Worst call centre culprits named and shamed

Caroline Cassidy

No doubt the phrase "your call is important to us" will ring a large and frustrating bell in many a mind but the worst call centre culprits have now been named and shamed by consumer watchdog Which?.

Angry man with mobile phone
Angry man with mobile phone

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It seems call centres are regularly failing customers, with some taking up to 15 minutes to answer your call and charging a small fortune in the process.

BT, Sky, Lloyds bank, Scottish and Southern Energy were amongst the worst offenders - the longest delay in call answering was, ironically, BT with 13 minutes and 49 seconds.

But at least that call was free (from a BT landline, of course) - consumers are finding themselves paying for the wait in many cases and calls from a mobile were, as we're all well aware these days, considerably higher.

Which? put in more than 500 test calls to a range of broadband suppliers, banks and energy companies - though BT were the slowest to pick up, Sky customers can expect a nine minute wait, while Lloyds bank account holders were forced to hang on for over 10 minutes.

And thanks to 08 numbers, many businesses are cashing in on your call by taking a chunk of the charge.

A Which? spokeswoman told the Daily Mail: "Knowing how much you will be charged for making one of these calls is not simple. Where possible, providers should use low-cost phone numbers for their help lines."

That isn't good enough for some angry consumers however, and you may find the site www.saynoto0870.com useful, since it offers alternative standard rate numbers for most utility firms.

What do you think? Should businesses be forced to provide free or low-cost contact numbers? Leave your comments below...