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ISPs ripping-off customers with technical helplines

Only six firms offer freephone numbers

Brits are having to pay over the odds for costly premium rate tech support lines, according to Which? Computing.

The consumer association compared the costs of helplines from 45 different tech firms, only to discover that many of them, including ISPs Tesco Broadband and Supanet, used premium rate 090 numbers.

The research also revealed that six companies, including BT and O2, offered 0800 numbers that are free to ring for their tech support.

Broadband speed tester

"Some companies are using higher-cost numbers at their customers' expense. If other companies can offer a freephone number, why can't they all?," said Sarah Kidner, editor of Which? Computing.

All of the companies that used premium rate numbers said the revenue generated "covered the costs of a technical support service".

A spokeswoman for Tesco said: "The cost of calls to Tesco broadband technical support is something we've been looking at and listening to customer feedback on".

Which? also said the average waiting time on a technical helpline call was one minute and 33 seconds. PlusNet was revealed as the longest wait, with customers claiming they had to endure an eight minute wait on average.

See also: Free open source helpline opens


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