The best way to get rid of annoying cold calls

Hello. Boy Three meets my new fish-eye lens


“Miss Arnison, Miss Ellen Arnison.”


“Ellen. That’s my mother’s name too. Ha ha ha.”


“Yes. I’m garble garble splurt from hurfle mumble UK.”


Louder “Garble garble splurt from hurfle mumble UK. I’m doing a short household survey.”

Well you can guess the rest. Survey, not selling. But a survey that starts off by wanting to know who you are, where you live and if it’s your own house. It might include questions like: “If you could save money by buying a product that didn’t even know you needed, would you?”

I get around three of these calls a day and they are extraordinarily annoying. They waste my time and stretch my good manners and credibility. I didn’t know that Ellen was a partiularly common name in India. 

It seems I’m not alone Crystal Jigsaw was getting cross at them today too. She said; “When a cold caller starts his spiel with “How are you today?” you know he’s a knob head.”

Knob head or not, I suppose they’re just doing their jobs and some people must find their service worthwhile, but I’m not among them. It just drives me nuts and I want them to stop. 

I’ve tried explaining patiently that I’m not interested and would they remove me from the list, but it doesn’t seem to have any impact on the number of calls. 

What is the best response?

Go along with it. Might be line of least resistance but I can’t help thinking that the end result will be an even more tedious phone call. 

Hang up. Just immediately as soon as it’s clear this isn’t a call I’m interested in. It still seems a bit brutal and, in fact, one rang straight back saying “it appears our call was disconnected”.

Refuse to answer. My preferred option. I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business whether or not I own the house, so I won’t tell them. Often the caller hangs up on me at that point. 

Get awkward. I’ve tried insisting on getting the detail of the company that’s calling, their offices, the name of the person on the phone. Occasionally they get fed up and hang up. Sometimes the deceit is so outrageous things can’t continue. During one call the speaker ended up claiming their ‘survey’ company belonged to the UK government. 

I asked a few of the good folk of Twitter what they’d do. Very Frustrated Pete said he’d asks the caller what they’re wearing and added: “They usually hang up when I say ‘Hang on, let me get comfortable first’

Big Milk Thing says she just hands the phone to her 22 month old and, remarkably, some of the callers continue to try to get a sensible response. 

Pogster has a fiendish tactic. She said: “As I resent ‘how are you?’ from an unknown caller, have been known to tell them I am dying – which is true as we all will die.

What’s best way to get rid of them and how can we make them stop? 

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  1. debbie says

    I had a spate of calls from people saying they were calling from “your internet service provider”. I found the question “So which company is that then?” took the wind out of their sails a bit. xxx

  2. says

    I just say ' Oh thank you for calling, but I did this last week' very pleasantly, then hang up.
    They never ring back.
    If people come to the door I tell them I'm just the nanny and aren't allowed to talk to strangers.

  3. says

    I think that's the millions dollar question – we'll never get them to stop, these calls will only get worse as the economy gets tighter. I get around 3 or 4 a day too, but I also get around 5 International calls a day also – those I don't answer though because it says on International on the phone display. I'm with TPS but it makes hardly any difference. Withheld calls still get through. Occasionally I say 'no thank you' then another day I might say 'go away' very loudly. I have been known to use foul language especially if I get a call whilst I'm eating or having a quick break. They are phenomenally annoying but I fear we will never see them come an end. I like the tactic of putting the phone on the desk and ignoring it.

  4. says

    I think the TPS loophole is that they can't stop 'surveys' only sales calls. So a 'survey' confirms you are solvent and gets a response to something they can follow up.

  5. says

    They are annoying. My current tactic is picking up the phone but not speaking. Tempted to hand phone to my 5yo, but who knows what I'd end up with if I did that!


  6. says

    I often say “yes yes but can you just hang on as something is boiling over” then when I return to the receiver a few minutes later they have gone. First of all it doesn't make me feel like the rude customer as it was their choice to hang up, secondly if they hung on at all it was costing their company money so possible deterrent for the future and thirdly for the time they were hanging on they were not annoying someone else!

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