/ Technology

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.


Well Done Lee.

Odd how Phone Pay Plus have warned about using such a tactic yet they are very quiet about companies doing the same.

So if 0871 numbers should be avoided, what about 070 personal numbers, can they be used to generate revenue too?

And how much longer must we the poor public have to put up with a very visible lack of action from regulators and government. Nuisance phone calls/texts have been going on FAR to long now.

And good as your simple tool maybe what is the point of reporting a silent call with no return number? And how do those without internet access report nuisance calls.

The best way to report a nuisance call should be to enter a simple code down the phone during or immediately after a call. I can guarantee 100% that anyone who has had a nuisance phone call has a phone.

Henryj says:
30 August 2013

William. I agree 100% with you. Let Phone Pay Plus explain why they allow companies to use 0871 but are concerned about private customers using it. Maybe Which should ask them this


And maybe they can explain why 10 years after the NHS issued guidelines that doctors surgeries shouldn’t use premium rate numbers, several still are.

I found a couple just googling “uk doctor surgery 0871”


I agree Phonepayplus have got it totally wrong here. They seem to misunderstand their own rules! If it’s a sales call it is not a consumer calling, so no need to publish tariff and its a business to business call.

Anyway, why shouldn’t folks get paid for their valuable time answering sales calls?

I got my 0871 number free from Flextel and then use other numbers from them for family, friends and colleagues. I can also filter who can call me by using Flextel’s auto-attendant and call divert free features.

The big issue is that now we have cheap phone calls, we are getting spam calls like we do on email.

I think we should all be allowed to have 0871 numbers and also that sales calls should only be permitted to these numbers and banned to ordinary 01 and 02 numbers.

Sue Preston says:
28 July 2014

After looking at PayPayPlus website I came across some packages for sale they offer at a cost of £300!!! I also found out they are an agency. Don’t want people to make money unless they do!!!!


How much would an 09 number cost? I would like to make lots of money from nuisance callers. 🙂

Well done Lee with finding a novel solution, but I agree with Patrick that it is not something that we should all have to do.


I used to do this with 0870 numbers in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I received plenty of money from companies phoning me. My Orange tariff at the time even included calls to 0870 numbers, so I could simply phone myself to generate even more revenue. The economics of 0870 numbers have since changed, but I might consider 0871 instead.


Thanks Patrick. It’s been a crazy 2 days. Been on TV once, going on TV again tomorrow and done 9 radio interviews!