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Brit turns tables on telemarketers by setting up premium rate line

A British man became so sick and tired of getting calls from telemarketers that he decided to apply some creative thinking to the situation to see if he could turns lemons not into lemonade but into a lemon souffle with sprinkles, whipped cream and a large dollop of chocolate sauce. And he appears to have succeeded.

With a job based at home, Lee Beaumont from Leeds in England had more reason than most to deal with the situation, with the constant interruptions causing endless hassle and irritation during his working hours.

His ingenious solution was to set up a premium rate number so now whenever he gets a call from telemarketers, the caller pays 10p (16¢) a minute, from which he receives 7p (11¢). Result!

Beaumont told the BBC that he’s so far made £300 ($465) over the two years in which he’s had the premium rate number.

After setting it up, he gave it out to his bank, utility suppliers and any other businesses asking for a contact phone number. Close friends and family, meanwhile, continued to use his regular home number.

The Leeds man said that when businesses asked why he was using a premium rate number, he would tell them straight that he was fed up with the endless cold calls from telemarketers and the like and so had tried to turn the situation to his advantage.

If a business had a problem calling him on the number, Beaumont simply asked it to email him instead.

The move has seen the number of telemarketer calls to his home drop from a peak of 30 a month to just 13 in July.

Hardly surprisingly, Beaumont said that now he actually wants cold calls, and sometimes attempts to increase the income from businesses that call by keeping them talking.

The UK’s premium number regulator Phone Pay Plus advised others considering following Beaumont’s example to tread carefully as anyone with such a number must meet certain consumer protection standards.

“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,” a spokesperson said.

Earlier this year, UK telecom company BT launched a £45 ($70) landline phone that it claimed would reduce unwanted calls by around 80 percent, though after hearing about Beaumont’s idea, many of those wondering how best to deal with endless telemarketer calls may prefer to get themselves a premium rate number instead.

 [Image: mj007 / Shutterstock]

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