William Eichler 21 January 2019

Councils using premium rate phone lines branded 'greedy'

Campaigners have accused local authorities of being ‘greedy and foolish’ for using premium rate lines for people to pay rent and parking fines.

The Fair Telecoms Campaign has found that 50 local authorities, such as Amber Valley Borough Council and Gloucester City Council, are charging motorists up to 62p per minute to call and pay parking fines.

For example, a resident who has Vodafone (Access Charge 55p per minute) who wishes to pay their council rent by telephone in Hounslow (Service Charge 2p per minute), would pay £1.14 for a two-minute call.

The campaigners argue that it is ‘insanity’ for local authorities to use premium rate 084 and 087 numbers.

Ofcom regulations also require all councils to make a clear declaration of the Service Charges and refer to any Access Charges applied to the cost of calling.

The Fair Telecoms Campaign argue that the 50 local authorities listed are in breach of guidance issued by the cabinet office regarding the use of number prefixes.

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