Refund for customers who used premium rate service

The Phone-Paid Service Authority (“PSA”) has upheld a complaint by Yorkshire Water that customers who were charged by a call connection service to call Yorkshire Water are entitled to a refund.

Yorkshire Water contacted the PSA after receiving a complaint from a customer. It found websites quoting premium-rate numbers for customers to call Yorkshire Water.

Yorkshire Water’s official telephone number is a local rate 0345 number, but some of its customers were unwittingly using the call connection service and being charged £6 per connection.

The PSA cited four breaches which it identified a call connection service operating on the number range 0901 545* and 09011 506*.

A statement from the PSA to Yorkshire Water read: “The provider has agreed to provide refunds to consumers who make a valid claim. Should you wish to discuss a refund you will need to contact the provider directly.”

The PSA also advised that customers may be asked to provide a copy of a phone bill highlighting the relevant premium rate charges before a refund is issued.
A spokesperson from Yorkshire Water said: “We are pleased with this outcome.
"We have lots of free ways that our customers can contact us via our website. They can use live chat, request a free call back with a precise 10 minute slot that suits them, or they can talk to us via Twitter and Facebook. If they do need to phone us, we have a local rate 0345 number to use.

“We object to these call connection service charges for a simple phone call to us which can be made direct to us and charged at a local rate."

In April 2017, the Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) issued a £645,000 fine to a similar call connection company called DK Call which charged customers £3.60 per minute to call well-known organisations such as Sky and HMRC.