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23 April 2009

Barrett hails 0870 breakthrough

John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, today welcomed news that telecoms companies would no longer be able to charge over the odds for calls to 0870 numbers.

The telecoms regulator Ofcom has today announced strict new rules for telecoms companies on charges for calls to 0870 numbers – often used by business for customer service and advice lines. 

The new rules encourage companies to stop charging higher prices to 0870 calls than calls to standard “geographic numbers” eg 0131. Companies who want to keep charging 0870 calls at rates above those for standard geographic calls will now face strict rules about clearly publicising call charges and heavy fines if they do not comply.

Mr Barrett has welcomed the announcement but warned that Ofcom must be prepared to strictly enforce the new measures

John said:

“After a long campaign, today’s changes will really cut the cost of calling 0870 numbers.

“Calling 0870 has been described as the biggest rip-off on telecoms. Companies should not be allowed to make a profit from customers calling their help lines.

“For too long companies have played the system charging way over the odds for calls that they have advertised as carrying a ‘national rate’.

“People calling up to complain about poor service should not be expected to have to pay for the privilege of doing so.

“It is now important that these rules are properly policed and that cavalier companies are held to account.”

 

Notes:

Under the new rules, companies who want to keep charging 0870 calls at rates above those for standard geographic calls will now face strict rules about clearly publicising call charges - companies who don’t comply with the rules could face fines.  These rules also bring an end to companies advertising 0870 numbers as “national rate” unless they are charging at standard geographic calls rates. 

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This website was established while I was a Member of Parliament. The site content is being kept online as a source of information, but all forms / email have been disabled.