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Broadband providers are profiting by tens of millions of pounds a year from customers' calls to support help-lines, it has been revealed.

According to figures from uSwitch.com, some 19 million calls are made to such technical support help lines, netting internet service providers a total of £34 million annually.

Steve Weller, head of communications at uSwitch, said: "To rake in an additional £34m just for helping customers to resolve technical hitches is just wrong. It's interesting that sales lines are free to call."

Worse still it seems that much of this expense is being built up through multiple calls from clients to sort out the same problem, with the research revealing that only 40 per cent of problems are fixed first time.

The average customer phoned up to 3.67 times per year, with the costs of each call standing at around £1.82, uSwitch's study showed.

The most common source of complaints from customers was network connection difficulties.

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