Camelot has scrapped its controversial premium-rate helpline, re-instating its Freephone number – a move that has been welcomed by retailers.

On Monday, the company’s Freephone number went live again, ending 18 months of frustration for retailers who have complained of being charged to access advice and help.

Retailers have reacted positively to the U-turn, which was severely criticised for burdening them with unwarranted costs.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Julia Bywater, of Bywater News in Dudley – who was vocal about her concerns at last year’s NFRN conference.

“Exploiting us for reporting their own machines were faulty was plainly wrong. I made a point of not calling the paid-for number on principle.”

Eugene Diamond, of Diamonds Newsagents in Ballymena, Ireland, described it as a “positive move”.

A Camelot spokeswoman said: “We’ve listened to feedback. Retailers were telling us the digital option wasn’t always feasible for them.”

The news is part of Camelot’s Allstars programme, which also includes a £4m investment into PoS and promotional material to help retailers maximise their lottery and scratchcard sales.