A crafty British man has figured out a way to turn the tables on telemarketers. Lee Beaumont got so fed-up with getting phone calls from marketing companies that he changed his phone settings so that incoming callers have to pay him a small fee in order to get him on the line. Beaumont changed his phone number in 2011 and says that he has made about $464 since then.
The service that Beaumont uses, PhonepayPlus, let him bill incoming callers 15 cents to connect and add additional charges depending on how long he stays on the phone. He gets to keep 70 percent of the income the calls generate, Yahoo News reported.
"Because I'm getting annoyed with PPI phone calls when I'm trying to watch Coronation Street so I'd rather make 10 pence (15 cents) a minute," he said. “I want cold calls.”
The “0871” line does scary away some callers, but many marketers opt to pay to talk to Beaumont because there is a chance they will make a sale.
PhonepayPlus has been discouraging other customers from setting up similar lines.
"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," the company said.
Beaumont has a separate, private number for personal calls.
"I don't use my normal Leeds number for anyone but my friends and family,” he said.
If Beaumont were to try this tactic in the United States, his phone number would essentially be a 900 number.