Telemarketers still exist outside of the US, but one man has managed to subvert them by making them pay for their calls. (Source: Flickr: rcjon)
Telemarketers are the bane of just about everyone's existence. They always call at the worst time to sell something or some service that people honestly do not care about, wasting everyone's time. The nation united over telemarketers several years ago, establishing the national Do Not Call list, and essentially banned them from calling cell phones. However, not everyone in the world has that luxury, especially in the United Kingdom. One Englishman decided to fight back against the telemarketers in his own clever way by making his contact number a toll number, forcing telemarketers to pay him every time they call.
Lee Beaumont, a businessman based in Leeds, was growing tired of people calling him while he was watching TV, selling him solar panels or insurance. So, instead of disconnecting his line, Beaumont created a toll phone number, and uses it as a contact number every time a utility, such as the electric or gas company, wanted his contact information.
Because the number is explicitly a toll number (known as a 0871 or premium number in the UK), the companies often ask Lee Beaumont why he uses that as his contact number. Beaumont is always "very honest" with them, explaining he would rather make 7 pence (11 cents) per minute if he is going to be called by telemarketers. Only a few companies reject this method of contact, to which Beaumont directs them to contact him by email. After Beaumont implemented this plan, the number of telemarketer calls dropped from a few times a day to around 13 times per month, or once every other day. In addition, he has earned £300 ($465) from the effort.
Of course, this method of earning money off telemarketers is not right for everyone. Purchasing a toll number in the UK costs about $20. The agency responsible for toll numbers, Phone Pay Plus, strongly advises people against using their private number for that explicit purpose, even though it is legal to do so. Still, the thought of getting back at telemarketers that way should have inspired others around here. However, the thought of a telemarketer yammering on and on is probably not worth the dime a minute for most of us.