Simon Read: Government and companies must put consumers first


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The Independent Online

We spent £56m while talking on premium rate government phone lines last year. The National Audit Office reported this week that despite attempts to limit expensive 084 numbers, they are still being used extensively.

And, shockingly, almost half the time connected to the costly lines is used up to keep us waiting to speak to an adviser. In short we spent almost £28m while being forced to hang around.

Spending so much to call the tax authorities or pension service is annoying enough, but having to ensure an annoying wait as well is enough to give you phone rage.

In fact a survey published this week revealed that HM Revenue & Customs is the organisation most likely to waste your time on the phone, even more so than the likes of Ford and Lloyds.

The results were compiled by, a site that helpfully offers short cuts to specific departments. The Government should take a lead from it.

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