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back to article Punter strikes back at cold callers - by charging THEM to call HIM

Two years ago Lee Beaumont, fed up of receiving daily phonecalls from telemarketing agencies, connected his home landline to a premium rate phone number and started cashing in on cold callers - covering his costs in less than two months. Beaumont splashed out £12 on an 0871 premium rate phone number, which he promptly gave to …

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: )

"Two years ago Lee Beaumont, fed up of receiving daily phonecalls from telemarketing agencies, connected his home landline to a premium rate phone number and started cashing in on cold callers - covering his costs in less than two months. "

I admire people like this.

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Stop

Re: : )

He still has to answer the phone for 7pence/minute (=4.20 quid an hour) --- even at a call centre you get better paid.

I can see the business case if he then employs his kids to answer cold calls at 2.50/hour, though the risk of that is that he might come home to find his roof covered in costly, useless solar panels.

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Re: : )

Didn't sound to me like he "stuck it to them". The whole plan is ridiculous - changing your number so if your mates call you they have to pay? And saying he "made" money? I wouldn't work for £4 an hour chatting to PPI salesmen at the expense of my hard earned leisure time. And nor would any sane person.

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Re: :RTFA

"He also has a Leeds landline number, but reports that as this is shared only with his mum and best friend it doesn't get any cold calls. "

Sounds like a great plan, and he would have answered the calls anyway.

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Re: : )

A premium rate number would be redirected to your normal number (land line or mobile).

The people you trust (ie, family and mates) get the direct number.

Places that request your number that have a risk of selling it on (getting a mortgage quote, signing up for membership of Facebook, etc) get the premium rate one.

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Re: : )

He's not changed his number, all he's done is point his main CLI to an 0870 number, which he than hands out the 0870 number to businesses, or fills in on web forms. You can still hand out the original CLI ie 0161 for example, to your friends and family, they will only get charged at the normal rate.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: : )

" should anyone complain about Lee Beaumont's subversion of the system then he, and the company hosting the number, could be fined"

Although they'd probably have to explain why they ignored the TPS system in the first place.

Unless they were foreign, but then can they actually complain anyway?

Our laws don't apply over there anyway right??

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Re: : )

The surprising thing is that he hasn't started to receive cold calls on his geographic number, or does his line present the 0870 CLI for outbound calls? The reason for asking is two fold:

Firstly, many call centres see and record your CLI when you call them and if it is different to the one on their records will after confirming your identity update your records to associate this number with you.

Secondly, with automatic outbound dialling, it is relatively simple and cheap for a call centre to dial all numbers in an area - remember they only get charged for those calls that connect (ie. someone or something answers).

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Title

In soviet Russia...

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Byz

All private numbers should be given a public 0871

They should make a change so we could all benefit from this clever idea :)

Then you don't need regulator as it would cost the companies money when they called us and go out of business very fast.

In fact if we could charge a copyright fee any time our private information was used Facebook, google...etc would be paying all of us instead of making money out of our info :)

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You cannot charge a fee for information that you're stupid enough to sign on and post yourself.

Get real.

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"You cannot charge a fee for information that you're stupid enough to sign on and post yourself."

But as Jaron Lanier convincingly argues in "Who Owns the Future?", you should be able to.

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Trollface

Informing of costs?

What, you mean that Ofcom and the telecoms industry has not organised phone numbers so the prefix can be parsed simply to tell you the cost?

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Re: Informing of costs?

Suppose he did tell them immediately upon answering the phone that this call will cost 10p per minute, do you think they listen to anything you say during the first thirty seconds of one of those calls?

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Re: Informing of costs?

Well to some extent they have:

0800 := Free from a landline

0870/0871 := National rate of 10p minute at all times

So by choosing a 'national rate' number rather than a 'premium rate' number Lee actually satisfies the requirements to give caller's notice about the charges for calling his number.

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My number is ex-directory (or whatever it's classed as now) and I'm signed up for TPS and the only annoying phone calls I get are from my mother-in-law, who I would make a fortune from the amount of times she phones a day.

I really can't remember the last time I got a cold call.

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Me too

I get no cold calls on my mobile or landline, with the exception of my mobile provider who once every 2 years phone me repeatedly to sell me an upgrade to my phone, and every 2 years I have to explain to them that it's fucking annoying and that I like shiny toys and will upgrade when I have worked out what I want, so STOP CALLING ME!

The mother in law has been trained to call my wifes phone.

Interesting this guy gets so many calls yet has to trawl the web to encourage people to phone him. How about just not putting your phone number in all over the place. Almost no one asks for it now.

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Pint

Really

I am ex-dir as well, and I am on TPS list, and I still get loads of cold calls. Most say that they are international or number withheld. So many that we are thinking of changing our number. If we do go that route, then I am so getting a premium rate.

Just looked at PhonepayPlus' web site. They say that you need to register at a cost of £300, unless you are exempt. As I read it, you simply have to charge a low rate (under £1 per minute). So, 50p per minute seems fair to me.

This idea is pure genius!

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Re: Really

We only seem to get cold calls to the home landline during working hours so normally we are both at work and miss them, but if you have the occasional day off or working from home day one or two PPI and "survey" calls a day is not uncommon.

I have never given the home landline number to anyone other than the parents and my grandfather, and the cold calls started very soon after the landline was connected. Which suggests the calls come either as a result of random dialling or because whoever had the number before it was allocated to us (telcos do "recycle" numbers) got signed up to lots of junk lists.

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I was also getting swamped by cold calls, so we changed our number two years ago, required it be put on the ex-list (as you guys call it) and only gave the number to people that we actually would like to get a call from.

Any business gets our mobile number. For the handful of companies that somehow require our landline number (getting very rare these days), I give it to them with a very stern lecture on what will happen to them if that number gets into anyone else's hands.

So far, not one cold call since.

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Devil

Re: Really

Let me guess - you are on BT.

My BT number used to be ex-dir and on TPS. It was still called on a regular basis - 10-20 calls a month.

Over the years I have switched the house to new numbers on Sipgate (total 3 of them now - generic house number, my home office and junior's personal number). _NONE_ of them ever gets a called call. The BT phone has been kept for DSL backup. As I am moving the DSL backup to mobile on 3 that number will be exterminated with extreme prejudice within the next couple of days.

Correlation does not equal causation... Usually... At least so the phormal saying goes...

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Anonymous Coward

Same here, but I am getting cold-called on a near daily basis. No idea where they got my number from.

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Anonymous Coward

TPS

likewise I am signed up to TPS, but the PPI calls still keep coming.

It is interesting to note the varying responses I get when I interrupt the caller to tell them that their call is illegal due to my number being listed on TPS - the foreign ones tend to drop the call almost straight away. I get a mixed response from UK based calls - some apologise and hang up, some ignore me and try to continue the call, while one particularly belligerent scumbag decided to try and bluff me as to whether I was actually signed up by demanding my 'TPS registration number' ... which of course is B/S because TPS doesn't give you a registration number.

Being ex-directory only helps a little - The protection should should give you is undone by various companies you have to rely on for things such as utilities - who sell on your details to marketing companies for extra £profit£.

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My number is listed, but the problem doesn't seem so prevalent over here in Germany. I get maybe 3 calls a year and they are generally from a research institute.

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Holmes

@ Mattjimf

Wrote :- "My number is ex-directory .. and I'm signed up for TPS ... I really can't remember the last time I got a cold call."

It depends where you live. Many cold callers ring numbers at random. I don't mean random from the Phone Book - I mean an area code followed by a randomly generated number, or simply a number in sequence. In some cities a high proportion of the possible numbers are real ones, so it works for them. So being ex-directory or in the TPS does not help for calls originating abroad.

Thus, in Bristol I got a lot of cold calls, but now that I have moved to a rural area I don't. It seems they do not bother with this rural area code.

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Facepalm

@ big_D

Wrote :- "the problem doesn't seem so prevalent over here in Germany. I get maybe 3 calls a year and they are generally from a research institute."

HaHaHaHaHaHaHa !!

I'll tell you a secret. They are marketing droids. They will tell you they are anything except marketing droids. I would say that over half the advertising calls and other marketing approaches I get in the UK start off by saying they are doing "research".

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Spam Spam Spam Spammity SPAAAAM

Is there such a thing as a premium rate email address?

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Happy

Re: Spam Spam Spam Spammity SPAAAAM

"Is there such a thing as a premium rate email address?"
I have a different email address for everybody that wants to email me. They all end up in Outlook, and I get practically zero spam (Months between SPAM and no filters at all).

Just recently I started getting some, and just junked that address and the spam stopped. Because the address was unique, I could work out who had leaked it too. In this case it was an ex-pat site who left their mailing list on a viewable "upload" directory on their site - doh!. But for example I know not to use Pixmania or Directline because they sell on the addresses.

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Ah but

If he's registered with the TPS he shouldn't be _getting_ those calls, so are they going to complain that they should be given the rate for a number they shouldn't even be calling in the first place?

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FAIL

Re: Ah but

Nice try, but fail.

I doubt you can register an 0871 number with TPS - kind of defeats the purpose of having a number you can publish so that third parties can contact you (which is the purpose of 0871 numbers).

It could be argued that if he didn't publish it, then nobody should be calling it, but as the article says, he did give the number to legitimate parties who requested his number. TPS specifically permits companies you've "given permission" to call you. The fact those companies leak your number is a different issue...

On the plus side, most of the cold callers use automated dialling - so unless the company writing the autodialler included rules to exclude premium numbers then it must be assumed they've consented to any charges associated with calling a particular number. No human dialling - no person can raise an objection to the charges.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ah but

In theory, however given they explicitly mentioned PPI calls it's probably some shady-sub company in a short-term rented office who bombard people with calls only to disappear and re-appear days later in a different rented office under a different name.

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Full marks...

Good on him. Typical though of the 'authorities' to be apocalyptic about an individual using the system for his benefit - and to strike against the bad guys - whereas they are so helpful to the bad guys who don't play by the rules; helpful in most cases by doing bugger all about blatantly illegal activity.

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xyz
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What's not to like about this!

Phone pay plus sound like some dodgy tradesman trying to tell a punter that it's too difficult and it should be left to professionals. You can almost feel their asses puckering at the thought of world+dog doing this. Very, very funny and I wish I'd thought this up.

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Question 1: Why the hell do we have premium numbers anyway?

Question 2: Why can BT et al. not simply block numbers for us?

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Question 1: Why the hell do we have premium numbers anyway?

So that services can be sold via a phone line.

Question 2: Why can BT et al. not simply block numbers for us?

They can.

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Anonymous Coward

>> Question 2: Why can BT et al. not simply block numbers for us?

> They can.

They can block withheld numbers if you pay them (which may block some legit calls). They will not block specific numbers.

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You'd think it wouldn't be beyond the wit of BT to notice the vast number of calls coming from a relatively small number of offshore numbers and block them. But oh no, if you get bombarded with these foreign PPI calls or the dreaded silent calls, BT insist there is nothing they can do because it is 'an international call'.

Quick question, do BT make money from connecting an international call?

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yes...

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The problem is that, with Caller Display, the number is encoded within the ringing signal and can be spoofed.

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Not sure this is worthwhile

So he gets 7p per minute? That works out to £4.20 per hour. My time's worth more than that...

For what it's worth, I don't seem to get any spam calls - Not sure if this is because I don't really use the landline though - my father in law is the only person who ever calls it.

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Go

Re: Not sure this is worthwhile

Multitasking.

Since he says he was fed up being interrupted watching Coronation Street, would you rather:

a) get nothing for watching Coronation Street

b) get £4.20 for watching Coronation Street

I prefer options c,d,e,f, etc which doesn't involve watching Coronation Street, but that's a different issue.

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Re: Not sure this is worthwhile

answer phone, say "hang on, doorbell just went", put phone on table and carry on as normal. Replace phone when you hear "weewahweewah" etc

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Windows

Be a yes man instead.

When I receive a cold call I just answer every question with "Yes". Initially the sales twat gets quite animated at the sound of all these affirmative responses but when you state that your name or bank account details are "Yes" as well they begin to realise they are wasting their own time too.

"Are you answering yes to all my questions?"

"Yes!"

Hangs up....

If we all did it, all day, everyday, they might get just the message.

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Re: Be a yes man instead.

or.. just lay the phone down and go about your business. Return - eventually - and hang up.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Be a yes man instead.

Never tried this one, but I like the sound of it.

Talk to them for a while, and then give your other half a pre-arranged signal. At which he/she yells something like "Are you going to come back to bed and f**k me, or piss about on that phone all day?". The more graphic, the better.

Paris - needs no explanation!

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Re: Be a yes man instead.

or interrupt to say there's someone at the door and you'll be back in a moment

or say the person they asked for is just coming to the phone in a moment

and then switch your internet radio to an obscure chinese radio station and leave it - I usually manage to get 5-6 mins of wasting their time before they hang up.

or just use Google Translate to read out the Hindi translation of FOAD.

...simple pleasures

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Re: Be a yes man instead.

Like it!

The cold calls are annoying if you're busy but if you're not, it can be a fun diversion to see how long they'll stay on the phone.

I had one PPI chap for the best part of half an hour. Answered initial questions and then very inconveniently developed a bad line when it came to giving my address.

Sure, it's 3... ley... ro... cf... Are you still there? Hang on...

Put the phone down and made dinner, talking more rubbish at 5 minute intervals. Took him ages to give up.

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Re: Be a yes man instead.

Oh I like that. I hope you did get to say 'Your call is very important to us. All of our operators are busy right now, but please continue to hold.' Because everyone likes that.

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Gav
Holmes

Crime Scene

I prefer the tactic some American guy had (you'll find it online somewhere).

Inform the caller that they have just phoned the scene of a murder and they are now a "person of interest" to the investigation. Demand to know their name, address, relationship with the victim, and whereabouts last night. Intersperse the interrogation with shouts about not walking through the blood and "don't touch that knife!"

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