Expensive calls to consumer helplines to end

Customers calling company helplines to complain about faulty items or incorrect orders will no longer have to pay more than the basic rate, the Government has announced.

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Which? says Govt 'will tackle' helpline ban loopholes

Alex Neill from Which? Credit: DaybreakITV

The Government will "tackle" the high cost of some of their helplines, as bans on expensive 084 and 087 numbers go forward, according to a consumer campaign group.

Head of campaigns for Which? Alex Neill dubbed the initial ban "a huge victory" for consumers:

"Actually, what we have heard from the Government is that they are going to tackle this. They have said it's out of order. So we would expect them to lead by example and make sure they issue guidance to public bodies not to do this."

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Swinson: 'We want customers to be confident to shop'

Consumer Minister Jo Swinson said the Financial Conduct Authority was committed to considering whether it could introduce measures to limit costs for those calling banks, insurance companies and investment brokers, along with retailers.

Consumer Minister Jo Swinson. Credit: Press Association

She said: "For too long, some businesses have been trying to extract every extra penny from their loyal customers.

"From next year, if something goes wrong with a cooker, or commuters want a refund on their season ticket, they will now pay the same to phone a helpline as they do to call friends or family.

"We want consumers to be confident to shop with a range of traders. The new rights announced today will mean consumers are entitled to the same level of protection whether they are purchasing goods or services online, at home or in a shop."

Expensive calls to consumer helplines to end

Customers calling helplines to complain about faulty items or incorrect orders will no longer have to pay more than the basic rate, the Government has announced.

The new rights will end expensive premium 084 and 087 numbers for customers. Credit: Press Association

Consumer Minister Jo Swinson said the new right would end expensive premium 084 and 087 numbers for customers calling airlines, train operators and major high street and online retailers.

Many firms already offer freephone or basic rate numbers but consumers can find that some traders provide an 0800 or freephone number for pre-contract calls to attract new customers but then only offer expensive premium rate numbers when the product or service has been paid for.

The measure is to be included in the regulations implementing the Consumer Rights Directive, which is due to come into force in June 2014.

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