Dad Grieving After Baby's Cot Death Receives £50 Bill For Calling Samaritans Via 118118

11/08/2014 12:14 | Updated 20 May 2015

Serious conversation

A grieving dad who called the Samaritans for support after losing his baby son to cot death was stunned when he was charged £50 for using the 118118 service.

Gareth Hall wanted to talk to a bereavement counsellor because he was struggling to cope with the death of his baby son Jett.

He called 118118 and the company put him straight through to the charity while charging him £1.99 minute.

When costs from his mobile phone operator were added, the bill for the 12 minute, three second call came to a shocking £50.20.

The 34-year-old dad told the Mirror: "It was late and my emotions had me, so I decided to call the Samaritans. I rang 118118. They knew the number I asked for and I couldn't have sounded the happiest guy."

He said he was 'devastated' to discover it had cost £50, adding: "It was a blow to the stomach."

Gareth, his wife Sera and their four young sons were thrilled when Jett was born in March.

But six weeks later Jett died as a result of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Gareth, from Taunton, Somerset, called the Samaritans to deal with his loss. After the £50 bill arrived, Sera complained to 118118 who agreed to refund the fee 'as a goodwill gesture'.

She said: "It's disgusting. My husband was calling to grieve over our dead son. I'm horrified they could charge that amount."

A spokesperson for 118118 told the newspaper: "As a responsible service, we have several special measures in place to protect any customer who calls the Samaritans, and we're looking into what may have happened in this case.

"We're very sorry for any distress caused, and a full refund is in process. We will also be making a donation to the Samaritans to help them in their important work."

For emotional support contact Samaritans on 08457 909090 or click here.


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