Lee Beaumont was sick of telemarketers calling him, so he came up with a brilliant solution: He made them pay him for the privilege. The Leeds man signed up for an 0871-number (the British equivalent of a 900-number), and began giving that out to banks, utility companies, and other commercial concerns, he tells the BBC. Now, whenever anyone calls him, it costs them 10 pence a minute. He has a non-pay number, but he only gives it out to friends and family.
When companies ask why he has a pay line, Beaumont says he's "very honest," telling them it's "because I'm getting annoyed with PPI phone calls when I'm trying to watch Coronation Street." The line has so far earned Beaumont around $465, while reducing the number of calls he receives a month from 20-30 to about 13. Schemes like Beaumont's make sense in the UK, because its version of the do-not-call list is a tad ineffective. A study this year found that people on it get twice as many calls as people who aren't. (Read more telemarketing stories.)