We’ve heard you loud and clear – companies shouldn’t use expensive phone numbers for their customer service and complaints lines. That’s why we’ve launched a new campaign demanding a ban on costly calls.
We were pleased to see that the Consumer Rights Directive would put an end to pricey 0844 and 0871 customer helplines.
However, we weren’t happy that some sectors were being let off the hook. This includes financial services, travel companies and public bodies.
Getting irate about high-rate helplines
If you want to complain to your bank by phone, chances are you’ll have to call an 0845 number. HSBC, Natwest, RBS, Santander, First Direct and Halifax are all prone to this practice. You might need to call the Student Loans Company, the Environment Agency Flood Line or the Redundancy payments service helpline. Yes, you guessed it, more 0845 numbers.
Many of you spotted the missing companies here on Which? Conversation, including Kate:
‘No company should be immune from this, banks and government departments should be included too.’
In our poll, more than 5,000 of you agreed that all companies should scrap high-cost helplines. So we’re calling on the government to extend the ban to the travel industry, for the public sector to lead by example, and for the financial regulator to bring the finance industry into line. You can add your signature to our Costly Calls campaign here.
Paying a premium just to complain
Our research found that three-quarters of us are put off phoning customer services if we have to use a high-rate number, and three in five are put off making a complaint.
It’s outrageous that you’re faced with a high phone bill just to ask a question or make a complaint. It’s no wonder that two-thirds of people think companies do this deliberately to deter them from complaining.
You shouldn’t have to pay a premium to make a complaint or ask for help. We want an end to all costly calls for customer service and complaints, and new rules so that all companies have to provide a basic rate number. There should be no exceptions.