Feeds

Tesco charges punter £1 a minute for US freephone call

And helpdesk can't help with correct rate

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Comment Tesco's pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap philosophy works for most things - but not neccessarily telecoms it appears.

A four minute call to a US freephone number, using a Tesco Internet Phone connection, cost one Reg reader £1 a minute - 50 times what it would have cost to dial up a normal US number.

When we contacted Tesco to confirm what the rate should be, it told us it had no idea and no way of finding out.

Tesco Internet Phone is a VoIP offering. Cheap calls are made by computer and routed over the internet for the majority of the connection, then connected using a local (cheap) call. Like most VoIP providers, Tesco provides free calls to other subscribers, and very low cost international calls - two pence a minute for a normal call to the US.

The problem comes with the plethora of billing services now available. Anyone who has called a US freephone number from the UK will be familiar with the recorded announcement informing you that international billing will apply. The same thing happens if you phone a UK freephone number using a mobile telephone. But for this call no warning was received, just a bill for £4.42.

We phoned Tesco Internet Phone at its Crewe call centre. It told us it has a chart of rates, and US freephone numbers aren't on it - therefore, it has no way of knowing how much such a call would cost. We suggested this was patently ridiculous, but were told that no supervisor was available and no further information could be supplied.

Billing tables are increasingly complicated, and mistakes are endemic in the industry. An Informa survey from a few years ago found that every single mobile operator had at least one error in its billing tables.

Tesco shouldn't be pilloried for overcharging, but having a help line that can't advise how much a call is going to cost is the kind of customer service which will send customers back to BT post haste.

Tesco telecoms PR department could not be reached for comment. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.