This was a confusing one. Dharmendra Patel called from Downside Newsagent in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, to report that, although his newish XLN contract clearly promised unlimited local and national 0870 and 0845 calls, he was being charged for them.

When he complained he was told that it wasn’t down to them. The 0845 number had specified it. (I expect it will be in the fine print, which I expect will be very fine indeed.) “How am I supposed to know that?” he asked. “It’s a risk you take,” they replied.

I sent him to Ofcom, which recommended that he write to XLN to complain that he had been miss-sold the contract.

After Dharmendra sent me his bill I could see that all the calls he had been charged for were to the same 0845 number. Turns out that he had had a new Reposs system installed recently and the calls were all to the company’s service centre to iron out teething troubles, charging him 17p a minute. Tch. I recommended he tackle them, too. And the company has agreed to look into it.

You do have to be wary of this practice. After some research I learned from one of Sky’s websites: “There are no specific regulations for pre-sales enquiry lines or for sales or booking lines using 084, 087, 090, 091 and 098 numbers other than the requirement to declare the service charge wherever the number is advertised. It is for consumers to decide whether they wish to do business with an organisation that charges them extra when they buy something or make enquiries before buying.”