A PENSIONER from Worcester was shocked to receive a £45 bill for calling the 118 118 directory inquiries service – after spending less than five minutes on the telephone.

Barry Dunmor called the 118 118 line from his home landline at 11am on Monday, May 19, to find the number for a company and was put through in a manner of minutes.

The 68-year-old thought nothing more of it until weeks later when he and his wife, Rosalind, had a nasty shock when they got their phone bill to find it was twice as much as it normally is.

It was only when closely looking at the bill – which is paid through a direct debit from the couple’s bank account – that Mrs Dunmore spotted they had been charged £45 for the 118 118 call.

Mr Dunmore, of Winchester Avenue – who said he had talked to an operator rather than an automated system when he first called last month – said he had immediately called the service to ask why he had been charged so much.

“If we hadn’t looked at the bill we wouldn’t have known and the money would have just gone out,” he said.

“I told them I was only on the phone for about five minutes but they said it was 21 minutes.

“I threatened to call Watchdog and they said they would refund me £30.

“I asked if they couldn’t pay back any more and they said that was all they were prepared to refund.

“It’s better than nothing, I suppose, but I’m still £15 out of pocket.”

Calls to 118 118 cost £1.59 per call plus £1.99 per minute, meaning the call should have cost no more than £11.54 if Mr Dunmore was on the phone for no more than five minutes.

A spokesman from 118 118 said the company would be happy to discuss the issue with Mr Dunmore further if he contacted them.

He said: “We’re committed to ensuring that all our customers have a good experience when using our service.”

The company also confirmed it had refunded Mr Dunmore £30 as a gesture of goodwill.