Concerns raised over premium rate services

Mobile phone

Regulator PhonepayPlus is calling for all sections of the premium rate services (PRS) industry to work together to improve consumers' experiences.

This follows a survey by the regulator into customer services within the industry, which found that 26% of those who get in touch with PhonepayPlus have tried to solve their issue with an organisation seven times without the matter being resolved.

A further 37% had contacted customer services on a premium rate line between three and six times.

Those who complained to PhonepayPlus had been charged on average £32.14 by the premium rate service they had contacted.

Nearly two-thirds of those who complained to the regulator held the company behind the service responsible for their issue, while a third considered their phone provider was to blame.

During a mystery shopping exercise carried out as part of the survey, many callers had problems getting through to service providers and contacting their phone network didn't improve the situation.

On a positive note, the number of unnecessary PRS complaints has been cut since the survey was last carried out in 2009, and complaints have become more straightforward.


In its draft business plan and budget for 2014/15, PhonepayPlus has made a commitment to engage with the industry so that customer services improve and has also improved the way it provides updates to those who make a complaint.

Paul Whiteing, chief executive of the regulator, said: "Poor customer service costs all sections of the industry, both in higher overheads and loss of consumer trust. By working together, we and the industry can ensure the best experience for all users of premium rate services, and in the longer-term reduce the cost of the regulation."

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