IN RE TELEMARKETERS:
From Dan Saul: “I found your article on sales calls today very funny. After you are done seeing how long you can talk to the salesperson, however, there are a couple steps you can take to help decrease future calls.
“First, register for the do-not-call file of the Direct Marketing Association by sending your name, address and phone number to the:
Telephone Preference Service
Direct Marketing Association
P. O. Box 9014
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9014
“The list, which is available only for residential phone numbers, is updated four times a year and lets marketers know that you don’t want to be called. Once you register, your name will be kept on the list for five years. Unfortunately, however, telemarketers don’t need to check or honor this list.
“Second, if you still do get a call, notify the representative that you do not wish to receive any future telephone solicitations. By federal law the company must honor that request. Some states have stricter laws, so people who really want to stop phone calls should check with their local consumer authority.
“Hopefully these actions will free up your phone for calls from Elvis.”
A.T.: Thanks, Dan! (People have told me this really does cut down on the calls.)
From a dozen others: “What I do, when I get one of these calls, is ask the rep for her home phone number, and a convenient time for me to call her back.” A dozen others thank the rep for calling and immediately launch into a pitch for your product or charity.
From Winnie, Texas: “Our daughter is a freshman at Vassar College, a long way from Winnie, Texas, where her family lives. She lost her wallet several weeks ago, and we thought we had given her all the correct advice (cancel credit cards, call Social Security, etc.). But were we surprised when she received a letter from Blockbuster Video telling her she owed late fees of over $130! She argued them down to only paying $17 for the missing movie, but your advice is well taken. Who would remember little things like Video rental cards, when big things like American Express and Visa are uppermost in your memory of things to cancel?”
From Skip Eby: “I believe one key to a happy life is keeping things simple (the old KISS philosophy). One aspect of this is not keeping a lot of miscellaneous credit cards, etc. in my wallet. I find I get by quite nicely carrying only my drivers license, one credit card, commuter rail pass, and a telephone calling card in my wallet, along with a daily supply of cash. Copying the contents is a good idea, but combined with simplicity, even better.”