A crack-down on high call charges for customer complaint lines has been announced by the government, and will come into force from June, 2014. Currently consumers face unusually high costs if they use an 084 or 087 number to complain about faulty goods or poor services, with a usually rate of up to 41p per minute being applied to calls from mobiles, and slightly less for those using a landline. Once the new initiative is instigated only a basic rate will apply, although there is no indication that the new rules will apply to customers calling the financial services sector.
As things stand it is possible for a call about a faulty product to last several minutes and, as a result cost a number of pounds; clearly such practices are unfair on the customer, and while many companies do not levy high charges there are those that continue to do so. It is notable that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is considering whether to include banks and other financial institutions within the framework of the new rules, while some banks have already indicated that they intend to move towards basic rate calls in the near future. There are some interesting points about how best to complain in this article.
The new regulations will involve changes to the Consumer Rights Directive which also contains details of the rights belonging to people who shop online. Customers are covered by the Distance Selling Directive as things stand, and have a statutory seven day period in which they can return goods bought online. From June, 2014, the grace period will be extended to 14 days, beginning on the date of receipt of the goods. Furthermore, buyers will be required to provide proof of purchase in order to obtain a refund, and sellers will be able to deduct funds should they find that the returned goods have, in fact, been used.
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