/ Money

Are you still spotting costly 0845 numbers?

Tired man with phone

Customer service shouldn’t cost you a fortune, but some businesses are taking too long to phase out pricey numbers on their customer helplines. Have you spotted any culprits?

It’s two years since the Consumer Contracts Regulations came into effect. On 13 June 2014 companies were prohibited from using pricey phone numbers for customer lines – so why are we still seeing them advertised?

While plenty of companies have been receptive and made the appropriate changes, we continue to spot numbers starting 084 or 087 for customer service lines on posters and websites – calls to these business rate numbers can cost as much as 18p per minute from a landline, and 51p per minute from mobiles.

If you’re contacting a company’s customer service phone line because you have a complaint to make about the level of service you’ve received, or an issue with a product, then having to shell out more of your cash just to resolve an issue is nothing but rubbing salt into the wound.

Are companies aware of the changes?

Are companies doing enough to live up to the change in consumer regulations? It would seem that in some cases, businesses just don’t appear to be aware of the changes.

Just a few months ago a friend got in contact with me after reading our Which? conversation on travel firms flouting costly call rules. He explained how his phone charger had developed a dangerous fire-related fault, so he sought advice via the manufacturer’s Twitter account.

He was advised to ring a premium 0845 number, despite the Twitter page specifically stating that this method of contact was for customer support. After pressing for an alternative, he was only given the option to live chat on their website, or e-mail them instead.

Why so slow?

Going back to travel firms, I’ve frequently spotted premium numbers being displayed on trains on my commute to and from Which? headquarters. Not only are these numbers being listed for customer service, but also for reporting faults with toilets and even security camera systems.

When we pressed on these issues back in August last year, we were told that alternative numbers had been established and that posters would be updated ‘over the coming months’. But this was nearly a year ago – so are some firms taking this seriously enough?

So tell us, have you spotted any premium rate numbers for customer service and support?

Thank you for all of your comments, we’re working our way through the numbers you’ve reported to us. Please do keep them coming. Thank you

Comments
Ian says:
16 June 2016

Auto Glass has 0844 875 2490 on their web site as the number for booking an appointment, although if you dig a little you can find an 0800 number.

Domestic and General seem to charge for calls both customer services and reporting faults although I am not sure if this is illegal although it is not very ethical.

Haven Holidays & Park resorts customer service line is premium rate but you only find this out after you’ve booked when the booking ref is received.

If they have your booking incorrect you still have to use the premium line to put it right!

Keith Wilks says:
16 June 2016

When I was using the Fiat Motor web site to obtain a quotation for a Panda car I was directed to STONEACRE and was informed that one of their representative would contact me in due course but if I would like to speak to them before that I should ring 08433 083 758′
I think that VirginMedia charge around 20 pence connection plus 20 pence per minute for these numbers.

Gerry says:
16 June 2016

From any network the Service Charge for 0843 308 numbers is 7p/min, but there is no connection charge. Virgin Media’s Access Charge is 10.2p/min.

Unfortunately there is no prohibition on using Service Charge numbers for sales enquiries, but the Service Charge must be quoted and the Access Charge mentioned whenever such a number is advertised or communicated.

Carol Stevens says:
16 June 2016

Some companies are free to contact but put you through to another dept, that number isn’t free. If a company wants to do this ask them to ring you back.

Gerry says:
16 June 2016

Wrong ! An 080 number will continue to be free of charge to the caller, even if they transfer you to another number. The only time you may be charged a different rate is if you use a mobile to call a mobile that has been ported to another network: you will be charged the rate to the new network rather than to the network implied by the dialling code.

Ian says:
17 June 2016

Calls are charged according to the digits originally dialled. If they put you through, the call charge continues at the original rate.

If you hang up and re-dial a different number, that call will be charged according to the digits that were dialled.

Linda says:
16 June 2016

East Riding of Yorkshire council finance office has a high rate no. I tried to talk to them about a nasty letter that they had sent my sister who has learning disability (Downs). Not only would Mr Jobsworth not answer my concerns it cost me dear.

Frank says:
16 June 2016

Customer service of http://www.travelup.co.uk is stil using
0871 250 2510

RayF says:
16 June 2016

Cotswold Wireless use 0844 80 40 484 at 7ppm for reporting our broadband problems.

Gerry says:
17 June 2016

It can be a whopping 52p/min because there’s an Access Charge of up to 45p/minute depending on which network you use !

I need to have an MRI scan of my knee. I attended my appointment but they were unable to proceed until more was known about a prosthesis I have. I wanted to contact the company to see if they had received the information they needed and was given an 0845 number. I refused to use it and was then given a geographic number, 01926 482000. I rang this when I got home and got a recorded message giving me a list of 0845 numbers to ring depending on what my inquiry was about. The company is Alliance Medical, Iceni Centre, Warwick Technology Park, Warwick, CV34 6DA
So much for the NHS being free at the point of use.

Our alarm company ‘OnGuard24’ uses 0844 . It ‘interrogates our phone’ according to our phone company and we get charged for calls it makes, even though we don’t make these calls ourselves, but they do. We have complained about this many times in the four years we’ve had their alarm system, but they won’t do anything about it. Over time we’ve paid a lot for these calls which are made by OnGuard and not us….we would never ring an 0844 number knowingly.

Ian Wood says:
17 June 2016

I am still getting lots of cold calls including im from bt tech your computer is attracting virus .s .despite being aith tps

Sandy Burnett says:
17 June 2016

Microsoft are using 0845

Ian says:
17 June 2016

Microsoft announced 03 numbers two years ago.

ron atkins says:
17 June 2016

Talktalk still use 087 for service and faults, and ambassador theatre group still use 0844 for ticket orders.

Clifford James are still using 0871 for customer service

Jan Godfrey says:
17 June 2016

Funnily enough, I’m in the middle of a complaint to Christy Towels. The complaint is about a misleading description on their website, ending up with me not getting what I was expecting. I phoned an 0845 number, given on their invoice/dispatch note, and got a recorded message asking me to leave a message. Got ignored via email as well, so tweeted them.
Someone kindly tweeted me (and copied Christie Towels in) to tell me that they shouldn’t be using 0845 numbers. So I’m even less impressed with them now…

FreeAgent still advertise their 0845 number on their accounting software which is frustrating as a call can take a long time.

Linda says:
17 June 2016

Accor Hotels charge 13p a minute when you call their reserverations and their staff are trained to keep you on the phone for as long as possible.

Ian says:
17 June 2016

In addition to the 13p per minute Service Charge you also pay an Access Charge of up to 45p per minute.

Margaret says:
17 June 2016

British Airways

Stephen says:
17 June 2016

TalkTalk charge for anyone calling them from a non TalkTalk line. I am trying to resolve issues with them regarding a family member who is now in a residential home and I don’t see why I should have to pay for trying to fix problems that they have caused.

Create and craft.tv use a number that costs 13 pence per minute to call customer services. It’s still in use

Ian says:
17 June 2016

In addition to the 13p per minute Service Charge you also pay an Access Charge of up to 45p per minute.