Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Man cashes in on cold caller pests

A man set up a premium, rate phone number to make cold callers pay for disturbing him

A man who got annoyed by cold callers interrupting him while he was watching Coronation Street has got his own back by setting up his own premium rate number which makes him money.

Lee Beaumont paid £10 plus VAT to set up his personal 0871 line in November 2011, and said he has made £300 from the calls he has received since.

Mr Beaumont, from Leeds, told BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme: "I was getting annoyed with the PPI calls when I'm trying to watch Coronation Street for instance, so I'd rather have an 0871 so I can make 10p a minute. I thought there must be a way to make money off these phone calls."

He said it was "extremely easy" to carry out research online into how to go about it, and looked into setting up an 0845 or an 0844 number.

"The best one I found was the 0871 as I could make a good chunk of money," he said.

Mr Beaumont said he gave out the 0871 number when he needed to talk to utilities companies but had a separate line for his friends and family to call him on.

"Some companies are fine with it," he added. "Sometimes they won't call me, and I say fine, you've got my email address - email me. And 99% of the time they will use my 0871 number."

He said he was "very honest" if any of the firms asked him why he had done it, but added that the companies were not phoning him as often now which meant he was not earning so much money.

Last year he was getting 20 to 30 calls a month but only received 16 so far this month, he said. "I want cold calls," he added.

Premium number regulator Phone Pay Plus warned against others taking the same measure as Mr Beaumont. They told the programme: "Premium-rate numbers are not designed to be used in this way and we would strongly discourage any listeners from adopting this idea, as they will be liable under our code for any breaches and subsequent fines that result."

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