Normal bloke turns tables on corporations and gets himself a premium rate number

30 August 2013


Sick of cold callers ringing you up while you’re watching the telly, building a matchstick model of the Eiffel Tower or taking part in a potentially lethal solo sex act?

You might as well play the system and try to make some extra money out of it. That’s what keen-minded Lee Beaumont did, setting up his own premium rate number and raking in some pence each time someone rang him on it.

Lee got himself a personal 0871 number for just £10 plus VAT back in November 2011 and he says he has made more than £300 since then from calls made by Shelley Levene types all over the land.

He said, ‘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. I thought there must be a way to make money off these phone calls.’

After researching the different types of numbers that he could have, he settled on an 0871 one because, ‘I could make a good chunk of money’. Which is as it should be.

Lee gives his premium rate number out to utility companies but has another number for people who he likes. He said, ‘Some companies are fine with it. 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.’

He’s also noted that fewer companies are calling him these days, which is great in terms of peace and quiet but not so great in terms of the profitability of his crazy scheme.

But premium number regulator Phone Pay Plus aren’t as impressed and told Radio 4’s ‘You And Yours’ that, ‘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.’

Ooooh! That’s you lot told, in case you were thinking of pulling a similar stunt…


  • jo
    All that just to catch some automated ppi callers? If they're so annoying you could just turn on caller id and not pick up if you don't recognise the number (or it's withheld). Some landline phones are even so ridiculously clever as to allow you to add contacts to your phonebook. So add your family and friends, set a ringtone for them and then set a different one for the standard call. If it doesn't ring with your chosen 'family and friends' tone then you know it's probably not worth running to answer in the middle of corrie. Oh and Talk Talk also offers a service for a few quid a month that allows you to block up to 10 numbers and theres also a bt phone which does the same thing without having to sign up to an additional service (blocks up to 10 nujmbers).
  • jokester
    "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." - Does anybody have any idea what would breach their code and cause them to fine you ??? @ Jo Yes, Jo... all that 5 minutes work to make £300 odd quid and have a lot less hassle with scumbag companies illegally phoning him. Why should people have to pay extra for Caller ID or to block a small fraction of the annoying criminal scum that call about PPI or to try selling you stuff you don't want or need ????? Personally, I don't really see any use for home landlines - they are overpriced, extremely basic and pointless (for the vast majority of people).
  • fibbingarchie
    ^^ 'Does anybody have any idea what would breach their code and cause them to fine you ???' It's a breach if you fail to declare in advance that anyone phoning the number will be charged at premium rates.
  • jokester
    ^^ I regularly come across 0800/0844/0845/0870/0871 numbers that don't declare in advance about the premium rates..... Personally, I just use the saynoto0870 service so it comes out of my free minutes (since mobile phone providers see these numbers as an excuse to rip you off). And yes, I'm aware that 0800 and 0845 aren't technically 'premium' but since you get charged far more for calling these numbers from a mobile than you do for 'regular' numbers, I consider them premium. And I'm also aware that providers are being forced to make 0800 numbers free.
  • LastminuteLaura
    You don't have to declare the rate to anyone calling who is not a consumer, so actually the guy isn't in breach cos he only has businesses calling him (and neither is he providing a service for consumers). That law is in place to protect consumers only. I just got an 0871 number from Flextel, which is actually better cos it's free to get and use (Lee paid for his upfront) and I don't have to answer the phone - an automated recording (their virtual switchboard) does it for me. ;)

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