Government Premium Rate Phonelines

This needs stamping out pretty quickly. The Government is making money by using premium rate 0870 numbers on some of its helplines.

The following departments use these types of phone line:

  • HM Revenue & Customs
  • the DVLA
  • the Home Office
  • the Department of Trade & Industry
  • the Foreign Office
  • the Department for Education & Skills
  • the Department for Constitutional Affairs
  • the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

If you’re having to phone any of them, there’s a chance that you’ll be charged 10p per minute from your landline, or up to 35p if you’re calling from a mobile. HM Revenue & Customs earned approx. £2·4m from these numbers last year, the DVLA’s earned £2·3m.

The irony is that Ofcom, the government’s telecoms regulator, strongly disapproves of these types of line, and wants to ban them. Governments Businesses love 0870 numbers because they share the cost of the call with the provider. But consumers are starting to fight back, by finding ways around such numbers. In particular, lists alternative numbers that you can use. A quick search for DVLA on there currently gives 7 alternatives to try out.

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