This was an unusual request from a retailer who requested anonymity. He asked me to find out why Barclaycard reverses the charges on his machine if he leaves the lines open overnight.

He says it’s to charge for updates which he claims used to be free. He says the bank is making on the machine rental and commission, so he thinks this extra charge is uncalled for.

I put it to Barclaycard Business and a spokesperson said: “All payment terminals are programmed to dial the Global Estate Management System (GEMS) periodically to ensure that essential software and configuration updates are downloaded. When terminals connect to GEMS they call an 0333 number and the customer’s phone provider will determine whether or not there is a charge for these calls. Many customers choose for these calls to be made over an IP connection, which can negate any cost.”

So I said to the retailer it looks like your phone supplier is at fault, but he’s not having it. He says Camelot has reverted to an 0800 number, so why can’t Barclaycard?

I looked up 0333 numbers and found that it is a special type of landline-rate phone number. The cost to call an 0333 number within the UK is the same as calling a normal home or business line. The website says: “All numbers that start with 03 are charged at the same rate as standard landline numbers that start with ‘01’ or ‘02’. If your phone tariff offers inclusive calls to landlines, calls to 0333 numbers will also be included in the same way.”

He needs to look at his phone package.