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Phone watchdog warning on 0871 numbers

Callers should not suffer unreasonable delays


A picture of an anxious man on the phone

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Callers dialling 0871 numbers should be refunded if they are kept on hold too long by call centres, an industry watchdog has said.

Adverts for 0871 phone services should include clear price warnings, according to premium rate phone regulator Icstis, and service providers must give clear written or spoken pricing information before customers are charged.

The package of measures was proposed by Icstis today to ensure callers can dial 0871 numbers with confidence.

UK consumers spend up to 35p a minute dialling 0871 numbers at a total cost of more than £300 million per year.

Consumer trust

Icstis will take over regulation of 0871 services early in 2008.

The regulator’s chief executive George Kidd said: ‘Consumer trust in 0871 numbers is critical. Callers should not suffer unreasonable delays. If they do, good business practice is to remedy the problem and offer a refund for the call cost.’

Icstis is an industry-funded regulatory body for premium rate phone services. It is consulting on the proposed package of measures until June 28.

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