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Euphemism used by telemarketers for their predatory telephonic practices.

You answer the phone with a cheerful "hello", and somehow forget to hang up during that tell-tale two to three second pause that gives you the blatent hint that a predictive dialer is transfering you, a "live one", to an available, underpaid, miserable call center employee. The drone on the other end, knowing that she will get a whooping if there is any extra delay, snaps into action, reading "Good morning, could I speak to Ima Sucker?"

"I'm sorry, she's not in at the moment, could I take a message?" you reply whether or not Ima is in.

"No message, this is a courtesy call. I'll try again later". Then she is gone before you get the chance to suggest otherwise. This is a sure sign that dinner will be interrupted tonight by yet another one of these calls.

Most of these "courtesy calls" seem to come from credit card companies trying to either sell you an unnecessary balance protection scheme, a shopping discount service, or a travel club. Or they are trying to get you to rob Peter to pay Paul by transfering your other card balances to their card. They will happily market you into bankruptcy, so now they have bought off congress and President Dubya to assure that your unsecured debt still will get paid even when you do declare bankruptcy.

All is not lost. There are ways to evade telemarketers. In the UK, you can use the Telephone Preference Service. In the US, many states have no-call lists. My state, Massachusetts, just legislated such a list, not yet implemented. See also How to get rid of a telemarketer.

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