Which? says costly calls add insult to injury for flood victims

Following the Prime Minister’s decision to ban the Environment Agency’s Floodline from using an 0845 number, Which? is renewing its calls on insurance companies to ditch expensive telephone numbers. We believe it adds insult to injury that flood victims could pay a premium just to make a claim on their policy. We’re calling on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to act and ban all financial companies from using costly customer service numbers.

Our research finds that 79% of home insurers use 084 or 087 numbers for their customer lines, including big names such as Ageas, Aviva, AXA, Churchill, Direct Line, Esure, Hiscox, Royal and Sun Alliance and Virgin.

More than 70,000 people are now supporting Which?’s Costly Calls campaign which is calling for all companies and public bodies to scrap high rate numbers. In the last week alone more than 12,000 people have signed up in support of our calls on the insurance industry to play fair by flood victims.

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd said:

“We’re pleased the Prime Minister intervened to make sure flood victims can call a cheaper helpline, but they could still face huge phone bills with their insurance companies as most use high rate numbers. We’re calling for this to stop. Victims shouldn’t have to pay a premium to make a claim, especially when many will be calling from a mobile.

“The Government must also make sure other public bodies play fair and drop high rate numbers as soon as possible so that people are not left out of pocket when calling essential services.”

Our Costly Calls campaign is calling for:

  • The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to change its rules to ban financial services industry from using costly numbers for complaints and customer helplines.
  • The Government to lead by example and stop public bodies from using high rate customer helplines as soon as possible.

You can sign up to our Costly Calls campaign here: www.which.co.uk/costlycalls

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