MPs hear how phone lines cause debt

MPs from the House of Commons culture, media and sport committee met consumer groups such as Citizens Advice to discuss the debt problems that television phone-ins can create.

Shari Vahl, from BBC Radio 4, said that many people “got a surprise at the end of the month” with their telephone bill, adding, the Telegraph reports, “just because they’ve been stupid doesn’t mean they don’t need protection”.

She also stated that repeat calls can play havoc with debt management plans due to costs as high as 75 pence per minute, with one woman receiving a monthly phone bill of £1,500.

Some industry bosses, such as David Brook, co-founder of the aptly named production company Optimistic Entertainment, said that viewers were not encouraged to make multiple calls.

However, Sky Bet said that it wanted tougher regulations and should be counted as gambling, particularly as many “quizzes” supply extremely simple questions but have a low chance of getting through.

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