Meet the Clever Brit Who Makes Telemarketers Pay to Call Him

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Man Discovers Way to Profit from Telemarketer Calls
BBC
How many times have you hung up the phone on a telemarketer, pollster or other unwanted cold-caller interrupting your dinner and thought, "I wish I could charge them for annoying me and wasting my time"?

Lee Beaumont of Leeds, England, did more than just think. He's doing it.

As reported Wednesday by BBC Radio 4's show, "You and Yours", in November 2011, Beaumont paid the 10 pounds ($15.50) plus tax it took to change his ordinary land line to a 0871 line -- similar to what U.S. consumers will be more familiar with, a 900 number.

Now, it costs 10 pence (15 cents) a minute to call him, and he receives 70 percent of the proceeds. Since setting up the 0871 number, whenever a company has asked him for his information online, that's the contact number he has entered. His earnings so far: Just over 300 pounds -- more than $465.

He told the radio hosts that he's totally honest and up-front when businesses and callers ask why his home phone has a premium-rate number: He was tired of getting an excessive number of calls from a few specifically British varieties of telemarketer. And for friends and family, he has a different line.

According to the BBC, the British regulator for premium numbers "strongly discouraged people from adopting the idea" and following in Beaumont's footsteps due to regulations that could lead to those consumers getting fined.

(Interestingly, the 0871 phone number isn't the only fiscally unusual move Beaumont has made -- or even the wildest. On one of his blogs, How I Live My Life, he details how he's cutting back on his expenses by, among other things, living without a working boiler or gas in his home -- for a year.)

Sadly, in this country, it's apparently more complex and costly to get a personal phone number that pays you. Between the federal regulations and the price tag charged by the phone companies (way more than $15) ... well, unless you're launching your 900 number as a real business venture, it's probably not worth it.

But that doesn't mean we can't dream. And applaud.

Read the full article on BBC News here.

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58 Comments

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Neox T Elecom

neoxtelecom provides you free numbers to call - just call and get paid each time your number are called.

July 11 2014 at 7:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Anna

Pundzter.com already does it in the U. S.
Pundzter is a free service that lets anyone with a phone (including a cell phone) get paid to take calls from pollsters and other businesses that need to talk to the public.

When you sign up with Pundzter.com, you set your own rate. We then connect you to businesses that agree to pay your price. And you're paid your rate for as long as you're on the phone. All your information stays anonymous. You can set specific times when you are available to take calls. It is perfect for someone looking to earn extra income.

October 11 2013 at 11:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RouteUS66Busload

Excellent. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.....

August 31 2013 at 4:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
elendil3136

I once got into the funniest conversation with a foreign telemaketer. He asked me for my credit card number, and I called him a dirty son of something foul and said he wouldn't live long enough to get that information from me. He persisted and asked again. I went off on a thirty second rant insulting his intelligense, parentage, and sexual orientation. He told me that I couldn't talk to him like that. I reminded him that HE had called ME, and that that gave me license to abuse him any way I saw fit. He tried his pitch once more, whereupon I called him every foul name I knew and extended my degredation of his sexual orientation.
Somewhere along the line I hit a nerve, and we spent the next three minutes calling each other the most foul names. I realized that it had become a contest of wills to see who would give up first and hang up the phone. The exchange had taken on a life of its own. My wife stood not far away giving me dirty looks, while this contest went on for an amazing two or three more minutes. Goodness only knows what the other people at his call center must have thought. I finally said, "you know, I can carry on like this all day, but aren't you supposed to be doing something that makes money?" There was a pause, followed by a click.
My wife gave me hell, but I couldn't stop laughing for over an hour.

August 30 2013 at 6:35 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to elendil3136's comment
Steven

You are every bit as ignorant as the person who called you.

August 30 2013 at 7:33 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
bildaws

I just lay the phone on the T.V.

August 30 2013 at 6:17 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
SUSSANNA 88

I just see who's calling and ignore the call--easier

August 30 2013 at 6:16 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
abupaul

He is my hero.

August 30 2013 at 6:15 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
dave and mary

Next time the window salesman is "going to be in your area", let him/her go on for a bit. Then, pause, and say ....... (in kind of a s-l-o-w voice ... ) "my mom says I get to go outside tomorrow" You'll hear "pardon me sir/ma'am?" THEN you say "we buried grandma in the attic but I'm not supposed to tell anyone". All you'll hear is a click! AND - I HAVE used it!

August 30 2013 at 4:15 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dave and mary's comment
elendil3136

I once told a female telemarketer with an obvious Hindu accent that if her company (which was calling me daily) didn't stop harrassing me, "I'm going to find you, and I will kill you". Yes, I borrowed this line from a SNL sketch I saw in the '80's.
It worked - at least for about three weeks. At that point, it probably occured to someone that I lived at least 7,000 miles away, and the calls resumed.
I then took my cordless phone outdoors while a man was giving his pitch, and fired a round from my .40 cal Glock close to the phone. The company didn't call back again.
Extreme? Of course.
Funny? Absolutely!

August 30 2013 at 6:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jbjg24m

whatever that reporter wants to sell me, i'm buying it!!

August 30 2013 at 3:55 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
crrunch

I have a techie friend that has put an endless (literally) loop of inane info attached to his answering machine. He's programmed the numbers he wants to receive off this loop.It has everything you've ever run into - the stuff that makes you want to throw the phone when all you want is a human to talk to. He is my hero.

August 30 2013 at 3:43 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply