Grandmother charged £20 for freephone call in telephone trap
PUBLISHED: 09:18 14 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:15 14 March 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
A Norfolk woman has spoken of her outrage after being charged £20 for a call transfer service which connected her to a freephone number.
Gloria Fieldhouse, who gave her age as 84 and a half, attempted to call the freephone number for Santander in January.
But instead of calling the bank’s free number 0800 9 123 123 the octogenarian accidentally mis-dialed calling 0800 123 123.
This number connects to another: 0900 123 1234 – which leaves callers on hold before eventually connecting them to Santander itself.
But, while waiting to be connected, callers are charged around 80p a minute.
Mrs Fieldhouse, who lives in Norwich, was charged £19.89 to be on the line for 25 minutes – for most of that time she was on hold.
The grandmother of seven said: “I’m usually quite on the ball when it comes to scam calls, but this just goes to show people really will think of anything to get your money.
“You call these people in good faith – why would you ever suspect otherwise? I grew up in a society that trusted each other. I just hope that my experience will make other people more aware of the traps that are out there.”
However, Mrs Fieldhouse is relieved that she was connected to Santander instead of a scam company, having given the operator her bank details.
“I knew it was Santander when I got through – which is why I was so surprised when I saw my phone statement,” Mrs Fieldhouse said.
The telephone trap is orchestrated by Golden Number Company and has been raised with regulators by Santander.
A spokesman for Santander said: “We are aware of the issue of customers mis-dialling our number and being directed to a premium rate line not operated by Santander.
“We have raised this with the regulator and they have said that legally there is nothing that can be done to stop it.
“We would urge customers to dial very carefully using our correct number 0800 9 123 123 to avoid unnecessary charges.”
Mrs Fieldhouse added: “I just think it’s ridiculous that this sort of thing isn’t illegal and that nothing can be done.”