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Fighting Back Against Cold Callers

Fri 30 Aug, 2013 // Firstnumber Team
Cold calling

Nearly all of us have been on the receiving end of a cold call before. Most will regret ever having picked up the phone. But now a businessman from Leeds, fed up with being inundated with these nuisance calls, has turned the tables on the very same companies cold-calling him by charging them every time they call him.

25-year-old Lee Beaumont became so fed up with calls from PPI companies and other cold-callers ringing him on his landline that he decided to take the situation into his own hands, swapping his regional dialling code for an 0871 number and charging the cold-callers 10p a minute. He said: “I was getting annoyed at the PPI calls I was constantly getting so I thought there must be a way to make money out of them.” And he was right.

Mr Beaumont gives out the 0871 number when he needs to talk to utilities companies but has a separate line for his friends and family to call on. Since setting up his personal 0871 line at the end of 2011, he has made £300 from cold-callers. However, the number of cold calls received by Mr Beaumont has unsurprisingly started to dwindle in number, from between 20 and 30 a month to just 13 last month.

This news comes hot on the heels of a recent survey commissioned by the Citizens Advice which revealed that two-thirds of UK adults, or 32 million people, have received an unwanted PPI call. Of these, 98% felt that they had not given their permission to be contacted in this way. The study also found that one in four people received their most recent call during a family meal, while one in seven received the call at work, and one in eight whilst they were watching television.

This survey also found that 56% of complaints about PPI claims management stemmed from cold calls. However, if you think setting up your own 0871 number is the answer, premium number regulator Phone Pay Plus advises us not to be too hasty. “Phone line providers must meet consumer protection standards, including setting out the cost of each call to any organisation that rings […] and will be liable under our code for any breaches and subsequent fines that result.”

In any case, we applaud Mr Beaumont for his canniness. It looks like the cold callers have finally met their match.

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