NORTH Tyneside MP Mary Glindon is backing a House of Commons motion condemning the use of premium rate telephone numbers for public services.
Mrs Glindon wants to see land-line numbers introduced for jobcentres and other public-sector facilities rather than 0845 and 0870 numbers, and she is calling on North Tynesiders to offer their support.
She said: “Government departments expect too much from people, especially those with less money, asking them to splash out on expensive calls.
“This often adds injury to insult when people, through no fault of their own, are forced to phone to chase payments that are late, for instance.
“Fewer people use land-line phones nowadays due to high quarterly rentals.
“The cost of premium rate numbers is often higher and even freephone numbers cost money on a mobile phone as they usually fall outside the free minutes in most people’s packages.”
The MP is also calling on private companies to provide land-line numbers and easy-to-find e-mail addresses for sales and customer relations.
“I also think that private companies should always provide an e-mail address, so customers don’t have the needless expense and hassle of navigating complex phone systems, often at their own expense,” she said.
“We should expect larger companies to treat their customers much better.”
Mrs Glindon is hoping to secure a ten-minute rule bill in Parliament later this year.
In the meantime, she is asking constituents to come give examples of any inconvenience they have been caused by premium rate numbers to strengthen her case. These can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org