back to article Punter strikes back at cold callers - by charging THEM to call HIM

Two years ago Lee Beaumont, fed up of receiving daily phonecalls from telemarketing agencies, connected his home landline to a premium rate phone number and started cashing in on cold callers - covering his costs in less than two months. Beaumont splashed out £12 on an 0871 premium rate phone number, which he promptly gave to …

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  1. Turtle

    : )

    "Two years ago Lee Beaumont, fed up of receiving daily phonecalls from telemarketing agencies, connected his home landline to a premium rate phone number and started cashing in on cold callers - covering his costs in less than two months. "

    I admire people like this.

    1. Marvin the Martian
      Stop

      Re: : )

      He still has to answer the phone for 7pence/minute (=4.20 quid an hour) --- even at a call centre you get better paid.

      I can see the business case if he then employs his kids to answer cold calls at 2.50/hour, though the risk of that is that he might come home to find his roof covered in costly, useless solar panels.

    2. Fletchulence

      Re: : )

      Didn't sound to me like he "stuck it to them". The whole plan is ridiculous - changing your number so if your mates call you they have to pay? And saying he "made" money? I wouldn't work for £4 an hour chatting to PPI salesmen at the expense of my hard earned leisure time. And nor would any sane person.

      1. JoshOvki

        Re: :RTFA

        "He also has a Leeds landline number, but reports that as this is shared only with his mum and best friend it doesn't get any cold calls. "

        Sounds like a great plan, and he would have answered the calls anyway.

      2. Wize

        Re: : )

        A premium rate number would be redirected to your normal number (land line or mobile).

        The people you trust (ie, family and mates) get the direct number.

        Places that request your number that have a risk of selling it on (getting a mortgage quote, signing up for membership of Facebook, etc) get the premium rate one.

      3. Dodel

        Re: : )

        He's not changed his number, all he's done is point his main CLI to an 0870 number, which he than hands out the 0870 number to businesses, or fills in on web forms. You can still hand out the original CLI ie 0161 for example, to your friends and family, they will only get charged at the normal rate.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: : )

          The surprising thing is that he hasn't started to receive cold calls on his geographic number, or does his line present the 0870 CLI for outbound calls? The reason for asking is two fold:

          Firstly, many call centres see and record your CLI when you call them and if it is different to the one on their records will after confirming your identity update your records to associate this number with you.

          Secondly, with automatic outbound dialling, it is relatively simple and cheap for a call centre to dial all numbers in an area - remember they only get charged for those calls that connect (ie. someone or something answers).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: : )

      " should anyone complain about Lee Beaumont's subversion of the system then he, and the company hosting the number, could be fined"

      Although they'd probably have to explain why they ignored the TPS system in the first place.

      Unless they were foreign, but then can they actually complain anyway?

      Our laws don't apply over there anyway right??

  2. The Vociferous Time Waster

    Title

    In soviet Russia...

  3. Byz

    All private numbers should be given a public 0871

    They should make a change so we could all benefit from this clever idea :)

    Then you don't need regulator as it would cost the companies money when they called us and go out of business very fast.

    In fact if we could charge a copyright fee any time our private information was used Facebook, google...etc would be paying all of us instead of making money out of our info :)

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      You cannot charge a fee for information that you're stupid enough to sign on and post yourself.

      Get real.

      1. Thorsten

        "You cannot charge a fee for information that you're stupid enough to sign on and post yourself."

        But as Jaron Lanier convincingly argues in "Who Owns the Future?", you should be able to.

  4. Paul Crawford Silver badge
    Trollface

    Informing of costs?

    What, you mean that Ofcom and the telecoms industry has not organised phone numbers so the prefix can be parsed simply to tell you the cost?

    1. Michael Nidd

      Re: Informing of costs?

      Suppose he did tell them immediately upon answering the phone that this call will cost 10p per minute, do you think they listen to anything you say during the first thirty seconds of one of those calls?

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Informing of costs?

      Well to some extent they have:

      0800 := Free from a landline

      0870/0871 := National rate of 10p minute at all times

      So by choosing a 'national rate' number rather than a 'premium rate' number Lee actually satisfies the requirements to give caller's notice about the charges for calling his number.

  5. Mattjimf

    My number is ex-directory (or whatever it's classed as now) and I'm signed up for TPS and the only annoying phone calls I get are from my mother-in-law, who I would make a fortune from the amount of times she phones a day.

    I really can't remember the last time I got a cold call.

    1. LazyLazyman

      Me too

      I get no cold calls on my mobile or landline, with the exception of my mobile provider who once every 2 years phone me repeatedly to sell me an upgrade to my phone, and every 2 years I have to explain to them that it's fucking annoying and that I like shiny toys and will upgrade when I have worked out what I want, so STOP CALLING ME!

      The mother in law has been trained to call my wifes phone.

      Interesting this guy gets so many calls yet has to trawl the web to encourage people to phone him. How about just not putting your phone number in all over the place. Almost no one asks for it now.

    2. I Am Spartacus
      Pint

      Really

      I am ex-dir as well, and I am on TPS list, and I still get loads of cold calls. Most say that they are international or number withheld. So many that we are thinking of changing our number. If we do go that route, then I am so getting a premium rate.

      Just looked at PhonepayPlus' web site. They say that you need to register at a cost of £300, unless you are exempt. As I read it, you simply have to charge a low rate (under £1 per minute). So, 50p per minute seems fair to me.

      This idea is pure genius!

      1. Tom Wood

        Re: Really

        We only seem to get cold calls to the home landline during working hours so normally we are both at work and miss them, but if you have the occasional day off or working from home day one or two PPI and "survey" calls a day is not uncommon.

        I have never given the home landline number to anyone other than the parents and my grandfather, and the cold calls started very soon after the landline was connected. Which suggests the calls come either as a result of random dialling or because whoever had the number before it was allocated to us (telcos do "recycle" numbers) got signed up to lots of junk lists.

      2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        I was also getting swamped by cold calls, so we changed our number two years ago, required it be put on the ex-list (as you guys call it) and only gave the number to people that we actually would like to get a call from.

        Any business gets our mobile number. For the handful of companies that somehow require our landline number (getting very rare these days), I give it to them with a very stern lecture on what will happen to them if that number gets into anyone else's hands.

        So far, not one cold call since.

      3. Voland's right hand Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Really

        Let me guess - you are on BT.

        My BT number used to be ex-dir and on TPS. It was still called on a regular basis - 10-20 calls a month.

        Over the years I have switched the house to new numbers on Sipgate (total 3 of them now - generic house number, my home office and junior's personal number). _NONE_ of them ever gets a called call. The BT phone has been kept for DSL backup. As I am moving the DSL backup to mobile on 3 that number will be exterminated with extreme prejudice within the next couple of days.

        Correlation does not equal causation... Usually... At least so the phormal saying goes...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Same here, but I am getting cold-called on a near daily basis. No idea where they got my number from.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      TPS

      likewise I am signed up to TPS, but the PPI calls still keep coming.

      It is interesting to note the varying responses I get when I interrupt the caller to tell them that their call is illegal due to my number being listed on TPS - the foreign ones tend to drop the call almost straight away. I get a mixed response from UK based calls - some apologise and hang up, some ignore me and try to continue the call, while one particularly belligerent scumbag decided to try and bluff me as to whether I was actually signed up by demanding my 'TPS registration number' ... which of course is B/S because TPS doesn't give you a registration number.

      Being ex-directory only helps a little - The protection should should give you is undone by various companies you have to rely on for things such as utilities - who sell on your details to marketing companies for extra £profit£.

    5. big_D Silver badge

      My number is listed, but the problem doesn't seem so prevalent over here in Germany. I get maybe 3 calls a year and they are generally from a research institute.

      1. Nuke
        Facepalm

        @ big_D

        Wrote :- "the problem doesn't seem so prevalent over here in Germany. I get maybe 3 calls a year and they are generally from a research institute."

        HaHaHaHaHaHaHa !!

        I'll tell you a secret. They are marketing droids. They will tell you they are anything except marketing droids. I would say that over half the advertising calls and other marketing approaches I get in the UK start off by saying they are doing "research".

    6. Nuke
      Holmes

      @ Mattjimf

      Wrote :- "My number is ex-directory .. and I'm signed up for TPS ... I really can't remember the last time I got a cold call."

      It depends where you live. Many cold callers ring numbers at random. I don't mean random from the Phone Book - I mean an area code followed by a randomly generated number, or simply a number in sequence. In some cities a high proportion of the possible numbers are real ones, so it works for them. So being ex-directory or in the TPS does not help for calls originating abroad.

      Thus, in Bristol I got a lot of cold calls, but now that I have moved to a rural area I don't. It seems they do not bother with this rural area code.

  6. Dr Insanity

    Spam Spam Spam Spammity SPAAAAM

    Is there such a thing as a premium rate email address?

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: Spam Spam Spam Spammity SPAAAAM

      "Is there such a thing as a premium rate email address?"
      I have a different email address for everybody that wants to email me. They all end up in Outlook, and I get practically zero spam (Months between SPAM and no filters at all).

      Just recently I started getting some, and just junked that address and the spam stopped. Because the address was unique, I could work out who had leaked it too. In this case it was an ex-pat site who left their mailing list on a viewable "upload" directory on their site - doh!. But for example I know not to use Pixmania or Directline because they sell on the addresses.

  7. g e

    Ah but

    If he's registered with the TPS he shouldn't be _getting_ those calls, so are they going to complain that they should be given the rate for a number they shouldn't even be calling in the first place?

    1. Velv
      FAIL

      Re: Ah but

      Nice try, but fail.

      I doubt you can register an 0871 number with TPS - kind of defeats the purpose of having a number you can publish so that third parties can contact you (which is the purpose of 0871 numbers).

      It could be argued that if he didn't publish it, then nobody should be calling it, but as the article says, he did give the number to legitimate parties who requested his number. TPS specifically permits companies you've "given permission" to call you. The fact those companies leak your number is a different issue...

      On the plus side, most of the cold callers use automated dialling - so unless the company writing the autodialler included rules to exclude premium numbers then it must be assumed they've consented to any charges associated with calling a particular number. No human dialling - no person can raise an objection to the charges.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ah but

      In theory, however given they explicitly mentioned PPI calls it's probably some shady-sub company in a short-term rented office who bombard people with calls only to disappear and re-appear days later in a different rented office under a different name.

  8. Ted Treen
    Thumb Up

    Full marks...

    Good on him. Typical though of the 'authorities' to be apocalyptic about an individual using the system for his benefit - and to strike against the bad guys - whereas they are so helpful to the bad guys who don't play by the rules; helpful in most cases by doing bugger all about blatantly illegal activity.

  9. xyz

    What's not to like about this!

    Phone pay plus sound like some dodgy tradesman trying to tell a punter that it's too difficult and it should be left to professionals. You can almost feel their asses puckering at the thought of world+dog doing this. Very, very funny and I wish I'd thought this up.

  10. Richard 81

    Question 1: Why the hell do we have premium numbers anyway?

    Question 2: Why can BT et al. not simply block numbers for us?

    1. Steve 13
      Thumb Down

      Question 1: Why the hell do we have premium numbers anyway?

      So that services can be sold via a phone line.

      Question 2: Why can BT et al. not simply block numbers for us?

      They can.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >> Question 2: Why can BT et al. not simply block numbers for us?

        > They can.

        They can block withheld numbers if you pay them (which may block some legit calls). They will not block specific numbers.

        1. Mike Richards

          You'd think it wouldn't be beyond the wit of BT to notice the vast number of calls coming from a relatively small number of offshore numbers and block them. But oh no, if you get bombarded with these foreign PPI calls or the dreaded silent calls, BT insist there is nothing they can do because it is 'an international call'.

          Quick question, do BT make money from connecting an international call?

          1. dom_f

            yes...

          2. BrownishMonstr

            The problem is that, with Caller Display, the number is encoded within the ringing signal and can be spoofed.

  11. Matt Siddall

    Not sure this is worthwhile

    So he gets 7p per minute? That works out to £4.20 per hour. My time's worth more than that...

    For what it's worth, I don't seem to get any spam calls - Not sure if this is because I don't really use the landline though - my father in law is the only person who ever calls it.

    1. Velv
      Go

      Re: Not sure this is worthwhile

      Multitasking.

      Since he says he was fed up being interrupted watching Coronation Street, would you rather:

      a) get nothing for watching Coronation Street

      b) get £4.20 for watching Coronation Street

      I prefer options c,d,e,f, etc which doesn't involve watching Coronation Street, but that's a different issue.

      1. Danny 14

        Re: Not sure this is worthwhile

        answer phone, say "hang on, doorbell just went", put phone on table and carry on as normal. Replace phone when you hear "weewahweewah" etc

  12. Colin Ritchie
    Windows

    Be a yes man instead.

    When I receive a cold call I just answer every question with "Yes". Initially the sales twat gets quite animated at the sound of all these affirmative responses but when you state that your name or bank account details are "Yes" as well they begin to realise they are wasting their own time too.

    "Are you answering yes to all my questions?"

    "Yes!"

    Hangs up....

    If we all did it, all day, everyday, they might get just the message.

    1. lansalot

      Re: Be a yes man instead.

      or.. just lay the phone down and go about your business. Return - eventually - and hang up.

      1. smudge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Be a yes man instead.

        Never tried this one, but I like the sound of it.

        Talk to them for a while, and then give your other half a pre-arranged signal. At which he/she yells something like "Are you going to come back to bed and f**k me, or piss about on that phone all day?". The more graphic, the better.

        Paris - needs no explanation!

      2. Pen-y-gors

        Re: Be a yes man instead.

        or interrupt to say there's someone at the door and you'll be back in a moment

        or say the person they asked for is just coming to the phone in a moment

        and then switch your internet radio to an obscure chinese radio station and leave it - I usually manage to get 5-6 mins of wasting their time before they hang up.

        or just use Google Translate to read out the Hindi translation of FOAD.

        ...simple pleasures

        1. Gav
          Holmes

          Crime Scene

          I prefer the tactic some American guy had (you'll find it online somewhere).

          Inform the caller that they have just phoned the scene of a murder and they are now a "person of interest" to the investigation. Demand to know their name, address, relationship with the victim, and whereabouts last night. Intersperse the interrogation with shouts about not walking through the blood and "don't touch that knife!"

          1. ElectricRook
            Holmes

            Re: Crime Scene

            I pulled that one on a 419 spammer, I told him that my father was the private pharmacist to Michael Jackson (right after his death), and that I needed his help to move our family fortune to Nigeria ;)

    2. Neil Charles
      Thumb Up

      Re: Be a yes man instead.

      Like it!

      The cold calls are annoying if you're busy but if you're not, it can be a fun diversion to see how long they'll stay on the phone.

      I had one PPI chap for the best part of half an hour. Answered initial questions and then very inconveniently developed a bad line when it came to giving my address.

      Sure, it's 3... ley... ro... cf... Are you still there? Hang on...

      Put the phone down and made dinner, talking more rubbish at 5 minute intervals. Took him ages to give up.

      1. Mike Richards

        Re: Be a yes man instead.

        Oh I like that. I hope you did get to say 'Your call is very important to us. All of our operators are busy right now, but please continue to hold.' Because everyone likes that.

    3. peter 45

      Re: Be a yes man instead.

      I had various scripts for answering the phone.

      "Ying Tong Chinese Takeaway. What nummer you wa?"

      "Secret Pleasures emporium. Congratulations you are out hundred caller today. What address shall I send your free vibrator?"

      And my special response for any female cold callers (very rare unfortunatly), "Sorry for my heavy breathing, I've just run to answer the phone. Now, what colour panties are you wearing? ".

      Any of my friends and family got used to telling me to shut up

  13. auburnman

    Well played that man. As for informing callers about the billed rate, surely it can't be that hard to set up a prerecorded message when connection is made?

    Personally we don't even have a telephone plugged in to the landline at mine, and with a little care over who I give my mobile number to I can't remember the last time I had a sales call. Obviously not a solution for everyone, but something more and more people are doing nowadays.

    1. Pen-y-gors

      Possibly not needed

      It was interesting that they only 'advised' him against doing it. It looks as if the rules about informing people of the rate apply to businesses advertising a number for consumers, and not for B2B or perhaps (in this case C2B)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Informing callers about the billed rate

      I don't recall every having been 'told' about such rates when calling company 0845 or other such numbers.

      I am pretty sure that it is sufficient to have a web 'home page' which contains your contact details, which includes a footer (usually written in a tiny font somewhere down the bottom of the page) informing potential contactees that they will be charged such-and-such for calling you.

      Not your problem if they're scraping your phone number from some illicit source, and not seeing your "clearly displayed" disclaimer ...

      1. Roger Mew

        Re: Informing callers about the billed rate

        Hi if you see or get a non informed number of the 0845 / 0871 type notify with the usual bits in front :- phonepayplus.org.uk/Contact-Us.aspx the user is breaking the law, in fact I have notified them of one, Norfolk police!!

        From now I shall be notifying them of others, The advert MUST by law have premium rate number and the cost eg 10p connection and 7p a minute and NOT put at local call cost. If they have that on their advert then if you call them and you have a prepaid all call thing as we do then ask for your money back or even threaten them with a/ county court, or b/ legal action.

        Two things are likely to happen, 1/ the legal people will get pissed off and demand action, OR these numbers will be deemed illegal.

        say no to 0870 and look up the number.

  14. lansalot

    cold-calls..

    Interestingly (well, to me anyway), I had zero cold-calls when my landline was rented along with broadband through plusnet.

    I changed back to BT, and the very EVENING it was switched over, the phone rang with my first cold-call as I was coming in the door. Not a single person has my landline number, I use my mobile for the very rare times I call anyone - so I just put the handset on low-volume and let it ring away. But I hear it ring a couple of times a week regardless.

    Wondered if it was to do with the fact that my number now appears in the phone directory - when I was with plusnet, it didn't.

    And on another piss-me-off... why the fuck do I still have to pay for landline rental anyway? I don't want a phone. Broadband is fine thanks, I've got my mobile. This practice is outdated and should be changed. That said, why change it when you can bill someone 15 quid a month for something they don't want and don't use. Sounds like the perfect business to me...

    1. Tom Wood

      Re: cold-calls..

      You don't need a voice service on the phone line, but you still need to rent a landline (physical wires) for the broadband. Since providing and maintaining the copper wires does cost money, it seems reasonable for them to charge you line rental one way or another.

      Once the wires are in place, the voice service can be provided at virtually zero marginal cost.

      So, while they could roll the line rental cost into the monthly broadband subscription, and not provide a voice service, it would probably be no cheaper overall than the current deal.

      1. Nuke
        Thumb Down

        Re: cold-calls..

        Wrote :- "Since providing and maintaining the copper wires does cost money, it seems reasonable for them to charge you line rental one way or another."

        Agreed, but the charge is exorbitant. Ignoring the usage charge, all they are providing for me is half-a-mile of thin signal cable (6p/m from CPC), a master socket (£3 ditto), I guess a circuit card at the exchange (£20?), and a share in the trunk network which is basically light elecronics. For that I am standing charged ~£18 per month.

        Then they charge me £6 for paying my bill.

        Compare that with my elecricity supplier. For me, they provide 100 yds of 100 Amp cable (probably ££/m), a usage meter that looks like it costs ~£100, and a share in a network of distribution towers and mighty power stations which are on such a scale that they are features in the landscape. For that I have a standing charge of ~£4.50 a month.

        What is the logic in that comparison?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: cold-calls..

          A few points:

          1: your 6p/m cable isn't waterproof and gel filled like proper phone cable, and you get a DEDICATED line back to the exchange.

          2: Electrical supply is just a "supply". You don't get individually numbered electrons like you have phone lines, meaning your network is infinitely simpler to service.

          3: In a power cut, your phone will still work due to the exchange's local generator

          I pay about £10/month for line rental, most agreements i've seen are for £15 or so, so how your paying £18 I don't know

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      How about not connecting a phone to the landline ?

      I mean, if you have no use for it, why connect it ?

    3. Velv
      FAIL

      Re: cold-calls..

      "why the fuck do I still have to pay for landline rental anyway?"

      BECAUSE YOU WANT BROADBAND.

      Clue's in the name - LINE RENTAL. You want a copper cable into your house, you pay for a copper cable into your house (or fibre). How else do you expect them to deliver your broadband - subspace ether???

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: cold-calls..

        It's interesting how companies in different countries go about making their money. Here in the States the put the line to your house because without it you can't be their customer.

        There are some exceptions for oddball installations (more than 400ft from the street line for example) and there might a one time service charge for a new hookup (but that's tax deductible) but most providers in most places don't charge a line rental fee. You get the line for free but pay for what's coming over the line.

  15. janimal

    12 a month!

    " Perhaps more importantly, the number of cold calls has dropped off dramatically; he's now down to an enviable dozen a month, down from 30+."

    Bloody hell! Does he enter his home phone number into every web based form he can find or something?

    We are ex-directory and signed to TPS. Occasionally we get a spate of one or two calls from outside the country - every couple of months though, not on a monthly basis.

    I like the idea though.

    1. an it guy

      Re: 12 a month!

      um. Yeah. Why has the register completely omitted telling people about the TPS. I'm amazed at how many people don't know about this service.

      While we're here, they also do the Mailing preference service, and if you run a fax, the fax preference service.

      Since a google search seems to provide ads to people other than the actual service, it's http://www.tpsonline.org.uk/‎

      http://www.mpsonline.org.uk/

      http://www.fpsonline.org.uk/

      And, for what is more sad, the baby mailing preference service for when a little loved one has passed away and you don't want to receive baby related post.

      http://www.mpsonline.org.uk/bmpsr/

      1. Danny 14

        Re: 12 a month!

        ahh spam fax. I remember the office drone sending a 10 page black page back to a spammer. Pre internet fax days of course.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    TPS used to work, then the number of calls we were getting ramped up again. Blocked withheld numbers which has reduced the number again, with the added bonus that the in-laws can't call us.

    The number of calls that originate from overseas is increasing and they dial you from numbers that cease to be live 20 seconds after they hang up. If the regulator cracked down on this "fast rotation" of numbers then people would actually be able to complain properly!

    If the Regulator was as vigorous at dealing with these companies as it is in it's criticism of this chap.....

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another approach

    When you usually receive those calls they ask "am I talking the home owner" or "am in to talking to X" if you then say "No I'll just get them" then put the phone on the table and carry on watching TV until they hang up.

    This approach is good because

    1. They still have to pay for the phone, even if it isn't premium rate.

    2. They aren't phoning someone else.

    3. Call center's work often work on a conversion per minute ratio so the more time they spend on the phone with no conversions the less attractive it is for someone to pay them for this service.

    That's how I deal with it anyway.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Another approach

      I keep them going as long as possible if I have some time to spare. I try and give them just as much info as possible to keep them going and 'wandering around trying to find the appropriate paperwork' can be good fun. Ask for their names again and again and act like a dumb customer and you can keep them going for a long long time.

      I've even wondered if I should get on of my old windows (nt 3.51 or 95 )running in a VM so I can take the mallware boys through that and let them poison it before wiping it - I did that when fixing a friends machine and had them on the line for over an hour before they sussed me.

    2. Nuke
      Holmes

      @AC 09:20 - Re: Another approach

      Wrote :- " they [usually] ask "am I talking the home owner" or "am in to talking to X" if you then say "No I'll just get them" then put the phone on the table and carry on watching TV until they hang up. This approach is good because [1 .. 2 ... 3]"

      You don't need to wait for them to ask for the home owner to do this. You just say "You need to talk to the owner about this, not me. I know he will be very interested. Hang on while I fetch him."

      That makes them hang on for a LONG time, because it sounds so promising.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Notice one thing

    How everything is slanted against the consumer.?

    ---

    Got cold callers? Register with the TPS!

    Still getting cold callers? Sucks to be you, complain to the TPS. Oh wait, it was a recorded call? TPS can't help. Oh, it was marketing, call the MRS (Market Research Society). Something else or number withheld? Complain to the ICO. Or maybe it should be Ofcom? Hard to know, it's up to you as the consumer to work this crap out - no one will help you.

    Conclusion: the TPS can rarely help.

    ---

    MRS never heard of the company calling you? Well they can't help.

    Conclusion: MRS are a waste of carbon.

    ---

    So now you've complained to the ICO, number blocked? ICO can't help. International? ICO can't help.

    Conclusion: the ICO can't help.

    ---

    So contact your telephone provider. Even if you have the number, they can't block BUT (for a fee) they will block withheld numbers, which could stop legit calls in some cases.

    Conclusion: your telephone provider doesn't care.

    ---

    Want to take revenge and play them at their own game? No, naughty. "PhonePayPlus" will spank you.

    Conclusion: PhonePayPlus is a a corporate shill.

    ---

    Why not take some direct action? What, the company (e.g. "My Consumer UK") isn't listed at Companies House? Yer fooked.

    ---

    Despite all the (so-called) industry regulators, laws, civil servants etc and money being thrown around - not one of them can stop cold callers. Not a one. As a consumer you have no recourse, you just have to bite the pillow and take it.

    1. Danny 14

      Re: Notice one thing

      just play some hardcore german techno down the phone (a small speaker will suffice). Either that or a recording of some bedroom olympics on loop (after saying "im a tad busy, hang on a sec")

    2. Justicesays
      Devil

      Re: Notice one thing

      And yet somehow that company that no one can get the real number of, and is withheld, and in a foreign country, that company still gets charged the 10p/min.

      Amazing how a little profit motive makes everything work whereas when its consumer protection that will actually eat into your profits, its an "impossible" problem to solve.

      I propose we all have a number that charges you 10p a minute when you ring it, but you are able to register certain phone numbers that will only get charged normal rates, and in addition you can put in a special code after a call has finished for that call to be charged at normal rates as well.

      Sucks for payphone users, but nothing is perfect.

    3. Naughtyhorse

      simples

      ammonium nitrate

      fuel oil

      a few pounds of 3 inch ovals

      all bundled up with a freshly laid dog turd

      the hard part is finding out where to send it

      BASTARDS

  19. RonWheeler

    I'd buy a blocking device but

    the in-laws are foreign and the only way to get cheap international calls is still on the landline. Tried going SIP but it is too laggy to be usable without making sure the PCs aren't doing anything before making a call - not practical.

    TPS and being ex-directory hasn't stopped the autodialler scum phoning several times a day.

  20. Miek
    Linux

    It's odd that the figures seem to vary from article to article on this one. Another article I read yesterday was that it cost £10 to setup the line and he made 9 pence from every ten pence.

    1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

      £10 setup fee plus VAT at 20%, so £12 total. Not sure where the 9p comes from...

      1. Miek
        Linux

        VAT: That makes sense. The article I read was:

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/10273070/Businessman-makes-300-after-turning-table-on-cold-callers.html

        They quote :

        "I decided I would get an '08' number and realised if I had an '0871' number they would be charged 10p a minute.

        "Out of this I get to keep 9p for every minute so I phoned up all of my service providers and told them I would be changing my number.

        "This was in 2011 and I've made £300 from it."

  21. Mage Silver badge

    email

    How do I set up an email address that works like a Premium phone number?

    I never get cold calls on phone. But I get spam.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: email

      Well, it probably would of been possible with X.400 given all the telco input.

  22. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Bogus assertion

    but mostly it’s the price we pay for the collapse in the cost of communications…

    This is utter nonsense. Deregulation and accompanying drops in charges has happened across the EU without the same increase in calls.

    Cold calls are an unsolicited invasion of privacy and as such illegal. The infrastructure is already in place to clamp down on the offenders whether they are based in the UK or not. The problem is a regulator lacking both the teeth and balls to enforce the law.

    Ofcom should be working to make it easy for people to report offenders and lobbying for fines that will deter companies from risking being reported: not necessarily the company making the call but whichever network facilitates the call. This was the logic behind the changes in the law in Germany last year which drastically increased the fines for cold callers. They also made it illegal to charge customers on waiting to speak to an operator.

    My advice to anyone receiving cold calls is to note the name of the company making the call and inform them that you will report them. If you are receiving a lot of abuse then contact your provider and get them to enable tracing (yes, it's already active for GCHQ but you have to pay for it) and get them to do their job in pursuing the offending network. Any costs incurred can probably be reclaimed in legal action and threatening small claims should probably end any discussion. A report to your MP and Ofcom at the end.

    If people actually start doing something about the menace then there is a higher chance of the regulator taking notice and possibly even doing their job.

  23. rototype

    Another Option

    ... is to announce yourself as something like "Welcome to the Gay and Lesbian helpline...... With what aspect of non-heterosexuality may we help you" They soon hang up (well they do if it's a person phoning, if it's a machine it don't really work).

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another vote against BT

    3 years ago, when I became a homeworker, I arranged for BT to fit a separate (to my Virgin[1]) line for broadband only. I already had a VOIP number, so intended to continue to use that as my work number.

    Within half an hour of the line being fitted and activated, I had a marketing call - from BTs Indian centre, asking if I wanted the number to be put in the phone book. I pulled the phone out, and it hasn't rung in 3 years :)

    [1]I did actually want a second Virgin line. But despite many requests via their webform for a quote, no one got back to me. Shame, as it cost them a few tens of thousands of pounds when I was asked to review a tender and replied - quite honestly - to my boss that Virgin weren't very good with business lines.

  25. Simon Rockman

    A more lucrative option is 070

    I heard of one person who has an 070 number which is 50p/minute,. As many people think anything beginning with 07 is a mobile number they call it happily.

    The said uber-scammer is getting over 30p/minute revenue share, and has VoIPed it to an overseas call centre. He then courts the scam calls - registering an interest on websites and the like and leads them along with his call centre working from a script.

    His revenue is significantly more than Lee Beaumont's.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: A more lucrative option is 070

      I have an 070 too (at £1.50/min), but I don't get a cut and I don't promote it.

      It _is_ handy though - and at that high rate, cold callers are getting utterly scalped. Anyone else is asked to call back on a different number.

      PPP is a trade association. While they may claim to be a regulator, they also claim to be exempt from FOI

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A more lucrative option is 070

      Actually, this isn't true anymore unless the scammer's number is from an unscrupulous company, as Ofcom have banned companies from sharing revenues (by this I mean the company the guy got his 0871 number from gave him 7p of their 10p per minute revenue, which is how he made his money. They can't do this with 070 numbers now). More info: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/telecoms/numbering/guidance-tele-no/070-guidance.

      Flextel has a solution where you can get the best of both - you can get an 070 number from them for free (so that it looks like a mobile and stings the cold callers' costs) and also get a free 0871 number (don't know why the guy paid for his 0871 number!) to earn cash. Depending on how you want it to figure out, you can divert your 070 to your 0871 or the other way around, which is a good loophole. Make sure you check out the small print first though, as with any loophole trick ;)

  26. Irongut Silver badge

    Why bother?

    If a call comes up as a blocked number, out of area or international I don't answer it. Since the landline is cordless I don't even need to get up to check it. I'm happy for cold callers to speak to my answerphone and delete the message the next time I walk past to make a cuppa.

    I have never had a cold call or SMS spam on my mobile ever. But then I only give that number to family & friends.

    I don't remember the last time I spoke to someone in a call centre that I hadn't called myself.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was getting about 16 PPI calls a month. Used the automated 'remove me' several times..they kept calling. Talked to an operator and asked them...no use.

    Then I went along with the game, said I was interested, gave them a false name and address of a derelict house as they send a representative the next day for you to sign their papers.

    Next day I get a call from the company asking to check my address and I told them that their people would be going all over the country every time they called from now on. They use third party representatives, so this be costing them at least 50 quid for every visit, regardless of outcome.

    I haven't had a single call since.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop PPI calls dead

    This is what I did after I was getting 16+ calls a month, and repeated attempts to use the 'press '9' to remove' and actually asking a PPI operator to take me off the list.

    I went along with it. Gave them a false name and the address of a derelict house. They arrange for a third party rep. to bring the documents to you to sign.

    On the arranged day I get a call asking them to confirm my address. I told them that from now on their people would be going all over the UK until they stopped calling me.

    No more calls since..must cost them at least 50 quid to have a rep. come out. Hit them where it hurts.

  29. IsJustabloke

    All these funny ways of getting shot of PPI type sales calls

    Ok these calls are a PITA and they can sometimes interrupt you from doing "other stuff" but I don't feel the need to be rude to some poor schmuck who is simply trying to make a living.

    They are simple to deal with, just get a phone that can have the ring tone turned off and attach it to an answering machine. Its really not that diificult but then I guess you'd lose the chance to explain to the poor bloke/blokess how much more important than them you are.

    if by any chance you do find yourself on the phone to a cold call I always find, "thanks but no thanks good bye" works really well raraley if ever finding a need to abuse someone.

    You lot are strange.

    1. Jason Bloomberg

      Re: All these funny ways of getting shot of PPI type sales calls

      some poor schmuck who is simply trying to make a living.

      They made their choice and have to accept the consequences of their decision. I don't believe there are many at all who genuinely have no choice.

      1. IsJustabloke
        Facepalm

        Re: All these funny ways of getting shot of PPI type sales calls

        well I'm sure all those poor people in places like India where a lot of these call centers are based are really pleased that you're sure they have a choice.... of course teh choice is normally work here or starve but yes its certainly a choice.

  30. James O'Shea

    Feh

    I usually answer cold calls with "You have reached the offices of Daltry, Entwistle, Moon, and Townshend. How may I direct your call?" This tends to result in their hanging up and not calling back.

    (Special bonus no-prize for those who can ID where I got the names; the useless gits who make these calls never can.)

  31. Crisp
    Coat

    Cue sounds of "I wish I'd thought of that!"

    If I had a pound for every bugger that's phoned me asking me about my PPI claim.

  32. Robin Bradshaw

    I quite enjoy the cold calls, I know this isn't going to be to everybody's tastes but I like the opportunity to be creatively stupid.

    The last time I had a call about double glazing I told the sales guy that I didn't need it as i had bricked up all the windows, "why did you do that?" he asked, Because i'm a vampire.

    And the solar panel seller who was told I couldn't have panels fitted because I live in the arches under a railway bridge and the trains would smash the solar panels.

    Embrace the madness, the hardest part is not laughing while acting like an idiot.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I don't feel the need to be rude to some poor schmuck who is simply trying to make a living."

    I'm sorry: did someone force them to take the bloody job at gunpoint? Did they threaten to kidnap family members? No? Then I shall shed no tears about their ridiculously thin skin and poor career choices.

    India has nuclear weapons and recently joined the very small and exclusive club of nations that has designed and built its own aircraft carrier, so they don't get to play the "developing nation" card any more either.

    1. Nuke
      Holmes

      @AC 14:00 GMT

      Wrote :- "India has nuclear weapons and recently joined the very small and exclusive club of nations that has designed and built its own aircraft carrier, so they don't get to play the "developing nation" card any more"

      Don't forget their space programme, more than the UK can afford. As for Indians starving, that is quite likely to be seen in the UK too within a generation. I live in supposedly one of the best-off parts of the UK, and yet I regularly now see collections for "surplus" tinned food to hand out to the poor of the area. I am glad I have a large vegtable patch.

  34. Mario Becroft
    Happy

    Can't comment on cold-calls as I rarely get any. But here in NZ the situation has traditionally been as in the UK--the incumbent telco provides copper line and voice service whether you want it or not. You then pay an ISP to give you DSL service over that line. But nowadays, with regulation enforcing more competition in the market, you can buy 'naked DSL' which is simply a phone line with DSL and no voice service. It is only a little cheaper this way. However, lansalot is not entirely off the mark.

  35. Stevie

    Bah!

    So what is needed is a recorded message "The occupant of the house is at home and will take your call. Your call is important to the occupant. Please stay on the line to speak to the occupant. A premium rate is levied on this telephone line. The amount levied is [x] Euros. This is approximately [y] pounds [z] pence, which at the time of this recording was equivalent to [a] American dollars and [b] cents, or [c] Canadian dollars and [d] cents. The Rupee value of this toll amounts to [e] ... "

    "Hello?"

    Done right they've already paid for a couple of minutes before they get the bad news, and they can still elect to waste your time at their expense.

  36. Feldagast

    In the US you can get what they call a Telezapper, it plays the tones which her in the US signal a out of service or disconnected phone prior to the answering machine picking up. As most of the cold calls in the US are done by automated phone services it stops them before its ever connected to an operator. I imagine recording what ever that sound is in the UK at the beginning of your answering machine message might do the trick.. In the US we have the Do Not Call registration but the politicians and charities are exempt from having to follow it.

    Good luck, I think the annoyance of unwanted phone calls is a universal thing.

    1. Feldagast
      Happy

      Also about spam

      Someone mentioned about doing this with spam, check out this web site.

      http://www.snark.com/e-mail/

      for info on how to make spammers pay your for storing their emails.

      Not sure it works but sounded interesting, and I found it several years ago.

  37. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Sounds interesting

    "Wow, that sounds like something I'd like to have. Could you hold on a sec while I go get something to write on?"

    Back to watching footy until they hang up.

  38. Long John Brass

    Asterisk for the win

    I've installed Asterisk and a ATA for the house land line

    It answers, plays a ringing tone then one of the standard messages (Blue eyed polar bear)

    It stops telemarketers dead in their tracks :)

  39. Roger Mew

    This organisation is taking the Michael as if you do this they say you can be fined. Now same organisation states that users MUST display the cost of this number and one clever company say it is lo-call, and some companies are saying local cost, its not its 10 p connexion and 7 p a minute. So please, if you see an advert or any thing that gives one of these numbers without a cost and explanation then PLEASE notify with the usual bits in front -; phonepayplus.org.uk/Contact-Us.aspx and quote the numbers and document, eg Norfolk police with 0845 345 3458 for hard of hearing, or 0845 345 4567 for a fax.

  40. Ray Merrall

    I, finally, was able to find something that stopped these b*******s, a British gadget called Truecall. Just checked the record, and of the 25 calls received last month, 19 were zapped and blocked or sent to voice mail (no message left, funny that), the other 6 were starred calls.

    When I first fitted the device, 2 years ago, it was blocking up to 10 pest calls a day.

    Ok, it costs about £100 and £15/year but has more than paid for itself in cutting time wasted. For the record, I don't sell it, make commission or work for the company.

    Oh! I have a call blocker app on my mobile and use the blocker on my Skype number, unfortunately can only really use against numbers that have already called though.

    Until the politco's start kicking BT's backside, nothing is really going to change.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can we just replace phrases like cold callers, telemarketers and telesales with the more accurate term: Telephone spammers.

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