118 services fail to refund

Tsk, tsk

BT is splashing out £3 million on a new ad campaign in a bid to win back customers to its directory enquiries (DQ) service.

The monster telco reckons that it can elbow its way back into the market as long as it focuses on accuracy and speed - two areas it reckons it's got the competition licked.

But according to a report by the Mail on Sunday, BT isn't quite so hot at issuing refunds when it gets things wrong.

Along with five other DQ operators, the report claims that the monster telco is failing to follow industry guidelines and give people refunds when it dishes out a wrong number. The report claims that punters are being cheated out of hundreds of thousands of pounds by DQ operators.

A BT spokesman told the paper: "If they ask for a refund we will give them one - but it's up to them to ask."

But this is well out of line, according to a spokesman for the premium rate watchdog, ICSTIS. He told The Register this morning: "If people have a complaint then they should be offered a refund automatically - they shouldn't have to ask for a refund."

Elsewhere, the Financial Times reports that MPs are to quiz telecoms regulator OFTEL over its handling of the deregulation of DQ services.

Last week Oftel and ICSTIS held an emergency meeting with execs at The Number (118 118) following complaints about the service. ®

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