MONEY

Telemarketers: Can’t live with them, can’t threaten to kill them

Nobody likes telemarketers. Heck, most telemarketers probably don’t even like themselves. But no matter how much they annoy you, it’s probably not a good idea to threaten to burn down their offices and kill them.

One Ohio man was arrested and charged with making a “terrorist threat” for apparently doing just that.

The story is a little complicated, but what evidently happened was this: The man, Charles Papenfus, got an allegedly deceptive notice “warning” him his car’s factory warranty was about to expire. Angry about the notice — the Papenfus family says they’ve never had a warranty on that particular car — Papenfus, it appears, called up the company (a hawker of “extended warranties” that had settled a lawsuit over using similar tactics in the past) to voice his outrage. At some point in this phone call (or in a subsequent one initiated by the company), Papenfus allegedly made the threats that got him jailed.

After spending several weeks in jail, Papenfus is out on bond now, but still faces charges that could send him to prison for up to four years.

Whether you think he actually is a terrorist, or some kind of folk hero, he’s gotten himself into some serious trouble.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can fight back against telemarketers and sleazy marketers in general without putting yourself in legal jeopardy. The best way, of course, is to put yourself on the National Do Not Call Registry.

But if you find yourself still getting calls, try these tactics, which are guaranteed to annoy the callers at least as much at they annoy you:

1) Tell them you’ve got the Glengarry leads, and they can’t have them.

2) Simply repeat back everything they say, in a high squeaky voice, the way you did when you were a six-year-old trying to annoy your older brother.

3) Talk in a ridiculous fake accent.

4) Don’t say anything; just make fart sounds into the phone.

5) Take a tip from Jerry Seinfeld, and ask them for their home phone number so you can call them back later.

Hey, if you’re going to engage in non-violent resistance, you might as well have a little fun, too.

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