Quicken Loans. If you don’t want any more calls from Quicken Loans, please let me know, and I’ll make sure you are opted out.

      1. Thats odd, because I told them I was under contract with a different loan type and that I no longer needed their services. Guess what I just had a call from someone else just minutes ago. Who was obviously trying to find some way to get back into my life and sell me something. Its been awhile since I did this, but I hung up on him.

        1. Hey Mateo-

          We’ve opted you out of phone calls from us. It can take up to 48 hours for numbers to be purged from our system. If you still get calls after that, let us know!

          Kevin Graham

  3. Who the hell would get a business loan from someone calling you illegally? If they are lawbreakers from the get-go, imagine how they would treat your loan!

  4. exactly how many times are they allowed to call? a million? I have a company that has been calling me 15-30 times a day EVERY DAY for 2 weeks. every single time they are told I am not interested and to quit calling – yet they continue to call and harass me everyday. So even those suggestions do not work.

  5. I would like and will look into making the phone companies liable for this.
    Phone companies benefit from selling service to these so-called companies. Phone companies do not protect the victims (normal citizens) they are pandering to the telemarketers.
    Phone companies CAN screen the people they are selling services to.
    Why aren’t they stopping it?
    Why are we only allowed to block a limited number of phone numbers through AT&T and other phone service providers?
    Why haven’t they given people the option of blocking as many calls as they want?
    I know there is a better way to stop the harassment and the phone companies could rein it in…if they wanted to.
    I loose business everyday because even when these bogus companies call me and hang up their ‘dial tone’ takes up space on my recorder. I come home to a long list of hang ups and the recorder id full. I am forced to use email mostly for communication because I dont want telemarketers to get my cell phone number!

  6. Im getting these kind of calls from You… QUICKEN loans. What a joke. I’m losing respect for this company. I’m receiving Telemarketing calls from You!!! Yes I have a loan with you. You call my land line I answer and noone is there.. Just clicking noises then my cell phone immediately rings… Same thing… Noone is there This is HARASSMENT. I’ve called back and informed the person who answered that I don’t appreciate nor want these calls… Now in response …When there is official business needed I won’t be answering the phone. You are alienating customers.

    1. Hi Cheryl! Thank you for the feedback. I’m sharing this with our broader team so they can look into it.

  7. the only way to stop this is rudeness, if you are rude they stop calling…It isn’t a right for them to call, it is an INVASION that gives you the right to lash out at the companies doing this GARBAGE. I buy my phone service, I pay for an unlisted number, and yet they robocall and so they deserve to be treated BADLY, yelled at, for invasion of privacy…especially in this technological age, they shouldn’t be ALLOWED to waste your time, tie up your line for bombarding you with scams, junk that NO ONE needs, wants or desires. Give them the worst time possible, and NO ONE will take the job. The DNC list is a farce…please. Charities, which are mostly SCAMS are still able to call, politicians are STiLL able to call, and NO ONE needs either. Charities wouldn’t have to solicit if they are RUN correctly, people would GIVE, but only scam ones hound the public. Politicians are just criminals…slandering other candidates and wasting everyone’s time with lies…

  8. I just received TWO calls from the same company-as soon as I ask “who am I speaking to?” they hang up on me-BOTH TIMES. This happens over and over-if you’re afraid to ID yourself why should I do business with you? Our number has been on the Federal Do Not Call Registry for several years and as far as I can tell this does no good whatsoever. So, FU to this writer and his buddies-I will continue feigning interest and asking stupid questions and wasting your time every chance I get, just as a courtesy to my fellow Luddites who depend on land lines. Don’t like it? Maybe the INDUSTRY should start a “don’t waste your time calling”list if this is so onerous. I’m retired and have wanted a new hobby-telemarketer payback is easy and inexpensive: I hope more Boomers will join my revolt.

  9. Absolutely agree on calling Bullshit on this article. I AM on the DNC list. It doesn’t matter. I block the phone numbers and they auto dial with another one. They clog up my voicemail. I have absolutely NO inclination to be nice, nor do i have to. I used to be nice and it made no difference. I’ve had telemarketers lie to me, argue with me, and call me back repeatedly (10 times in like 7 minutes) when I finally resorted to answering and then cutting off the call. Then I let it go to voicemail and the asshole STILL called over and over again.

    I like my phone number and I’m not changing it. Maybe I’ll just start a class action lawsuit.

  10. What the hell. Why are half of your tips about being polite to telemarketers or to make their jobs easier? Fuck them. And fuck you. If you’re unskilled and inconsiderate enough to take a job like that knowing that the point of that job is to scam people into buying things they don’t want and can’t afford, then you deserve anything you get. And getting you creeps all pissed off is a wonderful way to vent.

  11. You are so full of it. I got put on both the National and California do not call list and it has not stopped call one. I refuse to be polite to someone who is trying to rip me off. I tell the solar people all the time to take me off your call list and stop trying to rip me off. Nothing! just more calls.

  12. This article is a JOKE. We read, “don’t let the phone ring”, followed by “Don’t answer the phone and hang up”. Meaning WHAT? Either you let it RING, or you stop it from ringing. Is there a middle way? And the following is a real kicker: “Be nice to your telemarketer, and they’ll be nice to you.” HUH? Be nice to MY telemarketer? I neither want nor HAVE a telemarketer. These jerks come into our homes UNINVITED, annoying us and wasting our time, DESPITE many of us being on the national no call registry, which the author advises us to register with. I don’t WANT telemarketers to be “nice” to me, I don’t want interaction with them, PERIOD. The author also suggests that we politely ask telemarketers to remove us from their calling lists. It DOESN’T WORK. And please, spare me the “telemarketers are people with feelings too” crap. They know full well that what they do is hated, unwanted, and ILLEGAL in relation to calling numbers on the DNC list. An ex-telemarketer gives advice on how to stop annoying twits like her from calling a gazillion times a week: be nice and say “pretty please”. Ba-LON-y!

  13. … 99% of the calls on my land line are “nuisance” calls and I rarely get them on my cellphone. Solution? I’m getting rid of the land line. And I like the denial of service idea

  14. “Take me off your list” DOES NOT WORK!!! I’ve done that and seemed to make things worse!!
    I have a contact on my phone where I assign all my phone numbers from Quicken Loans and it’s up to 43 numbers now!! I have 13 voice mails from you guys all with different names but I can count only 3 different voices! Ria and Lauren sound identical and have the same dialogue! Nick and Craig, same voice same dialogue! Carl and Ben, same voice same dialogue!
    “Telemarketers are people too”??? Not when they lie to me like that!!!!

  15. It is factually incorrect to tell them ‘take me off you list.’ They legally do not have to take you off the list. What you should say is ‘put me on your do not call list’

    the irony of this story is that the authors states that we should not hang up, don’t let it ring, and don’t act interested because it is wasting their time. Then shortly after they state that if we say we are not interested they will just call back in a few weeks because phone lists are expensive.

    While I try not to be rude, the only people that I want to talk to on the phone are my friends. Since you are not my friend, don’t expect me to act like your friend.

  16. Side income or holiday jobs are always popular amongst stay home mothers, students even working adults who need that extra cash to go on a holiday or get that playstation, ipad and much more

  17. I’d like to see a DDOS (distributed denial of service) tool that consumers could get/use to flood telemarketers’ ip telephony phone servers.

  18. I think that you are right, that some people tend to get angry at telemarekting companies. In Denmark however, tlemarketing companies mostly call B2B, since telemarketing is not allowed to B2C(apart from a few businesses)

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