The FCA has proposed banning financial services firms from using premium rate telephone numbers for customers.
The regulator says it is not fair that consumers often have to use expensive phone lines when calling firms to ask for help or complain.
It says some firms provide only premium rate numbers for existing customers who want to contact them after the point of sale, and a freephone number for new business.
In a consultation paper on complaints handling, the FCA is proposing introducing basic rate phone lines for all calls.
FCA director of policy, risk and research Christopher Woolard says: “Consumers want a simple way to complain that does not leave them out of pocket. And they want to be assured that their concerns will be dealt with fairly and quickly.”
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd says: “Nobody should have to pay a premium to complain to their bank so this is another victory for the 90,000 people who supported our ‘costly calls’ campaign.
“Some of our biggest banks have already dropped high rate phone numbers, and we urge all financial providers to do the right thing and cut off costly calls now rather than wait for any new rules to take effect.”
Earlier this year, Money Marketing sister title Mortgage Strategy revealed brokers’ frustration that some lenders offered freephone lines to discuss larger cases but used premium rate lines to discuss smaller cases and commission.