British Man Turns Tables On Cold Callers And Makes Money To Boot

Lee Beaumont paid $15 for a premium rate phone line. So far it’s made him around over $450 from unwanted cold calls.

British Man Turns Tables On Cold Callers And Makes Money To Boot

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]

About the author

My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.