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I got a bit of a surprise last week when I investigated why my mobile phone bill was somewhat higher than normal.

I discovered that I had been charged for two calls to a number beginning 0701 and this raised a couple of questions.

1. 0700 numbers are free phone so what the heck is the telephone ombudsman doing allowing the use of 0701 as a Premium Rate prefix. If this is not spotted that extra digit can cost around 50p per minute.

2. Had I been deliberately scammed. My two calls cost more than £20 for about 50 minutes!

What made it more uncomfortable was that this had been described in the contact details of the individual I was talking to as a mobile number – because it was someone I knew I didn’t look at it properly. The guy is an independent sales consultant who I had worked whilst he was working with another company and I am gobsmacked that he set up both his contact numbers as premium rate. I will certainly be dropping him like a hot potato beecause if he did any work for me and anyone else got stung it would be my reputation at risk too!

One of the reasons for the popularity of these numbers is that they can be provided for no fee to the subscriber as they are paid for by the callers – ouch!

The guy concerned has a naff, error ridden, one page website that includes a standard mobile number (which fails to connect – of course). So I have emailed him to ring me back so I can get him to cough up the money for the calls and say sorry!

We’ll have to see how successful I am with that ;-).

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