After one Which? member told us about a charge for a phantom speaking clock call, it sparked our interest. When we opened it to the floor to get your opinion, it turned out this wasn’t the only one…
Understandably many of you were frustrated with these mystery calls. NFH was confused as to why engineers needed to call ‘123’ to test phone lines:
‘I caught an engineer dialling 123 to test my line while in my home and I voiced my disapproval. I don’t understand why the engineers use a chargeable number for test calls. There are plenty of other free alternatives without having to waste customers’ money.’
But HAB really bore the brunt of it when he was charged when the engineer wasn’t even fixing his line:
‘My wife and I remembered there had been an engineer up the pole in a neighbour’s garden on the date, and time, that the calls appeared on the bill. The irony of it was that we didn’t have a fault, so the fault must have been on someone else’s line…’
But is it down to the engineers?
Ddenmik said his provider thought his (non-existent) Sky box might be to blame:
‘I had a charge for speaking clock some months ago with BT. When I pointed out that no one was in the house at the time of the alleged call, the money was refunded. However, I was asked if I had a Sky box (I don’t) as this appliance can, I was advised, sometime trigger calls of this type.’
However, Cherry was hit by a spate of 123 calls:
‘I had a series of about eight 123 calls on my bill the day a BT Openreach engineer visited to investigate a fault on my phone.’
Cherry later added: ‘It was actually 18 calls – just rechecked the bill!’
Struggling to get a refund?
It seems you’ve had varying luck on getting your calls refunded. Luckily, K Brockenhurst found it as easy as 1, 2, 3:
‘We were charged 50p last month for a speaking clock call we did not make. I phoned Talk Talk and they said it had been reported to them and someone must have made it, but they gave us an immediate refund without any problem.’
Mike, on the other hand, hit a brick wall and has even set up a family cooperative to show is disapproval:
‘My mother who is elderly and living on a small pension received a bill from Talk Talk with a call added to the speaking clock for over £5 – after much hassle with them they very begrudgingly refunded the money. We have now left Talk Talk for good and we have created a large family cooperative so any bad practices from utility companies we all leave en mass and do not return.’
More than just 123
And then there’s D.A. Watson, who spotted directory enquiry calls on his bill:
‘My August landline account from EE included a charge of £5.00 against a purported call to 118500, directory enquiries. Neither my wife nor myself were at home at the time of the call.’
Have you spotted mystery phone calls on your bill? Did you attempt to get a refund?