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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 March 2007, 15:41 GMT
'I spent 9,000 on TV quiz lines'
Man on phone
The body which regulates premium-rate phone lines has agreed a series of measures with TV chiefs aimed at restoring faith in the system following a series of complaints from viewers.

Unemployed Brett Rees, 22, from Rotherham, landed a 126-page phone bill for nearly 9,000 after he repeatedly called TV quiz shows. He says he didn't realise how expensive it would be.

Watching TV one night, bored, I saw this game show, it had easy questions...so I phoned it up and I won, first time lucky.

I won 600 to start with on a show that was on Sky.

Second time when I phoned the ITV The Mint up they kept putting me on hold and putting me on hold for about five minutes and then basically just turned round and said they were ending it and cut me straight back off, saying you haven't been successful this time.

I kept trying and trying and trying. Because it's easy money to be earned isn't it? Well I thought it was easy money to be earned, but it's not.

Instead of letting me run up this phone bill so high they should have cut me straight off

I've never done anything like this before and I won't do it again either.

When I got the phone bill I contacted them straight away. They turned around, say no it's not wrong, there's been no error in printing, or anything like that.

She said basically it's your fault. You've run this bill up so now you're going to have to pay it.

I took it to Citizens' Advice and they said there's nothing we can do, you've dug yourself in this hole, you can get yourself out of it.

There's nothing I can do about it. I've got to pay it basically.

They've got in contact with their bailiffs, they keep sending me warnings and threatening letters from bailiffs saying they are going to come and empty your property and all this, but they haven't been round yet.

They should have cut me off, they should have cut me off straight away. Instead of letting me run up this phone bill so high they should have cut me straight off.

In response to Mr Rees's story ITV said The Mint - which is not currently on air - charged viewers 75p per call, regardless of the length of the call or whether callers got through. The charge was made clear in an on-screen message, and by presenters, said the channel.

"Presenters also suggest to viewers that they set themselves a limit to the number of calls they make, and stick to it," added ITV.


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