Every so often my mobile rings when I’m working.
I pick it up and say “Hello”.
Then after a few seconds there’s a click and a bored woman’s voice starts to tell me this is an urgent announcement about how much money I may be owed.
It’s a recorded message about PPI.

Sometimes it’s not a recorded message.
Sometimes it’s a call from an energy supplier.
They say it’s a survey, but really they want to sell me something.
It’s annoying because it interrupts me when I’m in the middle of work.
I didn’t ask for it and I don’t want it.
But there doesn’t seem to be anything you can do about it.
A guy in Leeds, Lee Beaumont, decided to turn the tables.
He was getting about thirty calls a month.
So he went onto Google and did a search.
He found he could buy himself an 0871 number for just £10.
That’s a one-off payment, no monthly costs.
Now when he gets a recorded PPI message he puts the phone aside and lets the entire message play for as long as they want.
Because it’s costing them 10p a minute to phone him.
And he gets 7p a minute of that.
He knows that most of the information you fill out online is shared with other companies, without your permission.
So he always fills in his 0871 number.
He still gets recorded messages about PPI, he gets calls from gas suppliers, electricity suppliers, home delivery services, boiler cover, banks, insurance companies, surveys, lots of people he didn’t give his number to.
But now he tries to keep them talking for as long as possible.
Because it’s costing them 10p a minute.
And he gets 7p a minute of that.
In the two years he’s been doing it he’s made over £300.
That’s about £3 a week.
That’s about forty-five minutes a week of unwanted phone calls.
Personally I’d pay £3 a week not to have all those calls.
But he’s loving it.
Because he’s turned the tables on the people that were annoying him.
He doesn’t feel helpless any more.
Now he feels like he’s in charge.
He’s really enjoying getting one over on them.
He only gives his private number out to family and friends.
Everyone else gets the 0871 number.
Every time he has to fill out a form online.
Every time they share his information, without his permission, with other companies.
Anyone who calls him, unsolicited, pays 10p a minute for the privilege.
And he gets 7p a minute of that.
So for him it feels like he’s playing a game.
Maybe not the source of a great deal of money, but enough that he’s having fun and feeling like he’s winning.

All because he’s turned the predator into the prey.

  • Mark Griffiths

    Oh, happy world of predators and prey, aggressors and victims, winners and losers!

    • Dave Trott

      Yup, it’s called advertising

  • Mark Griffiths

    The absolute brass neck of the man, who’s made his living from disrupting people and complains about being disrupted!

    • Dave Trott

      You obviously don’t work in advertising.
      If you did you’d know the difference between good advertising and bad advertising.

  • Harry

    Hi Dave (can I call you Dave?), how are you?
    I love reading your blogs like crazy, actually I only started reading yesterday, a friend of mine recommended you as the Artist of telling stories in short sentences, and I think you truly are an artist. Please keeping blogging because I will be following.
    Harry from China.

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