I don’t really have a problem with telemarketing. They are in the business of supplying a product and I assume they only want to reach out to people interested in their product or else they are just wasting everyone’s time.

So today I got a call on my personal cell phone from the number (312) 506-3688 – I didn’t recognize the number, but I answered anyway.

“Do you take credit cards?”

Well, since they didn’t identify themselves, I figure they have the wrong number.

“No, this is a personal cell phone, you must have the wrong number.”

“Well is this XXXX tenancy?”

“Nope, have a nice day.”

And I hung up. They actually had my last name right, but I’m not a business and don’t deal with tenants as I’m not a landlord.

Then I think, what would they have done if I had said yes? Give me their credit card info over the phone to a wrong number? So I did a quick google search on the phone number and found this interesting little service at www.800notes.com .

Apparently, this number belongs to a company called Landmark Merchant Solutions, and is in the habit of contacting people and asking if they accept credit cards.

A quick mental checklist of where my number was and how they might have gotten it turned up that yes, last month I had to acquire a business license from the city because I did some independent consulting last year as a computer programmer from my home. Since the city classified it as a home based business, I had to apply for a home occupancy permit and a business license ($150 and $102.95) retroactively. Even though this was done last year as a part-time gig between jobs, the government always gets their pound of flesh.

I used my last name and “Consulting” as the name of the company, and since I don’t ever answer my home phone these days (anyone who needs to get in contact with me knows to call the cell, and the only reason we currently have a home phone is for the DSL) I used my cell phone as the business number. So instead of consulting, I either heard tenancy, or that’s what they said.

Either way, I have to wonder how effective that is. Wouldn’t it be more straightforward to just say they are a telemarketer from this landmark solutions company and would like to know if I wanted to accept credit cards? Or maybe even a hello, congratulations on the new business, have you thought about accepting credit cards? If they had done that, I might have listened to them and even called them back if I ever decided to go back into the consulting gig again (after all, I’ve already got the business license for it!). Instead, there goes a minute of my cell phone time and I won’t call them back when I’m ready to accept credit cards because of this initial impression.

I have to wonder where the break even point for them pounding out calls to new businesses vs. cultivating a relationship with some common courtesy resides?