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Consumer Ripping Helplines Revealed By Consumer Body In Survey

More than 30 firms and government bodies have been fingered in a report published in the latest edition of Which? Magazine for ripping customers calling in on premium numbers for help.

Numbers starting with 0871, 0870, 0844 or 0845 are often used by many organisations to reduce the cost of support; the longer the caller waits on the line, the more expensive the bill and the more money the companies rake in.

Many UK PLCs like Barclays, Virginmedia and British Gas join a number of public companies like the TV Licensing and DVLA, which reportedly made £3.4 million.

Orange has an 09 number which charges customers 50p a minute for broadband technical support.

Already, there has been a backlash amongst the public with sites such (opens in new tab) publishing lists of alternative numbers (starting with 01 or 02) to the premium ones.

The consumer group advises customers to use numbers that are advertised from abroad; usually starting with +44; if not, users can fall back on moneysavingexpert's UKCallchecker (opens in new tab) service.

A new 03 code will soon be introduced which many public organisations have pledged to adopt although there are no strict time frames published by the government.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.