Feeds

Tesco charges punter £1 a minute for US freephone call

And helpdesk can't help with correct rate

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.