Sick and tired of fielding cold calls from insurance firms and banks offering him advice, Lee Beaumont took a cerebral approach to dealing with the issue. The resident of Leeds, in the U.K., paid for a premium rate phone line number—similar to a number with a 1-900 prefix—which he gave out to utility firms, being scupulously honest about what he had done. (Mr. Beaumont's friends were given a regular number to call.)
"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," he told a consumer program on BBC radio. "I thought there must be a way to make money off these phone calls."
Mr. Beaumont's new tack with the cold callers has had a dual effect: firstly, the number of calls is down this month; and secondly, he's been engaging the telephone operators in conversation about their schemes—the more they talk to him, the more money he makes. And that, so far, amounts to around £300—or around $465.
Honesty, he said, was the best policy, and so was always scrupulously upfront about his premium rate number. "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."
Although the cold call is seen by some as a past-it sales technique, there are some who feel that, with a little tweaking, the method can generate revenue for a firm. Another method is to eschew the phone lines for social media.
[Image: Flickr user furryscaly]