British businessman sets up hotline to make money from telemarketers

Foreign telemarketing firms are 'harassing' Canadians on the federal do-not-call list, and the CRTC is powerless to stop them

A British businessman is telling telemarketers to bring on the phone calls after he set up a hotline that makes him money each time a chatty salesperson calls.

The BBC reported Lee Beaumont from Leeds became annoyed at the influx of calls from people trying to sell him everything from solar panels to insurance, when all he wanted was to watch Coronation Street in peace, so he set up a hotline that charges anyone who calls 16 cents, of which he gets to keep 11 cents.

He's already made about $488, according to the broadcaster.

However, the company that regulates hotlines like Beaumont's and Phonepay Plus, told the BBC "it strongly discouraged people from adopting the idea," because there could be legal repercussions.

[ Related: Winnipeggers getting calls from scammers using 'spoofing' ]

Beaumont told the BBC he's transparent with the companies about the cost of calling him, and they don't seem to mind. Although now that he welcomes interruptions, he said they seem to happen less and less. And rather than slamming down the phone, he said he's more inclined feign interest and keep the conversation rolling.

Beaumont said he'd even posted the number on Twitter knowing telemarketers would pick it up.

Sales cold calls are a constant complaint among the public, and concerns about the illegal variety have earned attention in Canada recently after police investigated a major scam. Fifteen people from around Montreal are accused of calling elderly people and saying they've won an imaginary prize, according to the Montreal Gazette.

To claim the prize, the victims were supposed to send fees.