Premier League clubs including Newcastle United, Southampton, Burnley, Crystal Palace and Brighton are all using the lines
GREEDY football clubs are grabbing extra money from fans by charging them up to 63p per minute for calls to ticket lines.
Despite a crackdown on rip-off phone lines, some 25 top teams still make supporters dial premium-rate numbers to contact helplines and book tickets.
Premier League clubs including Newcastle United, Southampton, Burnley, Crystal Palace and Brighton use 084 or 087 numbers for sales.
These numbers typically cost between 15p and 25p per minute for landline customers but rocket to between 53p and 63p for mobile calls — meaning a ten-minute chat could cost over £6, according to research compiled by campaign group the Fair Telecoms Campaign.
The clubs take between 2.5p and 10.8p per minute for themselves.
What the different clubs charge is detailed in the league of shame above — which also gives service charges applied to calls.
Derby County, Wolves, Leeds United, Swansea City, Queens Park Rangers and Cardiff City also use the pricey phone lines for fans looking to buy tickets or make an enquiry.
David Hickson, of the Fair Telecoms Campaign, said: “The football clubs using these numbers benefit from a service charge of up to 13p per minute, of which they take 10.8p after VAT.
“But this is generally dwarfed by the access charge which goes to the telephone companies.” Rates vary but it is typically 12p a minute for landlines, 50p for mobiles.
And Mr Hickson adds: “In many cases the Government makes more money from the call, through the VAT, than the greedy football clubs.
At the top of the league of shame are Championship clubs Derby County and Wolverhampton Wanderers, League One’s Bradford City and League Two’s Swindon Town.
They charge fans 63p per minute from a landline and 25 per a minute from a mobile to call both the general club line and the ticket office.
League One’s Wigan charge the same but just for the ticket office.
For Crystal Palace, the charges are 62p (mobile) and 24p (landline) for the ticket office and for Leeds United, 61p (mobile) and 23p (landline) for general enquires and the ticket office. Newcastle United, Burnley and Queens Park Rangers ask fans for 57p per minute from a mobile and 19p per minute from a landline for calls to their ticket offices.
There is some good news for hard-pressed fans, however. Sunderland, Brentford and West Ham have scrapped their expensive numbers in favour of basic rate 01/02/03 lines.
These will be free for most people with a call allowance from their mobile or landline provider. Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City, Hull, Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion also use basic rate 01/02/03 numbers. But Liverpool also still have the 087 numbers.
A spokesman for Bradford City said: “The 0871 numbers were inherited when the club changed ownership last summer but as soon as is possible we will be reverting back to the local number and hope to do this at some point this season.”
Fulham said it was in the process of dropping the 084 number on its website for membership enquiries and is set to replace it with a cheaper local rate number.
Peterborough stated the 084 number listed on its website was actually the number for buying tickets via Ticketmaster — adding that the club’s actual number was a cheaper local rate number. But the club continues to list a second premium rate 0843 number on its website for generic enquiries and questions about membership.
Consumer law changed two years ago to make it illegal to use these numbers for calls from existing customers, which for football clubs means season ticket holders.
But ticket lines can be pricey and watchdogs say this is unfair.
There are additional rules for premium-rate numbers, used for contests, TV votes, horoscopes, chat lines, adult lines and recorded information. The firm offering the line can make from £1 to £3.60 but needs to be clear about costs, and lines cannot be used for customer service.