Telemarketing is selling a product or service over the telephone. Many worthwhile products are marketed this way but there are also companies that employ a variety of high-pressure sales techniques to sell products over the telephone. Products/services can vary from insurance to travel to tickets to a benefit designed to raise money for a local charity.
The unscrupulous telemarketers often use sales techniques similar to those used in mail fraud. These techniques may involve prizes, sweepstakes, or contest winnings. The consumer may have won a free product or service, a free trip or even free magazines. To actually receive their winnings, the consumer is asked to provide a credit card number or checking account number, or even some cash to cover the shipping and handling of their prize. The end result is the consumer never sees any product or service. Or the product or service arrives along with an assertive sales person pitching an even better deal. Sometimes the consumer finds several unauthorized purchases made with their credit card number or money missing from their bank account. The variations on telemarketing schemes are too numerous to try to summarize here. The end result is usually a disappointed consumer with less money than before he answered his telephone.
Telemarketers often start with friendly questions and conversations, trying to establish rapport with the consumer before embarking on the sales pitch. This often makes it hard for the potential customer to ask searching questions or to just hang up.
If you are really interested in a product or service being sold over the telephone by an individual you have never met, make it your practice to ask the sales person to send you written information about whatever they are selling. A legitimate sales company will provide the requested information. A more unscrupulous telemarketer will provide a dozen reasons why they cannot send written information or why you do not want to wait to get information before making the purchase.
If you find the intrusion of telemarketers irritating even though you never even listen to their sales pitch, sign up on the Federal Trade Commission National Do Not Call Registry at 1-888-382-1222. You can also register on the web at: www.donotcall.gov. This will not stop all telemarketing calls but it will limit the number considerably.