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How to Handle Political Telemarketing? 275

Posted by Cliff
from the obnoxious-calls-are-still-obnoxious-calls dept.
TheOtherChimeraTwin writes "Slashdot has touched on telemarketing in the past. The No Call lists work pretty well for me except for a flood of political calls. They guys use automated dialers with recorded messages and use bogus caller id information, calling back multiple times. Political surveys are done by real people, but they hang up on me if I stray from answering their questions. Does anyone have a solution better than just hanging up on these slime? I'd just vote for their opponent, but sometimes I'm getting called by both sides. The distraction of these calls is annoying and the problem is only going to get worse."
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How to Handle Political Telemarketing?

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  • by Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) on Friday August 04, 2006 @09:22PM (#15850041)
    Join the libertarian party ... they don't have enough money to telemarket.
    • Re:Do what I did (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wolvesofthenight (991664) on Friday August 04, 2006 @10:54PM (#15850378)
      Voting for a third party is actually a very good option. If everyone that is whining about the current political duopoly would stop whining and vote for someone else then the duopoly would fall apart. People normally counter argue that you are throwing your vote away because they 3rd party will never win. I disagree with this because: - There are currently several independent congressman. - While they might not win this race more people who voted mainstream might vote for them next time if they are noticed in this race. People will take you a lot more seriously if you got 15% last election instead of 1.5%. - A large number of people don't because they don't like either of the 2 main parties. If they would get out and vote for 3rd parties then we would see a lot more 3rd parties winning. Most importantly, don't get that you have more than one vote! There are many issues on a single ballot, so you can vote mainstream for president and 3rd party for other offices. Last election I felt that the presidential race was very close and that there was a huge difference between Bush & Kerry. I voted for one of them even though I felt that one of the other candidates would do a better job. However, a number of other offices I often voted 3rd party because there was not nearly as much at stake. If more people in my state will start doing this then we can get a 3rd (and hopefully a 4th) party going locally. After that we can work toward another party for president.
      • People will take you a lot more seriously if you got 15% last election instead of 1.5%.

        And those parties, almost invariably, have a one-issue platform that never appeals to more than a few percent of people.

        The exception being parties like Perot's party which was built around Ross Perot and fell apart once he was discredited.
    • This is true. The LP doesn't get Federal money* like the Republicans and Democrats do. I would hope that if they were ever offered even a fraction of the amount given to the main parties that they would turn it down on principle. But then, they're politicians, too.

      * read: your money, for those in the US.
      • I can't find a link right now, but I remember reading about Libertarian candidates nation-wide rejecting government funding for their campaigns...

    • Re:Do what I did (Score:3, Interesting)

      by morleron (574428)
      I agree. I've joined the Libertarians not only because they don't do calls of this sort, but also because I firmly believe that it's time to get government off our backs. However, that's kind of beside the point here.

      A good friend of mine turns these calls into what he terms the "How Long can I String Them Along Game" in which the goal is to see how long you can keep the idiot making the call on the line. The technique works like this:

      Caller: Hi, I'm calling in regard to Senator Joe Congresscritter's ca
  • as important to Democracy as Diebold, Bush v. Gore, and voting for the dead guy.

    Tell them you intend to vote for CowboyNeal!

  • How about... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bin_jammin (684517) <Binjammin@gmail.com> on Friday August 04, 2006 @09:23PM (#15850045)
    trying to track down who's actually calling you, and getting a restraining order against them. Or you can create a web site about it and expose whomever may be responsible, odds are they won't take too kindly to the exposure.
    • or threaten to track em down and rip their genitals off.
    • Or say, "I'm not interested, please take me off your list."

      But hey, everyone needs to feel important.
      • That works soooo well when they use recorded messages to call you with. That is illegal for everyone else to do, but politicians are allowed to. OH and they spoof the caller id. Good luck with your little idea of "take me off your list"

        I think if someone else did that, it would probably be a felony, Run for office and you get to break as many laws as you want.
  • well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zxnos (813588) <zxnoss@gmail.com> on Friday August 04, 2006 @09:23PM (#15850046)
    just lie to them. but seriously there is a big problem. if you ignore or lie to political telemarketers dont complain when politicians do whacky things by relying on polling data.
    • I just tell them i'm too drink to talk politics then start asking about thier religion and why they don't see the light like i did.

      This will get your name off the list pretty quick. It doesn't matter what religion you tell them although picking a competiter like lutherin verses catholic or muslim would be a good way to get thier goat. I used to act like i was favoring a certain religion just to trash it when they proclaimed it to gain my attention.
  • by MarkusQ (450076) on Friday August 04, 2006 @09:26PM (#15850056) Journal

    The calls are the least of your problems.

    In addition to making annoying phone calls, they are also bilking you (and every member of your household) out of tens of thousands of dollars (each) to pay for foreign entanglements (wars, giving weapons to loonies, etc.) to stroke their half baked dreams of empire, selling your rights to the highest corporate bidder, who pay them back with booze and hookers (at your expense of course) and lying to you every chance they get. Oh yeah, and spying on you, paying newscasters to lie to you (again, your tax dollars at work), letting their corporate masters override you and your doctor's decisions about your health care, and hundreds of other things.

    Plus that, they are being such jerks in the world at large that people you've never met hate you enough to kill you, just because they represent you.

    But if the phone calls are the straw that breaks your camel's back, so be it.

    --MarkusQ

    • Hey, he didn't say it was Republicans calling him...
      • by MarkusQ (450076) on Friday August 04, 2006 @11:35PM (#15850525) Journal
        Hey, he didn't say it was Republicans calling him...

        I never said he did. It might well be Joe "bought-and-paid-for" Lieberman. Or Hillary "screw defending the constitution I have to look tough and centrist even if it means selling out (and think of the children)" Clinton. Or Jane "I heart defense contractors" Harman. Or dozens of others.

        Republicans don't have a patent on selling us out, they just happen to be doing so more efficiently at the moment. If the inside the beltway, big donor fueled DLC Democrats could get their heads out of their polls I'm sure they could do just as well.

        Likewise, all the parties seem to have a smattering of honest, intelligent, hard working people who will stand up for what they believe in and do the job we sent them for (until somebody makes them an offer they can't refuse, or they die in a small plane crash).

        --MarkusQ

  • lie (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04, 2006 @09:32PM (#15850086)
    I normally just make crap up.

    I want my flying car, a county wide monorail system, holoTV that bring hot girls into your living room like on Logans Run, domed cities and a discount on soylet green crumbs.

    And masturbation in public to be LEGAL.

  • Be Determined (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cagle_.25 (715952) on Friday August 04, 2006 @09:34PM (#15850093) Journal

    Hi, this is Kimberly from the [Republican | Democratic] National Committee...

    Hi Kimberly, my wife and I don't make any donations whatsoever over the phone, and we don't answer poll questions either.

    Sure, I can understand that. We would like to send you a free brochure with our platform on it, but we need to have some level of commitment from you. Could I put you down for $25?

    (It turns out she actually can't understand what I said). I'm sorry. Like I said, we don't make contributions over the phone. Good luck in November.


    CLICK. BZZZ...

    ---

    For the record, any political contributions we make go to PACs. We figure that the money will be better distributed to the candidates that actually support our positions, than if we gave to the national parties.

    • I used to get rid of the political money grabbers really quick when I lived in the US. After they gave their little pitch I'd simply say: "I'd love to support you, is there a limit on what foreigners can donate?" Then watch them back track and leave as fast as possible! Of course since I am British it was true but I sure those of you who are US citizens can improvise!

      Don't try it in Canada though - I tried the "I'm British" when they came canvasing for votes and they never believe me that I don't get a vote
    • If they're live, same as before commercial solicitations were banned.

      Hi, this is Kimberly from the [Republican | Democratic] National Committee...

      "I'm sorry. but we are not allowed to respond telephone solicitations."

      Never explain further; don't get drawn into discussions about who does not allow you.

    • > For the record, any political contributions we make go to PACs. We figure that the money will be better distributed
      > to the candidates that actually support our positions, than if we gave to the national parties.

      God damn! It just makes my day to see someone else with a political clue here at slashdot! I don't care if your preferred PACs are moveon.org, CPAC or the NRA, just the fact you have figured that out puts you miles ahead of 90% of the general population and apparently about 99% of slashdot
  • by Maclir (33773) on Friday August 04, 2006 @09:35PM (#15850098) Journal
    If we get a call from a number we don't recognise, or is blocked from giving the caller id, we let the answering machine take it. If the person starts to leave a message, and we want to talk to them, we pick up. But telemarketers hang up as soon as the hear a machine.
    • I came home one day to find 27 new messages on my machine. All but one of them was "This was a political survey call. We will try again later."

      The other was some pediatrics office leaving a reminder message about an appointment for my kid. News to me. I wish people would tell me I had kids..
    • What I would absolutely love is to have an Asterisk server that used its "modem" as a connection to a land-line. (Finally! A good use for a WinModem!)

      When calling in, it would:
      - "Time-shift" by a second or two unless a receiver is picked up.
      - Timeshifting allows it to detect a fax and decode it into a TIFF, then deposit that TIFF on the filesystem or in an email inbox.
      - Timeshifting allows it to detect caller ID info and compare to a black/white list system.
      - For faxes, non-whitelist numbers are automatical
    • but the damn autodialing robots do not.
  • Tips (Score:2, Informative)

    by tonyr1988 (962108)
    Unfortunately, political groups are exempt from the "Do Not Call" lists. I don't have a home phone, so I have the joy of not having to worry about any telemarketers. From various web sources, it looks like there's no real action you can take (legally) to proactively defend yourself. However, I've found two possible solutions:
    • When you do get a telephone solicitation, find out on whose behalf they are calling, ask that you be permanently removed from their calling list, and tell them that you are writing t
  • Easy (Score:4, Funny)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Friday August 04, 2006 @09:41PM (#15850117) Journal
    Me: "Which candidate is this?"
    Them: Candidate A
    Me: Who is his opponent?
    Them: Candidate B
    Me: Okay. I'll vote for Candidate B. Thanks for interrupting my day.

    Enough peopl do this, people won't call.
    • Re:Easy (Score:3, Funny)

      by cagle_.25 (715952)
      In Candidate B's office

      Op #1: Hey guys, I've got a list of contrarian voters. Who wants to make the calls?

      Op #2: That would be me. Who's first?

      Op #1: "MyLongNickName (822545)"

      Op #2 (dials 822545): Hi, I'm calling on behalf of Candidate A's campaign

      You: I'll vote for Candidate B. Thanks for interrupting my day.

      Op #2: Sorry to bother you, sir. (hangs up) Yes! Another easy vote.

      • But at least then what they're doing would be illegal, and eventually would likely lead to candidates being disqualified (or at least fined and losing votes).
        • Re:Easy (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cagle_.25 (715952)
          True, it would be illegal. But in my state (Maryland, home of dirty politics), there would be a fine and after four years, no one would remember. I know of no case -- although my knowledge is limited -- in which a candidate was removed from office because of dirty campaign tricks.
    • Next day:
      Me: "Which candidate is this?"
      Them: Candidate B
      Me: Who is his opponent?
      Them: Candidate A
      Me: Okay. I'll vote for Candidate A. Thanks for interrupting my day.

      Now who do you vote for?
      • Candidate C.
  • Get a cell phone (Score:5, Informative)

    by c0d3h4x0r (604141) on Friday August 04, 2006 @09:54PM (#15850170) Homepage Journal
    What the hell are you doing still using a land line, anyway?

    Cancel your land line and get a cell phone (and remember to put a text-messaging block on it). You won't receive ANY telemarketing calls.

    • Mod parent up (Score:3, Insightful)

      by porcupine8 (816071)
      I haven't had a landline in over three years, and I haven't gotten a telemarketing call (political or otherwise) in just as long. The closest I've come is some theater I'd seen a show at asking for a donation, and that was a couple years ago.

      Of course, there will come a day when so few people have landlines (that they actually use for voice) that politicians will make sure they can canvas the cel phones too, but until that day comes it's great.

    • I ocaistionally get some sort of marketing message on my cell, It appears a new voice message even if my cell was on and could have rung. I don't know what it is because it's in spanish and I don't speak spanish. I'll be really mad if it's costing me to get these.

      My brothers have had drone on recorded messages, they even hung up only to find that if they picked up the phone too soon the recorded message was still droneing on... makes you wonder what you would do if you had a need for emergency services and
  • Don't hang up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheLink (130905) on Friday August 04, 2006 @10:02PM (#15850196) Journal
    If you don't mind being rude try this:

    If you are busy ask them to hold on for a while- e.g. "Please hold on, I'll be back".

    Then finish doing whatever it is you are doing (dinner, shower etc) and if there's nothing else more urgent/important to do, come back and answer their questions.

    This way you also delay them from pestering the next person.
    • No - ask them to hold and then give the phone to a toddler (should you be so fortunate as to have one handy.)
    • I don't mind at all, and here's how I handle it.

      "Fuck off, your candidate just lost my vote"

      *Hang up phone*

      If I give a shit about the candidate, I might call or email his/her office and let them know about the problem. Otherwise, I'm not so kind.
    • I've chosen three basic responses:

      "Good day." (click) (90% of the time)

      If disturbed because I'm waiting for someone real to call, I have started off with, "Listen, you goat-buggering parasite....", with the volume rising rapidly. I have suggested that telemarketers get some job that requires skill, demonstrates they have self-respect, and produces a benefit to society, such as squeegee-man at an interstate on-ramp. This level of effort and invective is rare, as it takes a particularly annoying calle
  • If we get ourselves a dictatorship we won't have to worry about this shit.
  • Why don't you tell us who the 2 candidates are? Or better yet, blog about it.

    Or do you think Lieberman's about to lose his Senate seat because everyone stayed quiet about the details?
  • This [odeo.com] (sorry; podcast, but at least it's short) is the best answer I've heard. I'm going to put this on my Asterisk system.
  • Both sides? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Friday August 04, 2006 @10:17PM (#15850255)

    I'd just vote for their opponent, but sometimes I'm getting called by both sides.

    A perfect example of the fundamental problem with American democracy. The two major parties both stink, but you won't even consider voting for anybody else, to the point where you actually forget other parties exist. Both sides? You really think there are only two candidates? Go ahead and vote for Kodos.

  • Call Him Back (Score:3, Interesting)

    by John Hasler (414242) on Friday August 04, 2006 @10:32PM (#15850303) Homepage
    Call the politician involved at home at dinner time on Sunday evening and tell him you are going to vote against him because of the call.
  • Just like any other telemarketing call. "No thanks" [click]
    • Re:Hang up (Score:3, Informative)

      by deadhammer (576762)
      Won't work. Had to work telemarketing about five years ago (not the high point of my life), and they DO distinguish between "no thanks" and "do not call". "No thanks" simply means you're getting recycled back into the "2nd run" call list. "Do not call" means just that, if they violate it it's a $500.00 fine. So here's what you say:

      "Let me interrupt you. I do not appreciate these calls, period. I'm not interested in your (service/product/political pitch). Put me on your Do Not Call list, and I forbi

  • by gettingbraver (987276) on Friday August 04, 2006 @10:44PM (#15850349)
    I got a telemarketing call from one of the major parties the other day. I politely thanked the caller, said that I understood how important fundraising was to a candidate, then mentioned that I was a member of the Green Pary and asked if the caller like to make a contribution. THEY hung up on me!
  • Make a record of which political groups are doing slimball telemarketing tactics (include pertinent details such as false caller IDs, mudslinging or misleading comments, etc.) Next put in on a weblog or if you have enough call your local news agency, either way the political parties will quickly respond to bad press. Calling them to complain proabbly will only get thier campaign manager who authorized the tactic in the first place.
  • As soon as I realize it's a telemarketer, instead of getting all riled up about this microscopic inconvenience, I just hang up.

    "Political surveys are done by real people, but they hang up on me if I stray from answering their questions. "

    As well they should. Polls are not about your feelings, their accuracy is almost completely dependant on people answering very carefully worded questions in very precise ways. If you don't want to take the poll, hang up.
  • by thdexter (239625) <(ten.snoisuffus) (ta) (retxed)> on Saturday August 05, 2006 @03:00AM (#15851171) Journal
    I'm volunteering locally (Idaho's 1st District) for the Democratic Party. A few nights ago I called people for the first time after having only gone door-to-door beforehand. Let me share my perspective...

    First, I'm not doing any fundraising, over the phone or in person. I am doing polling, and if people are inclined to vote Democratic or they don't know about our candidates we're going to send them some mail and ask them to vote for our candidates. If the people are Republicans and will vote for the Republican nominees--we don't want to waste our time and money. I'm a political science major and I could get into some hardcore theoretical stuff but it's late.

    Anyway. So I'm not doing fundraising. Our lists aren't bought from shady Internet types, or Radio Shack, or tire companies, or credit card companies--they're from public voter registration data. Voters need not include phone numbers when they register, and some don't.

    I hate to be an elitist, here. But to suggest that a good fuck-you answer when you're contacted is to tell the person you're going to vote for the other party, to say that out of spite, I don't want your vote, anyway. I haven't been paid $1, in this land of $3/gal gasoline and my beat-up `89 Ford Tempo averaging 22mpg city. I have free minutes after 7pm but I'm paying $50/month for those free minutes. I am an unpaid volunteer working because I believe in the party. Have you no decency, sir? Are you so jaded that you refuse to believe anybody is ever acting in anything other than purely their own self-interest? Do you think that whoever's calling you, paid or not, asking for money or not--do you think you're really getting back at them if you vote for their opponent?

    I can only speak for myself but if someone strays from the questions I ask (which are purely "do you usually vote Democratic or Republican," "do you usually vote a straight ticket," "are you inclined or disinclined to support [candidate] for [office]," and if they're giving enthusiastic positive answers I'll ask if they'd like lawn signs for free) I respectfully acknowledge them with "that's fine" or "I understand." Sometimes I'll get people who want to talk my ear off, and I sometimes have to resort to a courteous "I'm afraid we're only doing polling on these specific questions tonight." Because we are. I have about eight lines, each with a name and the numbers 1-5. That's how I can put down your answer. I don't hang up on people, though I have been hung up on. I was once introducing myself and then somebody started talking over me and said "I'm not interested in donating any money." Before I could tell her I'm only doing polling--which, sincerely, I am--she'd hung up on me. Who's the asshole, here? The asshole who is asking Americans about their political beliefs or the asshole who's hanging up on somebody without letting the other person finish? It's no skin off my back. If someone tells me they don't vote, I'll thank them for their time and get off the phone.

    There's a particular set of bills that was passed a long time ago, these couple of amendments to the Constitution, and they guaranteed some freedoms: freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of speech, some others. I'm getting in touch with my fellow Americans because I believe in the candidates and the platforms the Democratic Party of Idaho supports. I respect the beliefs of those who disagree. But it's my right and, I feel, my duty to support political candidates who I feel will do a better job. That's why I don't vote a straight ticket when I vote. Forgive me, but I personally believe that voting and being politically involved is virtuous.

    The solution to problems that freedom brings isn't less freedom, it's more. If you have no political convictions then I suggest you courteously tell them as much and ask to not be called anymore. If they insist then you can progress or hang up as you'd like. If you have political convictions, though, maybe you can just tell them you'd like to keep them confidential. I really don't know what to tell you. If you think they're slime then this is probably falling on deaf ears.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The solution to problems that freedom brings isn't less freedom, it's more.
      Funny how your freedom trumps my freedom to control my own phone.

      If you have no political convictions then I suggest you courteously tell them as much and ask to not be called anymore.
      And if you have political convictions you are required to receive annoying phone calls?

      • Well, I disagree with you on where the demarcation of freedom is.

        If you don't think that democratic government is worthwhile then we don't have anything to talk about. I'm not denying you your right to control your own phone. I know a guy who wraps his cell phone in aluminum foil except when he's expecting a call or wants to make a call. Many do not answer their phones, or screen their calls whether by answering machine or voicemail or simply not answering when the number is unknown to them. I'm not spoofin
        • America and American democracy was founded on the notion that people should be engaged in their government.

          Careful. You're confusing "engaged in their governemnt" with "engaged in their political party." You are calling based on a single party or candidate affiliation. Perhaps I am already well-versed in your candidate because I am quite "engaged" and that is why I am hostile to your "affiliation" using me as a statistic to further his or her own cause.
    • by c0d3h4x0r (604141) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @09:09AM (#15851874) Homepage Journal
      Actually, you fucking moron, it's NOT your right to call and disturb people who don't wish to be disturbed by you, or to eat up the minutes they paid for in order to do it.

      There's a fundamental natural right that trumps anything the Constitution or case law might say you can do, and it's called "the right to be left alone". Leave people the fuck alone!

      You can believe and your cause and support your party all you wish, just so long as it doesn't involve infringing upon my natural right to be left the fuck alone.

      People like you truly disgust me. Your argument is no better than when the telemarketers bitched about losing their "right to free speech" when the Do Not Call list was enacted. Sorry, but my right to be left alone trumps your right to free speech, so fuck you.

    • I was once introducing myself and then somebody started talking over me and said "I'm not interested in donating any money." Before I could tell her I'm only doing polling--which, sincerely, I am--she'd hung up on me. Who's the asshole, here? The asshole who is asking Americans about their political beliefs or the asshole who's hanging up on somebody without letting the other person finish?

      The assholes are the other telemarketing companies, who put their employees under intense pressure to get the pitc

    • I'm happy to talk to you, as a human being, but if you use a predictive dialer and an automated recorded message, it's going to piss me off, and I will call the campaign office and express my extreme displeasure.
      • I am certainly not an automated recorded message nor do I employ a predictive dialer; as mentioned the phone numbers I have are from lists of registered voters. I've said elsewhere in this thread--I'm not interested in talking to people that don't want to talk to me. If one doesn't want to be contacted, we don't want to contact them. That's only sensible.
    • I don't hang up on people, though I have been hung up on. I was once introducing myself and then somebody started talking over me and said "I'm not interested in donating any money." Before I could tell her I'm only doing polling--which, sincerely, I am--she'd hung up on me. Who's the asshole, here? The asshole who is asking Americans about their political beliefs or the asshole who's hanging up on somebody without letting the other person finish? It's no skin off my back. If someone tells me they don't vot
      • That's fair, and I essentially agree. I could get into what I do but I don't imagine you're interested. Anyway, thanks for the comment.
        • The most valuable information the GP gave you was that you are annoying by association before you even get to the meat of the matter (poll, not pitch). That is not a personal attack on you, it is simply a statement of fact. That fact alone should get you thinking about re-evaluating the efficacy of your methodology.

          If you strongly believe that volunteering and data-gathering are important political ventures, then perhaps you should consider a different data-gathering method if association or perception ar
          • If you hadn't already divined I have already found justification for doing this. I agree with you, as I've said--being hung up on is legitimate. I have a box that I check to notify the data enterer that this person would not like to be contacted any further. But I think it's discourteous and I used a rhetorical device earlier; I think I'm doing something justifiable and going about it in a justifiable manner. You disagree. Fine. My methodology's efficacy isn't something I know figures about. I'm a student o
    • I am an unpaid volunteer working because I believe in the party. Have you no decency, sir? Are you so jaded that you refuse to believe anybody is ever acting in anything other than purely their own self-interest?

      But you are acting in your own self interest, or that of your party. Listen, if every jackass felt like they had the right to call me because they really believe in [insert item here] my phone would be ringing non stop. Why do you think your cause is any better than the 5 million others out ther
    • (note: I said this deeper in the thread, but it seemed better placed right here)

      she'd hung up on me. Who's the asshole, here?

      Does your strong political activism, volunteerism, and involvement extend to protecting my right to hang up on you rudely and decide to whom I speak and how? Why not?
  • Their computers are measuring the time, their pitch was listened to... Depress them by having that parameter go down on average.

    Also, although no one can hear you scream back at the recording, when aproached by the live campaigners for the same jerk, be sure to talk about nothing else, except how disappointed you are, that their representative chooses to violate your privacy with these automated phone calls.

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