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New research reveals premium rate service customers concerns

10 February 2014

New research into customer service in the premium rate services industry (PRS) is published by PhonepayPlus. PhonepayPlus is calling for all sections of the premium rate telecoms industry to work together to improve consumers’ experiences.

The research found that:

  • Over a quarter (26%) of those who contact PhonepayPlus make seven or more contacts about their issue with organisations without resolution. Another 37% have made contact between three and six times.
  • On average, complainants to PhonepayPlus have been charged £32.14 by the PRS they complain about.
  • 62% of PhonepayPlus complainants held the company behind the service responsible for their issue, a further 33% consider that their phone provider is responsible.

A mystery shopping exercise conducted during the research revealed that many callers have difficulties getting through to the provider of the service and those who contacted their phone network reported that they were not put at ease by that contact.

To read a copy of Understanding Consumer Journeys: Premium rate service and micropayment markets please click here.

As well as concerns, the research found a number of positives:

  • The number of unnecessary PRS complaint journeys have reduced and become somewhat more straightforward since the previous research in 2009.
  • PhonepayPlus was rated highly for customer support and contact.
  • There were examples of good practice amongst the industry’s own customer services.

In its draft Business Plan and Budget for 2014/15 PhonepayPlus has already committed to engage with industry to improve the consumer experience. The regulator has also made changes to some of its processes to improve the updates given to complainants.

Paul Whiteing, Chief Executive of PhonepayPlus, said:

“Poor customer service costs all sections of the industry, both in higher overheads and loss of consumer trust. By working together we and the industry can ensure the best experience for all users of premium rate services, and in the longer-term reduce the cost of the regulation.”

The full research can be found here.

The research was conducted independently by Jigsaw Research and involved 4,000 online interviews, over 100 interviews with consumers who contacted PhonepayPlus and mystery shopping analysis. For more details of the research’s methodology please see the full report.