I recently read a BBC news article reporting on a man who turned ‘annoying cold calls into cash‘. It’s an interesting headline, and I can see why it reached the top of the ‘most read stories’ on the site: after all, who doesn’t like an underdog winning?
Is it worth it to setup a premium rate number of your own? Probably not.
It’s mentioned briefly in the article, but 087X numbers are regulated by PhonePayPlus – they’re treated as a ‘premium rate number’ in the same way as 09X numbers are. As a result, if you do have an 087X number, there’s a number of regulations you’ll have to follow: for example, you need to advertise the amount that they cost to the caller.
Additionally, setting up an 087X number isn’t as simple as you might think: whilst there are a large number of companies that let you do this, they’ll mostly charge you a monthly fee. You’ve also got the problem of actually getting your calls – you could forward the call to another number, but that’ll take quite a large percentage of the money you get from callers (particularly if you’re diverting to a mobile), so you’re usually going to have to setup a VOIP system on your mobile or computer, which gets a bit fiddly.
0844 numbers aren’t as heavily regulated as their 087X counterparts, but of course don’t earn you as much money. I’ve had one of these for a couple of months, but discontinued its use shortly after my provider decided to start charging a monthly fee that would outweigh any of the money I’d make from the per minute charges – 3p a minute doesn’t really add up that quickly, no matter how many calls you get!
You can stop most cold calls free by registering with the TPS
In conclusion: if you’re bothered by cold calls, it’s not going to be worth your while to set up a premium rate hotline. Simply make sure that you sign up to the Telephone Preference Service to reduce the number of calls that you get. Telemarketers are then legally required not to call you without prior consent.