Charged for a UK phone call I didn't make!

  Pine Man 16:35 PM 23 Jan 13

Wasn't sure where to post this one but settled here.

My UK land line home phone is provided by O2 and today I noticed on my list of recent charges a phone call to number 123 at 12.09pm yesterday at a cost of 51p.

I was out and didn't make any calls at all yesterday so contacted O2 who said they would credit my account but couldn't understand how the call had been made in my absence then suggested that it could be someone trying to make a reverse charge call for which I would be charged. However I had no 'missed' calls so that couldn't be the case.

I have no complaint about O2 and did some research showing reports of this in 2007 and 2010 with BT customers being charged for, sometimes, hundreds of these calls, which appeared to be to the talking clock! There never appeared to be any resolution to this and I wondered if any members have suffered similar problems.

My phone is not connected to any top boxes, Sky, Virgin or anybody else and is merely a stand alone conventional phone.

  Aitchbee 17:06 PM 23 Jan 13

As a former telecomm worker with a very large Phone company many years ago, 'working lines' would be used 'out in the field' to make phone calls to make essential repairs to faulty connections. The first pair of wires with a dialling tone would be used to make a call. I don't think this happens now ... but it's a possibility.

  Pine Man 17:11 PM 23 Jan 13

Thanks for your response. I thought BT/Open Reach had a specific number to test lines nowadays?

  Aitchbee 17:28 PM 23 Jan 13

I was thinking that nowadays mobile phones would be used to make any service calls, but in some of the remoter areas of the country, there might be no signal, so a subscriber's line might still be used in an emergency.

In your case, dialling 123 for a time check, by an unknown person, is a bit of a mystery.

  WhiteTruckMan 21:27 PM 23 Jan 13

If you have an itemised bill I suggest you try to identify every number dialled, and see if there are any other 'rogue' numbers in there.

A few years back we had someone hack into our buisiness line while we were on holiday and made literally hundreds of calls to premium lines. It was easy enough to identify the culprits in our case, because when we called our number from a mobile we could hear it ringing from a next door flat! Had the culprits been clever though, we probably wouldnt have even noticed an odd call or two. Maybe you have some line thieves somewhere?


  Pine Man 06:50 AM 24 Jan 13

I did wonder about that and if they were making the 123 call to see if it worked. I'll have to monitor my call charges very carefully.

  spuds 12:08 PM 24 Jan 13

For 51p might seem a non-event to some people, that's if they ever bother to check their phone bill or usage in the first place.

I had a similar event, when 'a few' mystery numbers and times appeared on the bill. Dealing with the ISP who also provided the telephone service was a nightmare, because apparently "the calls were made".

A neighbour had a similar problem, which was also never resolved. But to this day, I still wonder if an telephone engineer was using a line (similar to what Aitchbee mentioned), because at the time, there was quite a lot of activity in the area with the telephone services and repairs being undertaken.

  Pine Man 13:05 PM 24 Jan 13

I agree with you about the 51p. That isn't the issue and in any event the first thing o2 said when I told them was that I would be credited immediately.

What is an issue is that this has been reported in several internet forums and nobody seems to know why or, in the case of BT, really care! I read of one instance where a subscriber had had around 200 of these calls charged to his account. One subscriber reported that it had happened to him and he hadn't actually got a handset connected.

I suppose that the best way to resolve the matter if it continues is to get o2 to bar all calls from my phone to the number 123. Unfortunately that will cost me £1.79 a month.

  johndrew 10:46 AM 25 Jan 13

I vaguely remember something similar some years ago where a TV box connected through the 'phone lines was making calls with no permission. Unfortunately I can't remember the details, but I seem to recall it was on a consumer programme of some type. If you have Sky or one of the other services via your 'phone line it may be worth a check.

  johndrew 10:47 AM 25 Jan 13

Sorry just read your last paragraph. Ignore my post.


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