Which? win on costly callsTSB hangs up on pricey phone lines

03 February 2014

Woman shouting into a phone handset

Customers calling TSB for help will no longer have to pay a premium rate as the bank is set to replace all of its 0845 numbers with 0345 numbers.

The introduction of 0345 numbers in the coming months will ensure TSB customers can contact the bank on a local rate number from anywhere in Britain.

The move follows the Which? Costly Calls campaign and the announcement in December that the government will put an end to expensive 084 and 087 numbers being used by public bodies such as the Department for Work and Pensions, which controls people's benefits. 

The government has also put a stop to airlines, train operators, and major high street and online retailers using such expensive phone lines.

TSB telephone charges

Which? called on financial firms to cut off costly calls after finding in November that nearly three-quarters (73%) of the phone numbers used for customer service or complaint lines were high rate telephone numbers.

We looked at phone numbers used by companies for eight financial services including current accounts, loans, insurance and credit cards and found that 177 out of 242 customer service or complaint lines were pricey 084 or 087 numbers.

We have already won over Barclays, Barclaycard, RBS, and while TSB has also agreed to change its helpline numbers, there are plenty of other banks which have not.

TSB will introduce 0345 numbers for customer service numbers, including all retail and business banking services, as well as local numbers for every TSB branch. Some 0800 numbers will continue to be used for certain lines, such as fraud and complaints. The bank said it will not make any revenue from 0345 numbers which will always be included in inclusive minutes for landlines and mobiles.

Which? calls on more banks to cut costly calls

Which? research has shown nearly two thirds of people think companies use high-rate numbers to discourage them from calling, while 80% think companies who make them call high-rate phone numbers don’t value them as a customer.

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said: 'Well done to TSB for dropping high-rate numbers and responding to the needs of its customers who now won't have to pay a premium to ask a question about their account. 

'We have been campaigning for all companies to end costly calls, and TSB is showing there's no reason why other banks can't follow suit.'

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