Feeds

FreeServe charging double for tech support calls

Free ISP still charging £1 a minute despite introducing 50p-a-minute in February

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Leading ISP FreeServe is still charging £1 a minute for its telephone support service despite announcing in February that it had halved the cost. Net users who call FreeServe's original helpline number, 0906 553 5600, which was printed on tens of thousands of CD covers, are still being charged £1 a minute for technical support. Other subscription-free ISPs charge as little as 25p a minute for telephone support. Although callers are being told of the £1 a minute service charge at the beginning of the call, they are not informed that they can halve the cost of the call simply by phoning another number. Nor is their call re-routed automatically to the new cheaper-rate number. Instead, FreeServe customers who don't know could run up a bill for as much as £20 every time they call the helpline. A spokeswoman for FreeServe refused to say how many people were still calling the 0906 number or how much money FreeServe was making as a result of not telling their customers of the cheaper service. However, she did say that few and fewer people were using it. She added that the original number had been maintained for reasons of continuity and that callers to the helpline were told of the new 50p-a-minute number, 0839 517 517, but only in the first week. A spokesman for the premium telephone number watchdog, ICSTIS, confirmed that FreeServe could not simply have altered the tariff charges on the original 0906 number even though this appears to be the most logical and simple solution to the problem. But this does not explain why FreeServe continues to operate a £1-a-minute service when it made such a song and dance earlier this year saying that it had cut its charges. Asked if FreeServe had notified existing users of the new number one FreeServe customer told The Register: "No, they have never been in touch about the new number or the lower tariff." What's more, the new 50p-a-minute 0839 number will become obsolete in July when new telephone codes are introduced. Premium rate numbers will start with the 09 prefix, the same as FreeServe's existing £1-a-minute number. The worry for FreeServe's million or so customers is whether the monster ISP will revert back to the £1-a-minute charge or introduce yet another telephone number. This latest hiccup is yet further embarrassment for the ISP after The Register revealed last month that FreeServe is passing on confidential customer information to its sister company PC World (see earlier story). Although invited to make further comment FreeServe failed to contact The Register before press time. ®

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.