Lee Beaumont of Leeds, England got sick of unsolicited calls to his home number, so he spent £10 registering a "premium rate" number that costs 7p/m to call, and started listing that as his home number in all of his commercial dealings. Once he'd set things up so that spammers made him money, he started to spread his number around, tweeting it in the clear and telling customer service reps to call him on it. The number paid for itself in two months, and, when the story drew press-attention last summer, the lengthy press-calls he received made him hundreds of pounds. If you want to give Mr Beaumont 7p (or more), you can call him at
On a Which? online forum, Beaumont – who has a website that carries the 0871 number – said: "I look for ways to get companies to call me." When he opens a new bank account, switches energy supplier and so on, and the company asks for his home number, he gives them the 0871 number.
"Sometimes they ask why. I am honest and say it's so I make 10p per minute when companies call me ... Three days ago I had a problem with my Ocado shop. I tweeted them and they asked me to call an 0845 number. I refused and asked them to call my 0871 number. I posted this in a open tweet so if cold callers pick up on that number, it will help me make a few more quid if they phone me." Ocado did phone him on the number and sorted out the problem, he added.
(Image: Making Lemonade, Michael Coté, CC-BY)