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We get at least 20 calls per day that show up on the caller ID without a name and with either no phone number or a number with a New York metro area code. We usually don't bother answering such calls anymore. ("If it's important, they'll leave a message.") When we do answer, there's often no one on the other end. Other times, it's a tzedaka organization we may or may not have heard of.

Is this experience typical? How do you deal with it? Is there any way to get the number of such calls to decrease?

One organization calls repeatedly and insists that I pledged to give a donation. I'm sure that I never did, but they may have misconstrued one of my responses during one of their "can we send you an envelope for your pledge of $N" pitches. How can we get them to remove us from their books?

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I have the same challenge! Did any of the below solutions help? –  RCW Nov 23 '10 at 23:17
    
I just kept to my policy of not making commitments over the phone. I don't recall a change in the call volume. We ended up moving away to a community that doesn't happen to have a popular community phone directory, so our new number isn't on the lists yet. –  Isaac Moses Nov 24 '10 at 3:36
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You could also try this: dovbear.blogspot.com/2010/11/… –  Isaac Moses Nov 24 '10 at 3:49
    
Thanks. Very cute. –  RCW Nov 25 '10 at 23:51
    
I never give donations over the phone. Here's why. –  Shaul Behr May 17 '11 at 14:13

7 Answers 7

up vote 11 down vote accepted

I worked for one of the larger companies that called for various charity organizations.

The only way to get them to stop calling would be following this script:

  1. Caller: Hi, Mr. Moses, I'm Binny Weiss calling for Yeshivas Mir Tash...
  2. You: Who's Mr. Moses?? I'm sorry, you have the wrong number.

If you just say no, they will likely be calling you again. If you say maybe, they will surely be calling you again. If you say yes, they will definitely be calling you again. The only way that they won't call again is if the number is disconnected or it's a wrong number.

The bonus is that if we found a wrong number calling for any of our campaigns, the number would be removed from all of our lists.

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Tzvi, Welcome to mi.yodeya, and thanks very much for the excellent insider advice! I look forward to seeing you around. –  Isaac Moses Mar 28 '10 at 17:23
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Thanks. If anyone has any other questions about the tzedakah-telemarketing world, I'd be happy to answer. –  Tzvi Mar 28 '10 at 17:35

We tried all the suggestions given above and they didn't work for the most part. The phone just kept on ringing. I tried this once and it worked so I use it with the persistent ones and it seems to get them off the phone quickly.

Caller: I'm calling from__to thank you for your donation of $___..... Me: Thank you for calling! You've saved me a phone call. I'm collecting for tzedaka X, a most worthwhile tzedaka, and I know that you would just love to donate. Can I put you down for $54.00? Caller: Err, I'm calling about... Me: Not $54.00? Then I'll put you down for $36. What is your address so I can send out a reminder to you? At this point I get a dial tone.

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My father tried this method and had similar success. –  Bas613 Apr 4 '10 at 13:54

Caller: Hi, Mr. Moses, I'm Binny Weiss calling for Yeshivas Ahavas Kessef...

You: Mr. Moses? Oh, you want my father.

Caller: Yes. Is he in?

You: No.

Caller: When will he be back.

You: In 5 to 7 years.

You'll likely be removed from the list!!

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+1 for "yeshivas ahavas kessef"! Hilarious! –  HodofHod Jan 22 '12 at 13:42
    
Lol, yeshivas ahavas kessef, +1 x 100 (if I could) –  Adam Mosheh Jul 16 '12 at 14:33

We get a large number of phone calls from Tzedaka organizations as well. My policy is not to pledge over the phone, but to suggest they send mail and I will think about it, though I am careful not to agree to any pledge. I think the local police sent me a letter saying I pledged over the phone when I did not. I also would love it if there were a way to stop getting the phone calls, though I assume they get the number from the local phone lists or other organizations we have donated money to.

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We all get a large number of phone calls from Tzedaka organizations. We mostly don't answer the phone when a number or name we don't reconize shows up on the caller ID. That cuts out alot of requests, but I think for the most part the calls continue untill someone answers the phone and either gives or not. I find a bigger problem are the people who show up at the door collecting for organizaions or for themselves. I find very annoying the people who first ask for their organization and then for themselves personally. I find it much harder to turn someone down face to face. In the end I usually give these people a very small amount ($5 cash). The people at the door are never satisfied but I feel better that I didin't have to choose between dueling organizations that I never heard of.

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In our city, where shluchim are very common, I have seen signs on a number of people's doors to the effect of: "All tzeddakas will be given $5. Individuals will be given $10" or some variant. I don't know if it will help the double-dippers, but does seem to help avoid haggling over amount, something I find extremely distasteful. –  Jeremy Apr 1 '10 at 15:22

I also tell callers that I never pledge over the phone. And I usually only offer 1 dollar at the door. They usually take it. But then again, I live in Brooklyn, and things are probably different everywhere else.

May one be deceptive in order to stop these types of calls? Seems questionable to me. Perhaps if the caller herself is acting deceptively it would be OK.

One should also keep in mind the gemara in Baba Bathra 7b:

ההוא חסידא דהוה רגיל אליהו דהוה משתעי בהדיה עבד בית שער ותו לא משתעי בהדיה

Where a "Hasid" was held accountable for building a gate that prevented charity collectors from doing their thing. Although it seems that this was only an issue for a "Hasid" and not for mainstream Jews, it is still brought down for all of us to learn from. So we need to try and find a balance.

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I tell callers the same thing. Oddly, in the time since I originally asked this question, the issue has slowed down a great deal, for some reason. –  Isaac Moses Apr 8 '10 at 2:29
    
Barry, a physical doorway and gate blocking it is very different than not picking up the phone. As it is, we must place "filters" over our excessive use of communication technologies since we can only handle so much. It is too easy to set up a program to call and the telemarketer only picks up if you pick up. That is the latest strategy for "Phone shnorring." If they do not have the decency to have the receiver in hand when I say "Hello" then I believe that not picking up to begin with is an acceptable practice. –  Yahu Apr 5 '11 at 9:24

Sometimes I receive this kind of call to the office, I just tell them that this is an office and they hang up.

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Try this at home too. –  Double AA Jul 30 '12 at 7:25

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