Reduce unwanted sales calls

Fed up with sales calls? Although it’s hard to eliminate every telemarketing call, there are steps you can take to reduce the number of calls you receive. Here are some strategies to follow to keep your supper hour free:

Always read the fine print
The first question often is – where did the telemarketing company get my number? Often these lists are developed when you:

  • answer a marketing offer, such as registering to receive coupons in the mail
  • enter a contest
  • give to charity
  • subscribe to a magazine
  • answer a survey
  • join a “points” club
  • use a credit card
  • order from a catalogue

Others are compiled through public information:

  • telephone directories
  • public records: if you own a house, car, boat, land; marriages, births, divorces

You can start reducing the number of calls you receive by carefully reading the fine print on any forms you fill out. Privacy legislation has come a long way and you will find that in most cases you have to agree to receive further offers before you are put on a list.

You may nt to contact companies with whom you already do business to ask them to remove you from any lists they share or sell to other companies (if they do) retroactively. This can take quite a bit of time, sometimes several months, but will significantly reduce the calls you receive.

Get off the list
Although the Liberal Government introduced a bill in December 2004 to create a “do not call” list similar to that in the United States, the legislation is still undergoing review and is not yet in effect. In the meantime there are other steps you can take to get off any telemarketing lists.

The Canadian Marketing Association offers a Do Not Contact Service free of charge to consumers. As their website states, “The Do Not Contact Service enables individuals to reduce the number of marketing offers they receive by mail, telephone and fax. Consumers register to have their names removed from marketing lists held by members of the Canadian Marketing Association.” Registering will cut down on the number of calls you receive, particularly calls from companies with whom you have not already done business. www.cmaconsumersense.org/marketing_lists.cfm

When you receive a call, don’t just hang up in frustration. Ask to speak to a supervisor and request that they ensure you are removed from their list – make it clear that you are holding them accountable by asking for their name and letting them know you are making note of the conversation. You can also ask where they got your name – sometimes this can help in tracking down the source of the call.

Discourage the practice entirely
Let’s face it – companies telemarket their products and charities have telemarketing fundraisers because it works for them. If telephone solicitation really bothers you, make it clear that you never donate or purchase products over the phone. And follow through.