The Lending Standards Board (LSB) has published a report outlining the findings of its themed review of the costs to customers of calling telephone service and helplines.
The LSB found that subscribers to the LSB code are at varying stages of bringing in measures to charge customers less for the phone calls they have to make in respect of loans, credit card and current account queries to various providers. In order to improve the industry and to make it fairer for customers, the LSB recommends:
- where the customer has to contact the subscriber to opt-out of an unsolicited increase in their facility (that is, a service that they have not requested) the customer should not incur any costs for the call (except in the case of online accounts);
- where an adverse change to the terms and conditions of a product has recently been advised to a customer, a freephone number, rather than a business rate number, should be offered;
- customers wishing to make a complaint should be able to do so without incurring high telephone costs, whether or not the complaint is upheld; and
- customers experiencing financial difficulties should not have to pay for a call when telephoning a Code subscriber in respect of those financial difficulties, to allow them to engage constructively to address the situation, and avoid further distress.