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Lee Beaumont calls cold callers’ bluff with an 0871 number

Yellow phone

Our Which? Convo regular Lee Beaumont’s story of using a premium rate 0871 number to charge nuisance callers has gone global. How do you deal with nuisance callers?

Many of you have told us about the creative ways you handle nuisance calls, from blowing whistles down the phone to telling tall tales to confuse callers.

And last week we gave Lee Beaumont our Comment of the Week for sharing how he has turned the table on cold callers:

‘I have a 0871 as my home number. I have this so I make money when PPI/cold callers phone me.’

After paying for his premium rate number, Lee gets paid by the minute for cold calls. Now, while it’s not something we’d recommend, Lee told BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme how it works for him:

avatar‘I was getting annoyed with the PPI calls when I’m trying to watch Coronation Street, for instance, so I’d rather have an 0871 so I can make 10p a minute.

‘I thought there must be a way to make money off these phone calls.’

Separate number for family and friends

Since he set up the number in 2011, Lee says he’s made around £300 from the calls he’s received. But don’t worry, he told us that he has a separate number for family and friends:

‘My 0871 numbers sits on top of my normal Leeds 0113 number. Two people have my 0113 number and that is my mother and my best friend. There is no need to give anyone else the number as I speak to other people via text or on Skype for free.’

However, setting up such a number is something Phone Pay Plus (the premium number regulator) warns against. It told Radio 4:

‘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.’

Make sure to report nuisance calls

Lee’s tactic isn’t something we’d recommend – we don’t think you should have to set up a premium rate number to get back at nuisance callers. It might reduce the amount of money Lee makes with his 0871 number (as a regular, we’re sure he’ll forgive us for this), but we don’t think you should have to put up with nuisance calls at all!

So if you get interrupted by a nuisance call, make sure to fight back by reporting them with our simple tool. If more of us complain, it will send a clear message that more needs to be done to stop this menace.

Andy twain says:
21 May 2014

Thank you Lee for sharing such a good way of solving the problem. But its not perfect for all to go by the process.

[Link removed. Thanks, mods.]

Phonepayplus is statement is nonesense. Whoever said it does not understand the regulations and is out of date. This specific use of 0871 numbers is very unlikely to be in breach. This is a typical urban myth bouncing around the press.

I understand that ordinary citizens have the moral right to charge for their valuable time in answering calls?

I got my 0871 number free from flextel. It also lets you record your calls, which are then emailed to you. Now that is really handy. I have a permanent record of the promises sales callers make and it all perfectly legal. I can also block any calls I do not want to receive. Using 0871 is a great win for the consumers and serves to protect them from abuse.

I think Phonepayplus have a moral duty to correct its misleading statement!

Daniel says:
21 May 2014


No. its a premium rate number and as such the owner must display the charges or inform of them. business or consume it dont make a difference.

one could also describe it as theft (if the owner does not disclose costs etc)

To update:

It’s been 8 months since my 0871 story came to light. I still use it to this day. I still do the odd TV & Radio interview. I’m still not used to the media stuff, I even made a fool of myself on Sky News a few weeks ago lol.

But just to confirm, I was not (and still not) breaking any kind of rules.

Hi Lee,

I’ve been getting these nuisance call for years now i get 3 calls a day sometimes more, I’ve only just come across your posts on the BBC radio,

How do i set up my land line number to a 0871 number and what web site do i get my 0871 number from ?.

I would like to charge these nuisance callers more with an 070 number is this a posabillerty ?.


I think you’ll find that the rules changed a couple of years ago with respect to 0871.

Furthermore, if you don’t advertise the number, but just give it out as your point of contact none of the rules apply. I hope this clarifies the difference.

Daniel says:
21 May 2014

please provide evidence to your claims. end of the day its still a premium rate number.

mike says:
25 June 2015

whenever I do a 1471 on these time wasting b======s its either a loud buzzing or a voice saying this number is not in service,and why do they always ask for my wife and not me. The numbers I have got so far are 02084568972 and 02038140038 the former a buzz the latter a not in service. hope this helps. Cheers Mike