Customers won't call rip-off 0845 banks

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clock and man on phone

More than four out five Brits (82%) avoid calling banks, insurers, utility firms and other service providers because of high call charges and nearly half (44%) have been stung with a high bill after a phone call.

Almost three-quarters (73%) of people left waiting on the phone to a service provider said they would hang-up knowing they were being charged a high-rate for the phone call. Others would hang-up and contact the company through free alternatives, such as email or via social media (39%).

That's according to research from TSB bank, which claims to be the first to ditch the premium rate 0845 numbers. But it admits it still has a problem; more than nine out of ten (94%) of Brits don't realise that its new 0345 number would be covered buy inclusive minutes for both landlines and mobiles. More than one in three (35%) have never heard of 0345 numbers.

The TSB research found that 64% of people claim to check what phone numbers are included in their call plan before calling a service provider and 79% would be more likely to choose a bank knowing they can call them for free.

Peter Navin, managing director branch and business banking for the TSB, says: "Our customers have told us that high call charges really irritate them, so we decided to tackle the issue head on and set out our commitment to introduce 0345 phone numbers earlier this year. Customers can now call us on a local rate number – without worrying about any surprise costs.