Whilst it is legal for any company to charge a premium rate for their phone services, they are expected to make it clear that premium charges apply. If you have been charged a premium rate for a phone call and you do not feel as though the costs were made clear to you, then you can report that company. You can also make a complaint about premium text messaging services if you do not think that the costs were made clear enough to you.
Premium rate numbers are numbers which charge above the average rate. These numbers include; 118, 070, 0870, 0871, 0873, 0872 and 09 phone numbers. You can find out what a call may cost from a phone number by checking with Ofcoms Call Cost Guide.
Service numbers are numbers which are more expensive than standard local calls, but which are less expensive than premium rate numbers. They normally combine the standard rate with a small call charge. They help companies to cover the cost of their phone calls. The amount that they are able to charge is clearly set out by the government, so if these charges are exceeded then you can make a complaint.
The vast majority of companies are not allowed to charge more than the basic rate if customers are calling a helpline or service desk about a product that they have already bought.
If you spot an unexpected premium rate call charge on your phone bill then you need to get in contact with that company in the first instance. Ask them for a refund and if they decline then you should begin to work through their formal complaints procedure.
If you can show that you were overcharged because you had to call a telephone helpline relating to a product that you owned, then you should be given a refund for the difference between the actual call cost and the amount that it should have cost if you had called a basic rate number. Ofcom should be able to tell you how much the call should have cost.
If you have been charged for a premium rate call and you do not recognise the number which you are being charged for, then you can check the details using the PhonepayPlus number checker.
What to do if you don’t get a refund
If you do not get given a refund and you still believe that you should not have been charged for using a premium rate number, then you can call PhonepayPlus to report the company in question. The PhonepayPlus reporting service is a free service, but they will only investigate a company on your behalf if you are able to show that you have already been through that particular company’s own complaints process.
Although PhonepayPlus will not be able to give you a refund themselves or order the other company to give you a refund, they will be able to act as a negotiator between the company and you to work towards a fair outcome.