A man being bombarded with calls offering to help him reclaim payment protection insurance (PPi calls) is making money from the marketing companies with his own higher-rate phone number.
Watch this short BBC video and answer the questions about it.
The activity is suitable for (strong) intermediate 2 students.
1. How much money has he made since he bought a 0871 phone number?
2. Why did he decide to buy the 0871 phone number?
3. What does '20 or 30' refer to?
4. How much do callers pay when they phone this number?
5. Why do his friends and family not have to pay any money when they call him?
6. What's the first requirement to have a premium number?
7. Has Lee got into trouble for getting a premium number?
I was sick of being bombarded with PPI calls. I worked out, there must be a way to make money, I bought a 0871 phone number, attached it to my landline, only £10 plus VAT. It was working. I make a 7p a minute.
So basically you set up your own premium phone line, so every time they call you, they have to pay, so do you make much money from it?
I’ve made a £300 (1) since 2011 November time, and that’s it, yeah.
That doesn’t sound like a lot of money but you didn’t do it for the money really, did you? It was about the annoyance…
At the start I was so annoyed (2) I wanted them to stop, that’s why I bought that Western Wood number, but I didn’t think they would call me, but they found a way.
So in terms of what difference it’s made, now if you say the number of calls you get go down…
They’ve dropped. I was getting between 20 and 30 last year (3), this year is only about sixteen this month so far.
And how do they get that number then, is it something when, whenever you have to tell people it’s a premium number…
I do. Legally I need to say it costs them 10p. a minute (4). An X amount of minute, legally I need to say that.
What about your friends and family, though? Do they have to pay?
No, they still have my Leeds number.
Right, so they can call you, so this is a second line essentially.
It’s on the same line but two numbers work on the same line, from my friends and family I’m a 0113, businesses I’m 0871 (5).
Yeah. And Fergus, just explain to us, when we are told about the story because Lee obviously acquired a big publicity from this, the regulators are now saying, you know, we should not all be going out to do this. What are the health warnings about this?
Well, I think the first thing to say is that if you’ve got a premium number you’re supposed to offer a service (6) and Lee is not really offering a service. And I think one has to ask how he’s managed to get past the regulator for that, but they’ve got rules, they say when you should be offering a service to as Lee already says you’ve got to tell people that you are charging and how much you’re charging them. And you’ve got a fairly robust claim, complaint handling procedures in place should people not want, you know, want to complain about the service you’re providing, so… It’s not a service, it’s not a thing for everyone to do. We have reasons for doing it. He’s got the motivation to do it. He works from home, he’s got, he’s got the time and flexibility to be able to do it. But it’s not something, we don’t want all to be charging our mum and dad to phone and ask us how you enjoyed the holiday, you know.
Have you been in any trouble for it? Has anyone kind of said…
I’ve read the regulator’s statement has come out this week, while they do discourage it, I’m not breaking any code at all (7).