Mobile phone companies are slow to reform

The news that “freephone” numbers will also be free from mobile networks has a certain air of liberation

Share

Of the many irritations of modern life, the words “calls may be charged from mobiles” must rank pretty high. Like the banks and the energy companies, the mobile phone operators have long treated their customers with contempt, as anyone who has inadvertently received a punitive bill for “roaming” calls while abroad can testify. Only recently has action been taken on that particular scam.

Almost as bad is the bill for anyone calling an 0800 number, fondly imagining that this “freephone” call would indeed be free. In this case we discover an unholy alliance of our most hated corporates. Thus, if you ring an 0800 “customer helpline” for an energy company from a mobile, you will wait so long to be connected to a human being – that is, if you manage to navigate the automated switchboard – that the bill for the phone call would exceed even the inflated cost of your gas or electricity. And that’s before you start arguing with them.

Then the charges and interest the bank levies when the bill plunges your current account into overdraft is but the final humiliation inflicted by this corporate gang bang.

So the news that “freephone” numbers will also be free from mobile networks has a certain air of liberation attached to it. Something is clearly stirring in the nation’s regulators, with the Financial Conduct Authority being ready to fine the banks large sums, and now Ofcom taking some action to protect the consumer against the rapacious mobile phone firms. All the political parties are agreed that “something must be done” about the energy companies, and that ought to include doing something radical to Ofgem.

The only complaint we can make over this change is that it will be so long in coming. The changes are not due to take effect for another 18 months, and we can discount the possibility of any mobile phone firm volunteering to implement change before then. As so often with an 0800 number, they just keep us hanging on for what seems like an eternity.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: The rules were simple: before the results are announced, don’t mention the S-word

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Howard Jacobson has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for the second time  

In praise of Howard Jacobson

Simon Kelner
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week