Pensioner gets £45 phone bill - for five-minute call

CHARGED: Barry Dunmore says he was charged £45 for a five-minute phone call after using the 118 118 service to find a telephone number.

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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.

Comments (5)

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11:22am Thu 19 Jun 14

js says...

If Mr Dunmor uses the Internet, there are lots of ways to find telephone numbers. bt.com is one for a start.
If Mr Dunmor uses the Internet, there are lots of ways to find telephone numbers. bt.com is one for a start. js
  • Score: 7

11:44am Thu 19 Jun 14

gmoore1207 says...

it is your own fault for using this crap service let this be a lesson to all of us and as for excepting the £30 you should not have took it but fought it you had right on your side
it is your own fault for using this crap service let this be a lesson to all of us and as for excepting the £30 you should not have took it but fought it you had right on your side gmoore1207
  • Score: 6

1:05pm Thu 19 Jun 14

liloliluk says...

Maybe they say it was 21 minutes because they put him through - he was probably paying the premium rate the whole time he was on the phone. He would have been better off writing the number down and then phoning them himself.
Maybe they say it was 21 minutes because they put him through - he was probably paying the premium rate the whole time he was on the phone. He would have been better off writing the number down and then phoning them himself. liloliluk
  • Score: 10

2:20pm Fri 20 Jun 14

Keith B says...

Absolutely right - if they give you a number THEN ask "can I put you through" you must ALWAYS say no and dial the number yourself. If THEY put you through it's at the top premium rate.

If not though does 118 118 REALLY take 21 minutes to find a number (which is what the implication of their answer was)? If so they need booting off the system. OFFCOM need to be informed.
Absolutely right - if they give you a number THEN ask "can I put you through" you must ALWAYS say no and dial the number yourself. If THEY put you through it's at the top premium rate. If not though does 118 118 REALLY take 21 minutes to find a number (which is what the implication of their answer was)? If so they need booting off the system. OFFCOM need to be informed. Keith B
  • Score: 1

4:07pm Fri 20 Jun 14

nicki1967 says...

This company seem to know exactly how long the call lasted for. Perhaps the cost is their 2 charges and the call this guy made. He was obviously on the phone for longer than he realised. Of course, that 118 118 do seem to be the most expensive out of all these directory enquiry companies and one should never allow them to put you through.
This company seem to know exactly how long the call lasted for. Perhaps the cost is their 2 charges and the call this guy made. He was obviously on the phone for longer than he realised. Of course, that 118 118 do seem to be the most expensive out of all these directory enquiry companies and one should never allow them to put you through. nicki1967
  • Score: 1

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