Are Your Callers Paying Over the Odds to Connect?
Despite the fact that it’s supposedly getting cheaper and cheaper for customers to call their favourite brands and services, there are still a few websites and directories which are offering a supposedly ‘affordable’ route through to some of the biggest names on the high street. Recent news shows that one website in particular is paying […]
Despite the fact that it’s supposedly getting cheaper and cheaper for customers to call their favourite brands and services, there are still a few websites and directories which are offering a supposedly ‘affordable’ route through to some of the biggest names on the high street.
Recent news shows that one website in particular is paying a £250,000 fine after a tribunal found that they misled visitors and users who wanted to connect directly to specific lines and departments. In particular, it emerged that charges of £2.50 were applied to connections when calling, and that advertising from Plus que PRO SAS misled users.
As the Phone-Paid Services Authority applied the fine, they called the company’s exercise ‘totally unacceptable’ – and re-iterated that customers and callers will need to be more vigilant when they look for telephone numbers to call in future.
Why Did This Happen?
Plus que PRO SAS provided website visitors with connections through to brand such as Boots, Apple, and H&M – all of whom you can freely visit on the high street, and all of whom have direct numbers available to call.
One of the major points raised in the PSA’s tribunal was the fact that callers and website users could have used free or cheaper lines to speak to their chosen brands elsewhere, and that Plus que PRO SAS failed to advise of this.
Moreover, customers found that in some cases, they were charged £2.50 for connecting through the service even if their calls did not go through as expected. Therefore, the PSA stated plainly that callers affected by the service and its fees are now in a position to claim back refunds.
The PSA found that around 500 out of 1,900 calls tested were less than 10 seconds in length, meaning that over a quarter of calls in the sample were chargeable despite being shorter than the expected telephone conversation.
Consumers Should Stay Alert
Websites such as those fined through the PSA’s tribunal remain popular for a number of reasons. Even in the modern age, it is still sometimes hard for people to find direct lines for specific departments and services. What’s more, some people may find that they struggle with switchboards, and that they end up wasting time just to wait to speak to advisors.
Therefore, it is understandable why many people get frustrated and feel they need to use websites and connection proxies to reach out to popular brands. However, the PSA clearly points out that, in many cases, numbers for big brands are available elsewhere at cheap and free rates. It is, in some cases, simply a fact of keeping an eye out for more affordable routes of contact and support.
However, customers and callers should also be sure to check the terms and conditions attached for various numbers and helplines, as well as those websites which list direct lines. The main issue arising from this recent tribunal is the fact that the company did not prepare its callers and users adequately when it came to the fees involved, or the fact that cheaper lines were available elsewhere, across its search engine advertising campaigns.
Despite the fact that – across the board – UK regulations are making calls cheaper for many, many people – this does not mean that callers and consumers should rest so easy or make any broad assumptions. However, companies and brands, too, should make a point of offering clear routes through to cheap, direct support!
What Can Your Business Do?
This recent news won’t just have surprised consumers but will also likely have given companies and brands across the UK food for thought. Are they necessarily doing enough to help their callers and customers get through to the right specialists? Are they being clear enough when it comes to costs and charges?
Ultimately, people find that they want to use these proxies and websites when they get frustrated with trying to call big name brands. Therefore, it stands to reason that businesses and firms need to do their part, too, to make things easier on their callers. Luckily, this isn’t too hard to do!
For example, businesses could make a point of setting up a clear switchboard or call map at the front of their helplines. This means that callers will be able to get through to the agents and departments they need to speak to without having to muddle around or cling onto a queue, potentially running up call costs at the same time.
What’s more, businesses should make sure to set up helplines with clear, affordable call rates. While premium rate regulations are already making things cheaper for consumers, you can still make sure that your consumers are getting a great deal through 0800 numbers, for example, which are completely free to call. This means that you pay the rates, however, through a reputable service such as Capital Telecom, you can be sure that you are paying fair and affordable prices for customer satisfaction in return.
You can also set up 0345 numbers, too, which while chargeable to customers, will generally be included in mobile and home phone minutes. The choice is yours!
Stamping Out Call Extortion
It’s down to individual businesses in the modern age to protect their customers and callers as much as possible when it comes to offering clear, affordable routes through for contact. Why confuse and frustrate your customers with switchboards and call maps which fail to get them to where they need to be?
Ultimately, your aim as a business should be to encourage callers to always speak to you directly – so that they don’t feel they need to use a proxy service or website list to make sure that they have access to cheap rates and direct contacts.
With Capital Telecom, you can make sure that your callers can always reach you when they need to, and that they won’t be spending a fortune in the process! Crucially, to grow your business, you’re going to need to show your customers respect – while still making money, of course!