Stung by phone call scam after switching to TalkTalk

I received a message to call a premium number on day of switch and was charged almost £700 even though I disconnected quickly

I moved my mobile phone contract to TalkTalk in January. On the day my number was ported over I received a voicemail with a request to call a premium number. I assumed it was TalkTalk.

I realised it was a scam when I rang back so quickly disconnected the number. The next day I discovered I’d been charged £678.60 for this call.

I contacted TalkTalk and was told I had been a victim of a scam. The operator gave me the number and email address for its fraud line, neither of which existed.

I’ve complained to senior management and even written to Lady Harding, chief executive of the TalkTalk group, without satisfaction. I honestly believe I am a victim of this scam and shouldn’t have to pay. JvdM, Porthcawl

You have done everything you can to raise this issue with TalkTalk and have even taken it to the communications ombudsman. Unfortunately, the investigations officer has ruled in the company’s favour, deciding “no remedy or award is required of TalkTalk Mobile”.

Clearly you have been a victim of a premium number scam, which manages to keep your line open and charges you even when you thought you had disconnected it. Some people have even been charged without answering the call.

Ofcom says it is “very concerned” about this scam and admits it is an industry-wide problem. However, unlike bank or credit card fraud, the telecoms companies are under no obligation to refund you. Given the opportunity for criminals to raise thousands of pounds in this way, it is shameful that the industry hasn’t acted to block suspicious premium rate numbers and refund customers.

Mobile phone companies levy an access charge – in TalkTalk’s case it is 25p a minute – for premium numbers, and then there is a service charge paid to the party being called. You can block all premium rate calls, but given that even government departments use them some are legitimate.

TalkTalk said: “We are sorry that our customer was taken in by this scam and dialled back after receiving a voicemail from a premium rate number. This type of scam is increasingly common, and customers must think twice if they receive a call from an unfamiliar number starting with 0845 or 0843. The ombudsman has investigated and found TalkTalk acted fairly and the charges are valid.”

TalkTalk will talk to you about arranging a repayment plan. We think it should at least waive the amount it made from your call, which would be £15 if it lasted an hour.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number


Liz Phillips

The GuardianTramp

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