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Dave Beans

Bloke Profits From Cold Callers

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Clever idea...He prob reads this website...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23869462

A man targeted by marketing companies is making money from cold calls with his own premium-rate phone number.

In November 2011 Lee Beaumont paid £10 plus VAT to set up his personal 0871 line - so to call him now costs 10p, from which he receives 7p.

The Leeds businessman told BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme that the premium line had so far made £300.

Phone Pay Plus, which regulates premium numbers said it strongly discouraged people from adopting the idea.

Mr Beaumont came up with the plan when he grew sick of calls offering to help him reclaim payment protection insurance (PPI), or install solar panels.

He said: "I don't use my normal Leeds number for anyone but my friends and family."

Once he had set up the 0871 line, every time a bank, gas or electricity supplier asked him for his details online, he submitted it as his contact number.

He added he was "very honest" and the companies did ask why he had a premium number.

He told the programme he replied: "Because I'm, getting annoyed with PPI phone calls when I'm trying to watch Coronation Street so I'd rather make 10p a minute."

He said almost all of the companies he dealt with were happy to use it and if they refused he asked them to email.

The number of calls received by Mr Beaumont has fallen from between 20 and 30 a month to just 13 last month.

Because he works from home, Mr Beaumont has been able to increase his revenue by keeping cold callers talking - asking for more details about their services.

He admitted, the scheme had changed his attitude, saying: "I want cold calls", and that he had moved on to encouraging companies to make contact.

After a recent problem with his online shopping, he declined to call an 0845 number but posted his number on Twitter in the knowledge that the number could be picked up by marketing companies.

But the premium number regulator Phone Pay Plus says the public should think twice before setting up their own lines.

They say phone line providers must meet consumer protection standards, which include transparency, fairness and complaint handling, which would mean clearly setting out the cost of each call to any organisation that rang.

They told You and Yours: "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."

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They say phone line providers must meet consumer protection standards, which include transparency, fairness and complaint handling, which would mean clearly setting out the cost of each call to any organisation that rang.

It's not clear that this guy is doing that, unless he's adding a note to forms when he lists his number or informs callers immediately of the charge. He may be in danger of a huge fine. Nice idea but as usual nothing is that simple.

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It's not clear that this guy is doing that, unless he's adding a note to forms when he lists his number or informs callers immediately of the charge. He may be in danger of a huge fine. Nice idea but as usual nothing is that simple.

Dark man: I used to work in this space. If it was not a freephone number consumers called, but say a local rate - we would say so on the phone message system. I think the key thing here is the regulation is for companies that handle complaints. You as a private person , you can really do whatever you want afaik. What complaints against you could warrant the need for transparency?

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