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FCA to ban premium rate phone lines

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.

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Comments

There are 9 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. How about banning claim companies & pension liberation firms from texting, phoning, emailing and sending automated messages?

  2. Whoops that will upset Friends Life who insist on an 0845 number and apparently have no alternatives – blimey FCA inadvertently helping advisers as well

  3. – Gordon, I hope I am wrong, but no one mentioned calls from Advisers to the special array of telephone numbers providers have for us…?

  4. About time too!

  5. It’s quite simple use something like

    http://www.saynoto0870.com

    Friends Life are on there! (not checked it) but it comes up with an 01392 number!

    ALL premium rate numbers have to be linked to a fixed line, so they should be traceable.

  6. Robert, if they have a non premium number i will find it !!!

  7. Friends Life one doesn’t

  8. Whilst I have no time for premium call lines either, its the principle that once again the FCA can just suggest anything they don’t like and simply ban it. That’s why I have little respect for them, despite the fact they are my overlords. Why should Financial Service Sector customers be treated as a special case and put in such a privilege position above all others when thousands upon thousands of major high street customer service departments provide chargeable numbers when contacting their after sales departments but use Freephone numbers in sales departments.

    And what about when you call product providers and you are consistently met by a service message that they are receiving “higher than normal call volumes and they apologies for the delay” and you are kept waiting 15 – 20mins plus.. Crap…. That has now become the default message for many product providers. In other words they are doing nothing to deal with staffing levels. Are they going to ban being forced to wait in a queue as well..

    Perhaps they could bring in legislation that puts the onus on the provider so that when we are held in a queue for more than 90 seconds the client is able to charges the provider for being forced to wait and maybe one day they will ban all fee charging by advisers and make the whole Financial Service Industry like the NHS… free for all UK residents at the point of sale..

    Hmmm that wouldn’t work because the FCA wouldn’t get any levies from us would they..and that wouldn’t be any benefit to them…

  9. How about mandating that providers’ numbers to register complaints must be 0800 (with a minimum time to actually get through to speak to someone)?

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