According to Which?, there are numerous companies who use 0870 numbers that allow for so-called cost sharing between them and the communications service provider, which can cost as much as eight times as much to call from a BT landline than an ordinary geographic number.
However, while thousands of people could be getting charged expensive rates to contact service departments and could be increasing their risk of debt management difficulties in doing so, the majority of consumers are not aware of the costs associated with making these kinds of calls, Which? research suggests.
Neil Fowler, editor of the Which? publication, said: “Revenue-sharing is a stealth tax of the worst kind. Tales of customers hanging on for ages at huge expense when they are trying to place an order – or even make a complaint – are numerous.
“Where once businesses paid to look after customers, it now seems that customers must pay for the privilege of businesses looking after them.”
Earlier this week, the communications regulator Ofcom announced a review into the nature of “additional charges” being levied against by communications service consumers throughout the UK.