Consumer Code of Practice

Consumer Code of Practice

Nothing in this Code of Practice detracts from your statutory or common law rights, nor does anything it contains form part of any contract between TalkTalk Business and a customer.  The communications services described in this Code are subject to availability and may be modified from time to time.  This Code of Practice is published by TalkTalk Communications Limited trading as TalkTalk Business (referred to as TalkTalk Business in this document).

1 About TalkTalk Business

TalkTalk Business is part of the TalkTalk Group, the UK's third largest communications network operator. TalkTalk Business provides business grade services to the UK market place across two direct sales channels with a wholesale division covering the reseller and dealer market places. TalkTalk Business is a leading player in the development and delivery of next generation IP based converged voice and data services.

This code of practice covers all of the TalkTalk Group of companies including TalkTalk Communications Limited trading as TalkTalk Business (3849133) registered at Stanford House, Garrett Field, Birchwood, Warrington WA3 7BH.

2 The purpose of the code

The purpose of this Code of Practice is to inform our customers of their relationship with us. It is written for small business consumers who purchase telecommunications services from us directly.

For TalkTalk Business the code states that a small business is defined as a company having 30 employees or fewer and is not a telecommunications provider in itself. However, according to the General Conditions (GC) published by Ofcom the definition of a small business is one which has 10 or less individuals working for it.

This code aims to provide:

  • Information on how to contact TalkTalk Business
  • Information on sales and marketing activities
  • Informational on some of our main services
  • Information on billing and pricing issues
  • Information on how to make a complaint
  • Contact details for alternative complaint bodies

3 Contact details

To order any of our services please call the following free phone number: 0800 083 8000.

Lines are open from 8am - 6pm, calls are monitored or recorded for training and security purposes.

For ALL enquiries, you may contact us by e-mail at the following address: customerservices@talktalkbusiness.co.uk

Or write to us at:

TalkTalk Business
PO Box 136
Birchwood
WARRINGTON
WA3 7WU

Or find us at: www.talktalkbusiness.co.uk

Contact details of a number of related organisations are given in section 15 of this code.

4 General philosophy

TalkTalk Business provides communications services to organisations of all sizes across the UK.

We use the telecoms network provided by TalkTalk Technology (TTT) also part of the TalkTalk Group, which owns both a TDM (traditional telephony) and a Next Generation Network. Both are UK National communications networks which are connected to BT and a number of other network operators. The next generation network covers over 80% of the UK population and uses a technology called full local loop unbundling (LLU) and we have our own equipment (MSAN – Multi Service Access Node) installed in over 1650 exchanges to which customers’ lines are connected.

To route telephone calls, over the traditional TDM network we use either carrier pre-selection (CPS) and wholesale line rental, or over our next generation network using a process called local loop unbundling (LLU).

CPS enables you to pre-select an alternative carrier. For more ‘consumer’ information, should this be applicable, on CPS, you can download the Ofcom Consumer Guide in pdf format from:

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/archive/oftel/ind_groups/op_policy/cpscgm/docs/cpsconguidev3.pdf

We also offer our customers the option to have their line rental supplied by us over the TDM network, using a mechanism called Wholesale Line Rental over the BT wholesale network.

LLU allows an alternative telecoms company, such as ourselves, to install their own equipment into local exchanges. The lines are then physically unplugged from the legacy network and then connected to our 21st Century network, giving customers access to a wide range of services. We use a full (MPF) rather than partial (SMPF) version of unbundling, which means we can provide next generation voice and broadband over the same line.

5 Sales, marketing, advertising and promotion

5.1 Background

TalkTalk Business is one of the leaders in providing telephone services to organisations across the UK. Customers join us through business to business marketing, over the telephone, through the internet and by signing up with our field sales representatives.

We are committed to delivering outstanding service, which includes our sales and marketing activities. This document sets out how we aim to achieve the highest standards possible. It is essential that our customers understand, at the point of sale, the services offered and the contract they are entering into.

5.2 Sales, marketing, advertising and promotion

TalkTalk Business adheres to all applicable Codes of Practice, including advertising and consumer protection regulations. This includes the Mailing Preference Service, the Telephone Preference Service, the Fax Preference Service and the E-Mail Preference Service. Our advertising and promotions comply with the British Codes of Advertising and Sales Promotion.

We always aim to ensure that our advertising and promotional literature is clear, unambiguous, accurate and fair and that it does not contain any false or misleading information about price, value or service. We do not denigrate other providers of telecoms services.

5.3 Recruitment

TalkTalk Business follows strict procedures when we hire and train staff who will market and sell our services whether in face-to-face sales or telephone sales.

Whilst operating within current employment legislation, we specifically take into account the following factors when recruiting sales agents:

  • Behaviour and appearance - we recognise that the sales person may be seen as the ‘public face’ of the telecoms industry as a whole;
  • Security - that all references and relevant convictions for criminal offences to be checked thoroughly and taken into account;
  • Evidence of mis-selling or lack of integrity in any previous selling employment.

In addition we require staff to follow these rules:

  • The applicant must provide a proof of NI number, proof of address and two references
  • Referees cannot be related to the applicant
  • Business referees must not be both from the same company;
  • If a sales person transfers to another company, a copy of his or her records will be retained for a minimum period of three years;
  • All company property including any materials/contracts/identification badges should be returned from sales agents leaving the company.

5.4 Sales training

After recruitment, all our sales agents are trained to ensure they have a sufficient understanding of the relevant sections of this Code of Practice. They are also been tested to prove understanding and knowledge of this Code of Practice.

All our sales agents are also trained to ensure they have a sufficient understanding of the following topics:

  • How competition in telecommunications works in the UK;
  • What telephone services TalkTalk Business provides and how they may differ from other competitive telecoms products
  • How the customer orders competitive telephone services in the UK;
  • The relevant principles of consumer protection law;
  • TalkTalk Business' prices and other terms and conditions of service and, in particular, methods of payment, duration of contract and any termination fees;
  • The nature, and cost, of any additional TalkTalk Business services;
  • The process for cancelling the contract both during the cooling-off period and at any time following commencement of the service; and
  • The TalkTalk Business procedure for handling customer complaints.

5.5 Responsibility for complying with the code

Responsibility for code compliance by all TalkTalk Business representatives, including any 3rd party sales agency lies with TalkTalk Business. The Sales Director for TalkTalk Business is accountable for ensuring that TalkTalk Business and its agents observe the code, and is also responsible for handling of the complaints relevant to the code. You can email our compliance team or write at address given above.

5.6 Remuneration systems

Remuneration systems for TalkTalk Business are such that they do not encourage misleading or exploitative sales practices. All agencies representing TalkTalk Business disclose all details of incentive schemes related to TalkTalk Business.

5.7 Customer contact

TalkTalk Business wants to ensure that the customer has a pleasant and reassuring experience whenever they come into contact with any of our sales agents.

  • Our representatives will show discretion when they visit consumers’ premises, particularly in the hours of darkness. We do not visit premises outside the hours of 9am and 8pm.
  • We do not call customers outside the hours of 8am and 8pm, unless at the customers request.
  • Our representatives who visit consumers’ premises must be issued with identity badges that clearly display the name of TalkTalk Business.
  • Our representatives will immediately identify themselves, giving their full name and that they work for TalkTalk Business. They will also explain that TalkTalk Business is a business telecoms provider, why they are calling and the expected call duration. If visiting or meeting in person, they should draw the customers’ attention to their identity card immediately.
  • When visiting a customer’s premises, our representative will give the customer a generic business card or TalkTalk Business leaflet which holds the company name and address, a contact telephone number and email address. The customer will be able to call the contact telephone number and confirm the representative is genuine.
  • Our representatives will be courteous, use appropriate language and offer clear and straightforward explanations. They will use only the material that TalkTalk Business has provided them to explain the service to the customers including how the service may include the provision of network services by other companies.
  • Our representatives will never misrepresent the services of TalkTalk Business or any other company and will always provide factual and accurate information
  • Our representatives will check that the customer understands that they are entering into a contract with TalkTalk Business which will provide the customer with an alternative provider for their telephone calls and/or other telecoms services.
  • Our representatives will cease contact with any person who indicates that the contact is inconvenient, unwelcome, inappropriate or too long. If the customer requests it, the representative will end the discussion immediately and leave the premises immediately.
  • The representative must confirm that the sale is being made to a customer who is a decision-maker for the business.
  • Marketing campaign records will be maintained for 6 months, including the date and the approximate time of the contact with the customer. These records will be such as to allow subsequent identification of the salesperson(s) involved and to assist in dealing with any complaint or query.

5.8 How the customer enters into a contract with TalkTalk Business

A customer may enter into a contract for TalkTalk Business services in three separate ways:

  • In writing (when our representative visits the customer’s premises or when the customer visits a high-street shop selling TalkTalk Business services); or
  • Verbally (when the customer has agreed over the phone to take the TalkTalk Business service).
  • By signing up on the TalkTalk Business website (www.talktalkbusiness.co.uk)

Whichever way, we have safeguards in place to ensure that the customer understands the service they are buying from TalkTalk Business and that they are entering into a legally binding contract. The format of these safeguards differs slightly between the ways to ensure the highest possible standard of consumer protection.

When we ask the customer to enter into a contract for TalkTalk Business services our representative will provide in writing the following information:

  • essential information including the name of TalkTalk Business, its address, telephone, fax and e-mail contact details;
  • a description of our telephone service to enable the customer to understand the service the customer has chosen, and how it works;
  • information about the major elements of the service, including the costs of any standing charges, the payment terms, line rental, key call types and details of “protected or special support” arrangements;
  • the arrangements for provision of the service, including the order process and, as accurately as possible, the likely date of provision. Where there may be significant delay in the likely date of provision, we will inform the Customer;
  • the customer’s right of cancellation and the process for exercising it; and
  • the period for which the TalkTalk Business charges remain valid.

We have designed our order forms and contracts to ensure the contractual nature of these documents is clear to the customer.

5.8.1 When the customer signs a contract for our services

The customer will be asked to sign and date the agreement over the word CONTRACT. The contract will clearly state next to the place of signature that the terms and conditions for the TalkTalk Business are available to read.

The contract will also state the business name and address for TalkTalk Business.

5.8.2 When the customer enters into a contract for our services over the phone (either through being called by TalkTalk Business or by calling TalkTalk Business)

During the telephone conversation, the TalkTalk Business representative will ask the customer to confirm that they understand and agree to the following points:

  • I understand that TalkTalk Business is an independent company and not part of British Telecom
  • I understand that TalkTalk Business will bill me for my call charges and BT will continue to any BT services to which I have subscribed
  • The representative has explained to me the benefits of TalkTalk Business and has advised me of the process over the next two to three weeks
  • I am aware there is a 12 month/24 month minimum term.

We record all calls for training and quality assessment purposes.

The TalkTalk Business representative will ask the customer to confirm that they have the authority to change telecommunications provider for the telephone number concerned.

5.8.3 When the customer enters into a contract for our services by visiting the TalkTalk Business website

The customer will be prompted to agree to the terms and conditions before completing the transaction of signing up for TalkTalk Business.

The final page will confirm their personal details

This Code of Practice is available on the TalkTalk Business website.

5.8.4 After the customer has agreed to take the TalkTalk Business service(s)

Every customer will receive an TalkTalk Business information pack either when they sign the contract or, if they sign up on the phone, within seven working days.

Every customer will receive a letter which contains the following information:

  • Date of notification;
  • CLI(s) affected;
  • List of services affected/unaffected;
  • Date of switchover;
  • TalkTalk Business’ contact details for any queries;
  • Note of the Code of Practice and how to obtain a copy of it.

With the letter the customer will also receive a general information leaflet giving full details of the service, how it works and frequently asked questions.

We aim to complete the process from agreement to the service going live within a total of 30 working days.

We reserve the right not to enter into agreements.

5.9 Consumer protection and other legal requirements

We comply with all applicable consumer protection legislation and other legal requirements.

6 Audit

TalkTalk Business will make regular audits of our systems, procedures and documentation to deliver compliance with our code of practice.

7 Customer service

Our customer service representatives are able to help with all your queries including products, billing and tariffs. Where possible, we will respond to your enquiries within 2 hours. Our service centre is open to deal with your enquiries from Monday to Friday between 8.00 am and 6.00 pm.

If you have any service enquiries please call us free on 0800 083 3003.

Alternatively, you may write to our customer service centre at:

TalkTalk Business
PO Box 136
Birchwood
WARRINGTON
WA3 7WU

Or e-mail us at:

customerservices@talktalkbusiness.co.uk

7.1 Cancellation

If you wish to cancel your TalkTalk Business service you can do this without any cost or charges at any time within 7 days of the date you sign or agree to the terms of the Contract (not the date you are connected to the service). If you exercise this right you must within 5 days of cancellation return at your own cost all equipment we provided to you unused and in its original packaging. We advise that you do this by courier or guaranteed mail as we have no responsibility for any lost or undelivered equipment. If you do not return the equipment in this way, you can still cancel, but you will be responsible for the replacement cost of the equipment, all charges incurred and any enforcement costs (including legal costs).

To find out more about your rights to cancel within this 7 day period please contact us in writing, by telephone or by e-mail as set out above.

If you choose to cancel after this 7 day period, your rights and obligations are set out in your Contract.

Some services take a little time to cancel, as they require us to work with special industry processes. When you cancel your service, we aim to advise you of the time period from us receiving your cancellation request to the time at which the service is withdrawn. During this period, you remain liable for the costs of any services we provide.

7.2 Fault repair

Faults can be reported free of charge, 24 hours a day. However unless otherwise stated in your service agreement, engineers only attend to faults in normal working hours (Monday to Friday from 9.00 am to 5.00pm, excluding bank holidays). To report a fault call: 0800 083 3003

Faults can occur on the TalkTalk Business Network, another operator's network, or on the telephone used by you or the person you are trying to call. If the fault is reported during normal working hours, we will try to establish the location of the fault. We may request that you carry out some simple checks to help us establish the cause of the fault.

Repairing faults on our network is part of the maintenance cover we provide with our service. If the fault is not on our network then we may not be responsible for its repair. If the fault is on the BT network then you may need to report this fault to BT directly. To report a BT fault call one of the following numbers.

BT residential customers call: 0800 800 151
BT Business customers call: 0800 800 154

We reserve the right to charge for any abortive work or visit arising from faults over which we have no control. Should an engineer need to visit your premises we will agree this with you.

7.3 Reconnection

If you are a previous TalkTalk Business customer and wish to come back to TalkTalk Business please call us on the above free phone number and we will aim to get you reconnected as soon as possible.

7.4 Pricing

We will be pleased to provide you with our full list of prices on request. To obtain pricing information please call us on the free phone number above or check our master price list on the Website (www.talktalkbusiness.co.uk).

8 Billing & Payments

8.1 Your responsibility to pay your bill

We will provide you with a monthly bill consisting of charges such as line rental, which we will bill a month in advance for the period ahead and for your call charges, we will bill you every month for the period that’s just passed.

Payment of your bill will be by direct debit within 14 days of the date of your bill, including your final bill.  If you wish to pay your bill using an alternative method, this will be subject to agreement with TalkTalk Business.   All amounts due must be paid in full without any deduction or withholding.

If you chose not to make payments by direct debit, we reserve the right to charge you a reasonable administration fee per payment.      

Itemised Bills are provided free of charge and we normally detail each item that costs more than 25 pence. On request, we will provide full itemisation.

8.2 Billing queries

We take billing accuracy very seriously. If you do not understand or disagree with part of your bill, please call us on the number quoted on your bill.

You are liable for the costs of any calls that you make over our network. If you query the charge for dialled calls, we will re-check the bill. If we find a mistake you will be credited accordingly.

8.3 Late payment

Prompt payment of bills helps us keep our costs down so that we can continue to offer a highly competitive service. If you are unable to make full payment by the date shown on your bill or you disagree with the charges on your bill, you should contact us immediately to discuss your options. The number to ring is shown on the front of your bill.

If we do not receive your payment on time and we have not been made aware of any payment difficulties, we will attempt to contact you to collect the outstanding payment. We will do in this in the following way(s):-

a.) If we have a registered mobile number for you, we will send you an SMS to prompt immediate payment.

b.) we will send you a letter to the registered billing address, in order to prompt you for immediate payment and to provide notice of our intention to suspend your services if you fail to pay the outstanding payment.

c.) in addition to our obligations under (b) we will attempt to call you and discuss the outstanding payment. We will ask for immediate payment via credit or debit card or request confirmation of a firm payment date.

Please note that we share payment performance each month with a credit reference agency. This means that if your payment is not made on time, a late payment will be recorded against you and may impact your credit profile and your ability to obtain credit with other lenders.

If we do not receive and process your payment within 14 days of your bill date, we may charge interest on all overdue amounts on a daily basis at a rate of 2% above the base rate of the Royal Bank of Scotland plc, to run from the due date of payment until receipt by us of the full amount.

8.4 Suspension of Service

If our attempts to contact you (as set out above) to prompt payment are unsuccessful and the payment remains outstanding, your services are likely to be suspended.

This means you will be unable to use your services, and only able to receive incoming calls (and not make outgoing calls with the exception of emergency numbers such as 112 and 999).

If you attempt to make a call following suspension of your services, we will automatically divert those calls to us in order to discuss the outstanding payment with you.

8.5 Disconnecting your service for non payment

Once your service has been suspended for non payment, we will make further attempts to contact you in the following way(s):

a.) calling you (via all registered contact details) to discuss the outstanding payment. We will ask for immediate payment via credit or debit card or request confirmation of a firm payment date.

b.) If we are unable to contact you by phone, we will send to your registered billing address, a final written notice, advising you of our intention to fully disconnect your services within 7 days of the date of the written notice.

Once your services have been fully disconnected, full payment is required prior to any reconnection. A request for reconnection may be subject to a credit check, payment of any published reconnection charges and TalkTalk Business’ terms and conditions for the Services.

8.6 Debt collection

If you fail to make payment for the outstanding payment(s) within the terms of your final bill, we will terminate your contract with us. If your contract is terminated earlier than your agreed committed period, we may apply an early termination charge in accordance with the terms of your contract. 

In order to recover the outstanding payment(s), we will pass your details to a debt collection agency. Additional costs may be incurred as a result of us having to pass your outstanding payment(s) to a third party; these costs may be passed on to you for payment in addition to the principle sum outstanding. The potential of referral to a third party agency will be detailed in the final letter we send to you.

The debt-collection agencies we use are professional members of a recognised association, responsible for regulating the debt-collection industry. They are licensed to do this work by the Office of Fair Trading. Please be aware that as a result of your debt being referred to a debt collection agency, information about your debt may be shared with other organisations that provide credit.

8.7 How can we help you

If you are unable to make full payment by the date shown on your bill, you should contact us immediately to discuss your options with us.

The number to ring is shown on the front of your bill. If we are aware that you are having difficulties paying your bill, we may be able to offer you one of the following options:

a.) A payment promise within an agreed time frame.

b.) A payment plan – We may offer you an option to repay amounts owed to TalkTalk Business over an agreed period of time.

c.) Change in your level of service. We may ask you to change your services to reduce your monthly charges and in turn, reduce your future bills to make your service and subsequent bills more affordable to you.

8.8 Difficulties in making or receiving calls

If you have difficulty in making a call you should try re-dialling. If you still have difficulty please call us free on:

0800 083 3003

If BT provides your telephone line and you cannot make or receive calls then it is likely that there is a fault on either the BT network or your phone.

Please contact BT on one of the following numbers:

BT residential customers call 0800 800 151
BT Business customers call 0800 800 154

8.9 If you are not satisfied with TalkTalk Business' service

We are committed to providing you with the best quality and value communications services in the UK. We understand that faults can occur, and when they do, we want to correct them quickly. We provide a comprehensive complaint handling process to solve your problem as soon as possible. If you’re not happy with the service you’re getting, please see our customer complaints code.

9 Your rights and obligations

9.1 Number portability

TalkTalk Business is able to offer number portability. This means that if you move your service from BT or other operator to TalkTalk Business you are allowed to keep you existing phone number. This means that you do not need to notify your contacts of a number change. It normally takes between 4 and 7 days to transfer a number. This facility may not be available in your area. If you would like more information, please call our customer service advisers on free phone 0800 083 3003.

9.2 Data protection

We may collect personal information about you from a number of sources. These may include:

  • The customer agreement, i.e. the agreement that you sign when you take a service from TalkTalk Business. This may include your name, address, other contact details and banking details.

If you contact us with an enquiry;

  • From direct marketing organisations
  • From other publicly available sources such as the electoral role.

TalkTalk Business is registered under the Data Protection Act and takes all reasonable steps to ensure that there is no unauthorised access to your personal data.

We may use the personal data that we have to promote TalkTalk Business' products and services but these details will not be passed to any other organisations for marketing purposes.

In some circumstances we may supply information to organisations such as the police where the law permits us to do this.

We may record phone conversations in order to provide training services or to provide evidence of a transaction.

If you wish to know what personal information TalkTalk Business holds on you via a subject access request, you can either:

  • contact our customer service department via 0800 083 3003 who will start the initial process; or
  • email sar@talktalkbusiness.co.uk; or
  • post your subject access request to Data Protection Office, PO Box 390, Southampton, SO30 9AQ.

There will be a £10 fee for each request made, please include a cheque made payable to TalkTalk Telecoms Ltd.  We also need you to supply ID, the following are acceptable:

  • Photocopy of a valid form of identification of the account holder.   Acceptable forms of ID are:
    • Birth certificate.
    • Driver’s license.
    • Passport
    • Copy of a utility bill or a credit /debit card statement, provided that:
    • The name and address must be same as that on the account or data we hold for you.
    • The invoice/statements must be dated no older than 3 months.
    • The invoice cannot be from a brand under the TalkTalk Group (e.g. Talk/Talk, Tiscali, Pipex, Onetel, Opal and Business etc).

You may wish to stop unsolicited telemarketing calls from TalkTalk Business and other organisations. You may do this by calling the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). The contact details for the TPS are given in section 15.

9.3 Terms and conditions

TalkTalk Business provides terms and conditions which are available on our website at www.talktalkbusiness.co.uk/legal

9.4 Services for disabled and elderly customers

If you are older or may have a disability and wish to discuss any special communications requirements you may have then please contact our customer service centre at the above address and we will try and accommodate your requirements where possible.

9.5 Phonebook entry

You have a right to be included in the phonebook and directory enquiries, free of charge. You may also choose be ex-directory.

TalkTalk Business can arrange for your TalkTalk Business Non Geographic Number (NGN) e.g. 0800 to be included in the phonebook free of charge. Please contact our customer service centre at the above address www.talktalkbusiness.co.uk.

10 Communication with customers

It is our policy to maintain contact with our customers on a regular basis. We may call you or write to you from time to time to inform you of any new services and to review your current telecommunications requirements. We aim to keep this Code of Practice up to date and you may obtain a copy from our customer service centre or via our Website,www.talktalkbusiness.co.uk.

11 Social responsibility

11.1 Environmental policy

TalkTalk Business is committed to the prevention of pollution. We maintain an environmental management system that is appropriate to the nature, scale and environmental impacts of our activities, products and services. This system ensures that wherever possible:

  • all waste is recycled, and where this is not practicable due to either technical or cost constraints, any waste is disposed of in an appropriate manner;
  • we use energy efficient processing equipment and tools;
  • company vehicles are selected and maintained correctly so as to minimise pollutant emissions;
  • we schedule and combine activities in geographical areas to ensure that the effect of transportation of personnel and equipment on the environment is minimised;
  • we recycle office stationery and use stationery manufactured from recycled materials wherever practicable;
  • we regularly review the environmental impacts of the business, and constantly seek opportunities for continual improvement and prevention of pollution;
  • we provide a framework, comprising a high level management review supplemented by a forum that meets on a regular basis, to set and review environmental objectives and targets.

11.2 Protection and support of vulnerable groups

TalkTalk Business is predominately a supplier of communications service to business customers. We understand that some of our customers may have special needs and so require particular attention. It is our policy to assist any customers who may have difficulty using telephony services whether they have a disability or are from other vulnerable groups.

12 Malicious calls

We understand that annoyance and distress can be caused by malicious calls and take this problem very seriously. If you are receiving malicious calls, we would like to provide you with every assistance to try to resolve the problem. This may involve working with the police and other network operators where appropriate. You should be prepared to give evidence if the caller is traced and brought to court. We may also recommend that you change your phone number and ask for this to be ex-directory if you continue to receive such calls.

To report any malicious calls to TalkTalk Business, please contact our customer service centre at the contact details given in section 3.

13 Premium Rate Services

PhonePayPlus, (formerly ICSTIS) is the premium rate services regulator.

PhonePayPlus is the industry-funded regulatory body for all premium rate charged telecommunications services. They regulate premium rate services in their entirety - their content, promotion and overall operation - through the PhonePayPlus code of practice.

The role of PhonePayPlus is to prevent consumer harm.

PhonePayPlus investigates complaints about the promotion and operation of services which involve the use of a telephone connection via a premium rate number. This includes services available on a variety of mediums such as voice (telephone), fax, Internet, mobile phone SMS and interactive TV. The potential content of these services is virtually endless.

PhonePayPlus regulates any service/promotion that is operating on one of the following number ranges:

  • Numbers beginning with 090 or 091;
  • Directory enquiry (DQ) services operating on numbers beginning with 118; and
  • Reverse-billed SMS (you are charged for the receipt of messages) containing content operating on shortcodes. Shortcodes have 4 or 5 digits and start with an 8, 6 or 2.

PhonePayPlus has the power to fine companies and bar access to services if their code of practice is breached. PhonePayPlus can also bar the individual(s) behind a company from running any other premium rate services under any company name on any telephone network for a defined period.

PhonePayPlus can deal with lesser problems by issuing formal reprimands or ordering companies to come to us for prior approval.

Their service is fully independent.

13.1 How to complain to PhonePayPlus

If you think a particular service falls within the remit of PhonePayPlus, you can submit a complaint to them. There are a variety of ways to submit your complaint but before you do, we recommend that you visit their online number checking facility for instant information about the number in question. After that, please use one of the following methods:

  • If you have a hard copy of the promotion in question (i.e. a page from a magazine), please supply your complaint in writing with a copy of the promotion to: PhonePayPlus, FREEPOST WC5468, London, SE1 2BR
  • by using their online complaint form by calling their free helpline on 0800 500 212 between the hours of 8.00am and 8.00pm, Monday to Friday.

Information about our PRS tariffs

For up-to-date information about the tariffs for calling PRS number from TalkTalk Business’s network please contact customer services or your TalkTalk Business account manager.

Information about our PRS tariffs

Part of the TalkTalk Business code of practice is to provide up-to-date information about the tariffs for calling PRS numbers from the TalkTalk Business network – please see the master price list at: http://www.talktalkbusiness.co.uk/legal/small-business-terms--conditions/ or contact customer services or your TalkTalk Business account manager.

13.2 How PRS works

Calls to PRS numbers are typically more expensive than calls to other telephone numbers. Most PRS numbers are operated on the basis of a revenue-sharing arrangement. This means that the bulk of the revenue from calls to such services goes to the service providers who are responsible for the content, product or services provided or who act as resellers or aggregators on behalf of a number of such providers. The service providers are responsible for compliance with the bulk of the obligations imposed by the PhonePayPlus code of practice mentioned above.

The remainder of the revenue is shared by the consumer’s “originating” telephone company (for instance TalkTalk Business, which receives a small fee for origination of the phone call) and the telephone company that contracts with the service provider and “terminates” the call on behalf of the service provider through the provision of network facilities.

13.3 How to bar access to PRS numbers

We offer the facility to bar calls to Premium rate numbers, which will help stop any dialling on your line to all UK based 0900-0909 premium numbers. If you use other service providers, for example BT for you line rental service, then you will need to ask them to bar your calls as well. These are the numbers that are currently being used in the Internet scams. If you want to place a premium bar on your line or need to check whether you already have an active bar in place please call our Customer Service Team on 0800 083 3003.

13.4 Rogue Internet or Trojan diallers

There is currently a scam that infects computers with a dial-up Internet connection. It changes the way your computer connects to the Internet and is difficult to detect.

The scam can occur when you are browsing a compliant and proper Internet services website often with premium rate content. Examples of websites that have available premium rate content to download to your computer include music, films and adult material. When you access one of these sites a message should appear asking you to install software in order to download material from the website at an explained addition cost.

When you install this software, your normal dialler will be temporarily replaced to pay for the content that you have just requested with a new dialler configuration.

13.5 What is a Trojan?

A Trojan is a programme that infects your computer and allows a hacker to run hidden tasks without your knowledge or consent. The latest Trojan's can re-configure your dial up connection and charge you at a Premium or International call rate when you access the Internet and click on a seemingly harmless pop up or link. The next time you dial up to connect to the Internet you will be charged at a Premium rate or International call rate. That's the scam.

13.6 How to Prevent Infection

Install the latest software to protect your computer and always obtain the latest upgrades and patches from the supplier to ensure you are protected against the latest Trojans.

Using anti virus and Firewall protection programs will help reduce the risk of this happening. We strongly recommend that you use additional safety measures in addition to their standard anti virus programs.

Please speak to your PC supplier for further guidance.

We also recommend that you keep your operating system patched with the latest upgrades from your software's manufacturer. For Microsoft Window users please visit

http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com

to ensure your PC settings are up to date. We are working closely with PhonePayPlus and Ofcom. Once we identify a Trojan dialler we take all possible steps to ensure that our customers are unable to connect to this number again.

13.7 Disputes regarding PRS numbers on your phone bill

The Ombudsman Services - Communications, of which we are a member is able to investigate if you have a complaint that we cannot resolve regarding calls to PRS number appearing on your phone bill.

Furthermore, PhonePayPlus may order a PRS service provider to pay you a refund in the case they have completed an investigation and where it imposes redress as a sanction. If it can be shown that your phone has been used without your permission to call certain types of premium rate service (i.e. live and recorded chat, and live tarot services), PhonePayPlus may also be able to help you obtain compensation from the PRS service provider. PhonePayPlus will also be able to help you identify the service provider who provides the service behind the PRS number on your phone bill.

Please visit their website at www.phonepayplus.org.uk

14 Number Translation Services

Our up-to-date charges for calls to number translation services (numbers starting with 05 or 08) are available from our customer service team on 0800 083 3003. We provide these with the same prominence as our charges for calls to other numbers (including geographic, mobile and international numbers).

Our stated charges for calls to number translation services will include variations by time of day, for example, whether the call is made during the day, evening or weekend.

We also make it clear whether any of our special offers, discount schemes or call bundles include calls to number translation services.

Whenever we refer to our call pricing in our marketing material, we include our maximum number translation services call prices as well as a clear reference to our customer service advisers who can provide a complete set of our charges for calling number translation services.

If you are a new customer who signs up for the TalkTalk Business service, we include on the relevant correspondence, our maximum number translation services call prices as well as a clear reference to our customer service advisers who can provide a complete set of our charges for calling number translation services.

15 Further information

Office of Communications (Ofcom)

Address:

Ofcom Contact Centre
Riverside House
2a Southwark Bridge Road
London
SE1 9HA

Call: 0845 456 3000
Fax: 020 7981 3333
E-mail: contact@ofcom.org.uk
Website: www.ofcom.org.uk

  

PhonePayPlus

Address:

Fourth Floor
Clove Building
4 Maguire Street
London
SE1 2NQ

Call: 0800 500 212

Website: www.phonepayplus.org.uk

  

Telecoms Ombudsman

Address:

Ombudsman Services: Communications
PO Box 730
Warrington
WA4 6WU

Call: 0330 440 1614 or 01925 430049
Fax: 0330 440 1615 or 01925 430059
E-mail: enquiries@os-communications.org
Website: www.ombudsman-services.org/communications.html

 

Telephone Preference Service

If you do not wish to receive unsolicited telemarketing calls, register on line at www.tpsonline.org.uk or call 020 7766 4420.

 

Fax Preference Service

If you do not wish to receive unsolicited telemarketing faxes, register on line at www.fpsonline.org.uk or call 020 7766 4422.