A 30 second check that could save a lot of expense

Asset 36

Warning: Call Connection Services

Posted on 7 August 2020 by Beaming Support

Although not technically a “scam”, we’ve recently been made aware of telephone users racking up unnecessarily large bills through the accidental use of call connection services.

What is a call connection service?

A call connection service connects the user to a well-known organisation (for example a bank, internet service provider or retailer), and charges a premium rate to do so. They appear in internet search results when someone searches for the phone number of a legitimate organisation.

Although most organisations have a free to call 080 or a national rate 03 phone number, these companies will connect you to them using a much more costly 084, 087 or 09 number and pocket the profit. With some of these calls costing around £4 per minute, it doesn’t take long to build up some expensive charges.

How would I end up using a call connection service?

These kinds of service rely on their users being rushed, stressed or distracted, which most business owners can attest to having been at some time.

It can be notoriously difficult to find a contact phone number on some larger organisations’ websites, so for some people it’s become habitual to just do a web search for a business phone number when they need it. This means the organization is not in control of the results that show up and call connection services can sneak their way in.

In other cases you’re in a rush because something’s not working the way it should be and you just want to get on the phone to fix it. We know that money matters are often used by scammers to  create a sense of urgency, so connection services to banks and building societies are common; taking advantage of anyone trying to hastily contact their bank.

How can I avoid using a call connection service?

  • Check the number. If it begins with 084, 087 or 09 you’re likely to pay over the odds.
  • Take a little extra time to navigate to the company’s website and find their contact details. Often these are tucked away in a footer menu so scroll down.
  • Listen out at the beginning of the call. Call connection services that charge more than a 7p per minute service charge must state that they are a call connection service charging a premium rate, and must say what the call charges are. If you hear this kind of message at the beginning of the call, hang up and search again for an official communication channel.

Call connection services are not illegal, but taking a few moments to check a number before you call it could help you avoid an unnecessarily large telephone bill.

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