Feeds

BAN THIS SICK FILCH: Which? demands end to £1.50-per-min 'help' lines

Consumer group reckons it should be cheaper to call banks and public bodies

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Consumer campaigners at Which? are calling for a ban on costly helpline and customer call-lines.

Executive director Richard Lloyd said it was "outrageous" to force people with questions or complaints to call higher-rate numbers - such as those starting with 09, 0845, 0844, and 0871 - that could charge up to £1.50 a minute.

"It's no wonder that people think companies do this deliberately to deter them from complaining," he said in a statement launching Which?'s new campaign.

“We want an end to all costly calls for customer service and complaints, and new rules so that all companies have to provide a local rate number. There should be no exceptions.”

Recent changes to the EU Consumer Rights Directive say that calls to customer helplines have to be charged at no more than the basic rate, but financial services, the travel industry and public bodies are not included under this rule.

High-street banks including HSBC, Halifax and RBS use 0845 numbers for their complaint lines, as do public bodies such as the Student Loans Company and the Redundancy Payments Service helpline, Which? said. Although 0845 lines are fairly low rate - typically no more than 11p a minute from a landline - campaigners argue this is still too much. Charges ramp up to about £1.50 a minute for an 09 number.

According to Which?'s survey of more than 2,000 adults in Great Britain, two thirds of people reckon that companies are using high-rate numbers to discourage them from calling, while three quarters are put off by the hotline codes. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.