The premium rate merry-go-round

c: | f: /

The lengths that companies will go in order to try and secure some extra revenue via their non-geographic phone lines.

I’ve just been subjected to a standard scam that the so-called legitimate corporations use for extra revenue. The scam works as follows:

  1. You buy something on interest free credit for X months
  2. You pay the entire balance off in time
  3. You receive a statement that shows the amount applied, paid within the interest free period
  4. They also add a bogus interest charge to the account
  5. Being someone who values their credit rating, you phone up the 0870/0871 fixed-payment line at 10p (or more) per minute
  6. You go through seemingly endless automated options, whereby they ask you to enter your 16 digit account number and other “security” information, etc
  7. After being on hold for a few days you are eventually put through to a call centre rep who asks you for all your security information again, and more
  8. Once that circus is over they confirm that the charge has been applied in error and you will receive a refund of the amount to take your balance to zero
  9. And of course they try to cross-sell something else to you while on the line

From my understanding, they pay for the 0871 number up front and all the while you are on the line, they receive a share of the revenue from BT. That might have changed, but I think it still stands.

Either way, the indispensible say no to 0870 is there to help find a geographic number that I always use — even if it means calling the head office and asking to be transferred — which means the call is free on my call plan.

Corporations: we’re onto you.

Speak up at the back


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