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118 500 Rip Off
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# 1
ianksu
Old 08-07-2011, 11:47 AM
MoneySaving Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1
Angry 118 500 Rip Off

Hi,

I'm new here so not sure what I'm doing but basically after some advice.

My 84 yr old mother has just received a phone bill with a charge of 145 for a call to international directory enquiries. I have tried to query this and have been told the charge is because the call was put through and continued to charge at 1.39 a minute for the 1 hour 43 minute call.

So far I have rung the following people who all seem to be saying tough there is nothing you can do just pay up.

BT - 0800 800 150
OFCOM - 0330 123 3333
Phone Pay Plus - 0800 587 212

Has anyone got any advice about how I can get BT to act fairly on this matter ?

Thanks Ian
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# 2
wongawonga
Old 08-07-2011, 12:03 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2011
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An unfortunate situation but whats a rip off about BT charging the correct rate.

Perhaps if you e-mailed them on behalf of your mum explaining the situation they may cut the charge.

http://bt.custhelp.com/app/contact_email/c/2702,2706

Last edited by wongawonga; 08-07-2011 at 12:06 PM.
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# 3
YoungNick
Old 08-07-2011, 3:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ianksu View Post
Has anyone got any advice about how I can get BT to act fairly on this matter ?
If it was International Directory Enquiries, 118505, it's 3 a minute.
How you contest it, depends a bit how capable your mother is. In principle, BT will only deal with her.
No point in phoning BT. You will just get the call centre, who won't understand.
If she is up for it, the best way would be for your mother to write to BT, with your help. She could say that she had no idea (a) that calls to 118505 are so expensive and (b) that if the call is 'put through' it continues to be charged at a huge rate. She can say that people much younger and more clued up than her struggle to find this out from the BT website. If she has, and can find, a BT Phone Book, she can say that she has now found that in tiny print on page 7 it just tells her to 'Visit www.bt118500.com . Her son has tried this, and it didn't help. (As far as I can see, there is no warning on the BT118500.com site about the cost of being 'put through'.) She should stress (assuming it is true) that she was not warned when the offer to 'put her through' was made. Finally she should point out that under paragraph 6 of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, omission or obfuscation of information on price is a criminal offence.
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2...ulation/6/made
She should demand
(a) reduction of the charge for the call to directory enquiries to the price a reasonable person would expect (maybe 50 pence?)
(b) reduction of the charge for the connected call to whatever it would have cost her to make the call herself
(c) compensation of 50 for the worry and stress this unfair practice has caused her.
She should copy this letter to her local Trading Standards Department, and say that she is doing so. You could also send an electronic copy to Ofcom, but that is probably a waste of time, because they never do anything.

Last edited by YoungNick; 08-07-2011 at 4:23 PM.
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# 4
YoungNick
Old 08-07-2011, 3:56 PM
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Oh, and if your mother is likely to make more calls lasting more than an hour, sign her up to 18185. And get her a phone that you can program to insert the 18185 prefix before all calls starting 00 or 07 or 118. (and, possibly, 01, 02, 03 ).
A call to 118XXX prefixed by 18185 gets a (free) message from Finarea that it's an 'incorrect number'.
If your mother cannot in practice read a telephone directory, she can apply for free directory enquiries on 195.
http://www.bt.com/includingyou/other...vices.html#195

Last edited by YoungNick; 08-07-2011 at 4:10 PM.
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# 5
jhp
Old 08-07-2011, 4:12 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,231
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There is a cost announcement on the BT site.
"118 505*


118 505* is the international directory enquiries number from BT.
  • It gives you comprehensive access to business and residential numbers worldwide.
  • Unlimited searches.
  • We'll text the number to your mobile, free of charge.
  • And we'll put you through to the number too.
* Calls to 118 505 cost 99p per call plus 2.99 per minute or part thereof, from BT landlines (excluding BT payphones). Mobiles and other networks may vary. "


http://www.118500.com/118505.publisha
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# 6
bmtney54
Old 09-07-2011, 10:24 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2010
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Default 118 500 Woes

Ian

Didn't see your message before I posted my own regarding my experience of being incorrectly charged - sorry. I got BT to agree to reverse the 50 I was incorrectly charged today. The problem, I think, stems from the similarity in the 18185.co.uk prefix number (18185) and 118500, so those of us using the override provider (as recommended on MSE) can inadvertently be routed via 118 500 and charged a fortune.
I think you call BT explain what has happened and that would anyone call a premium rate number (IDE) for the length of time claimed? Mention ICSTIS and the fact that this appears a common issue and hope you get the same result I've got. Remains to be seen whether when the bill is issued I will get the charges reversed - but that's what I've been promised (interestingly BT would not agree to put this in writing, but 'made notes on the account' so that when I call back they will be able to action their promise).
This is bordering on a scam - wake up BT and do something about it!

Good luck.
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# 7
Heinz
Old 10-07-2011, 1:49 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Essex
Posts: 10,917
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ICSTIS no longer exists. Phonepayplus took over from them but whether it was just a change of name or not, I'm not sure.

In any case, they only deal with 0871/2/3 and 09 numbers AFAIAA.
Much of the advice on residential telephony I have given over the past 9 years or so is now gradually being overtaken by changes in the retail market. Hence, I have now deleted links to my previous 'pearls of wisdom'. I sincerely hope they helped save some of you money.
I will continue to help with Orchid programming whenever possible.
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# 8
iniltous
Old 10-07-2011, 4:58 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmtney54 View Post
Ian

Didn't see your message before I posted my own regarding my experience of being incorrectly charged - sorry. I got BT to agree to reverse the 50 I was incorrectly charged today. The problem, I think, stems from the similarity in the 18185.co.uk prefix number (18185) and 118500, so those of us using the override provider (as recommended on MSE) can inadvertently be routed via 118 500 and charged a fortune.
I think you call BT explain what has happened and that would anyone call a premium rate number (IDE) for the length of time claimed? Mention ICSTIS and the fact that this appears a common issue and hope you get the same result I've got. Remains to be seen whether when the bill is issued I will get the charges reversed - but that's what I've been promised (interestingly BT would not agree to put this in writing, but 'made notes on the account' so that when I call back they will be able to action their promise).
This is bordering on a scam - wake up BT and do something about it!

Good luck.
This seems a bit odd, all directory services start 118 (***) this was a OFTEL/OFCOM change to the directory enquiry service, if someone in error calls 118*** thinking they have called 18185 then proceed to have the call connected at the directory service providers rate is a BT scam how ???, its obviously unfortunate if someone makes this mistake, but its a mistake on that persons part, not a scam, and any refund would be down to the directory companys good will.
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# 9
YoungNick
Old 10-07-2011, 7:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iniltous View Post
if someone in error calls 118*** thinking they have called 18185 is a ... scam how ???
(Almost) all 118XXX numbers are a scam. They make it difficult to find out the cost. If Ofcom really cared about the 'citizen-consumer', it would require a (free) announcement on the lines 'If you don't hang up now, this call will cost you 1.50 a minute while someone asks you to spell the name and address you want. Do you really want to go on? Can't you, or a relative or friend, look up the number you want for free on the internet?'
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# 10
macman
Old 08-09-2011, 4:59 PM
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Posts: 35,628
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Spam reported.
No free lunch, and no free laptop
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