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  • FIRST POST
    • Ian011
    • By Ian011 15th Nov 15, 12:30 PM
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    Ian011
    Directory Enquiries and Call Connection Services explained. Don't get caught out.
    • #1
    • 15th Nov 15, 12:30 PM
    Directory Enquiries and Call Connection Services explained. Don't get caught out. 15th Nov 15 at 12:30 PM
    There are many ways of finding telephone numbers for businesses and organisations. Make sure you're not tricked into unnecessarily parting with your cash in the process.



    Phone book

    If you're looking for a telephone number for a person or a business, the first place to look is the BT Phone Book, Yellow Pages or other printed directory such as Thomson Local. These offer the best method of finding the correct number - but will be useful only if you need a number that is local to wherever you are.

    For numbers that are further afield, most people will turn to either Directory Enquiries or to the Internet. Both are mired with danger and the risk of spending considerable sums of money. Don't be caught out!


    Directory Enquiries

    Calls to 118 numbers incur an Access Charge paid to the benefit of the caller's landline or mobile provider to connect and convey the call and a Service Charge paid to the benefit of the Directory Enquiries service to look up the number.

    The Access Charge can be up to 12p per minute from landlines or up to 45p per minute from mobiles.

    The Service Charge may be only a few pence per minute or it could be anywhere up to '£5.74 per call plus £2.99 per minute' or up to '£6.98 per call plus £3.49 per minute'. The service must declare the Service Charge wherever their number is advertised or promoted.

    Once they have found the number for you, it is best to hang up and dial the number yourself.

    Most Directory Enquiries services will offer to put you through. Not all of them make clear that if you stay on the line and let them connect you, then you will continue paying both the Access Charge and the Service Charge for the entire duration of the call.

    The cost of calling the most expensive DQ services from the most expensive landline and mobile providers is shown in the links.

    http://giffgaff.screet.co.uk/call/?n=1200t57400t29900f&via=landline
    http://giffgaff.screet.co.uk/call/?n=4500t57400t29900f&via=mobile

    http://giffgaff.screet.co.uk/call/?n=1200t69800t34900f&via=landline
    http://giffgaff.screet.co.uk/call/?n=4500t69800t34900f&via=mobile

    Most of the numbers you want to call would otherwise be inclusive in your allowance (01, 02, 03) or free (080). Hang up and dial the number yourself.


    Internet

    Rather than paying a Directory Enquiries service to look up the number, many people turn to the internet for a solution.

    Never use a number displayed directly in Google's search results. Always click through to the official website of the organisation you want to contact and take the number from their official contact page.

    Numbers shown directly in Google's search results may, at best, be for the wrong department or out of date (especially noting that most 084 and 087 numbers have been changed to cheaper 03 numbers), or, at worst, be part of a scam advertised by a third-party.


    Directories on the Internet

    All of the traditional paper-based directories, such as BT, Yellow Pages or Thomson, also have an internet presence. These sites will give you the official number for the business or organisation you're after.

    There are also very many niche or specialised directories covering specific types of business or specific areas of the country. These tend to be less accurate.

    In recent years another type of website has emerged. These are designed solely to part you from your money.


    Call Connection Services / Information, Connection and Sign-posting Services (ICSS)

    At first glance, these sites look like a directory of well-known businesses and organisations and they prominently feature a telephone number to call.

    Unlike a standard directory, these sites feature many paragraphs of text describing each listed business. This tactic ensures these pages rank highly in Google search results.

    Some of these pages may feature company logos or other information that may give an impression to the casual reader that this is the official site or some sort of 'approved' page posted on behalf of the business. Several of these sites have been censured by ASA for this.

    The telephone number may be repeated multiple times on the page, either separately or within the long passages of text. If there is a disclaimer, it may be buried at the very end of the page, a long way from the displayed phone number. Likewise, call charges may not feature prominently.

    The telephone number will almost always start 084 or 087 and will NOT be the official number for the organisation you want to call. Calls to 084, 087 and 09 numbers incur a premium charge, now known as the Service Charge, paid to the benefit of the called party and their telecoms supplier.

    In most cases, the listed numbers have been set up or are otherwise owned by the call connection service. They pocket the Service Charge and forward the calls to the organisation you wanted to contact.

    To be clear, rather than promote the official number of the organisation you wanted to call, these services set up their own premium rate numbers which they benefit from and they simply forward the calls onwards to the official number. Callers pay a premium rate and the connection service pockets the Service Charge.

    These services have thousands of pages listing various government departments and major retailers. One or more of these connection services pops up on the first page of Google's search results for almost any well-known company you can think of. Some of these services also appear in the paid search and sponsored listings.

    ICSS numbers with a Service Charge of more than 7p per minute and using 087 and 09 numbers are now regulated by PhonepayPlus. Most of these services have since changed to 084 numbers and have a Service Charge of 7p per minute or less, and hence escape PhonepayPlus regulation.

    Calling these connection services can cost you considerably more than calling the official 01, 02, 03 or 080 number for the organisation you wanted to contact. The links below show the cost of calling 084 and 087 numbers from the most expensive landline and mobile providers.

    http://giffgaff.screet.co.uk/call/?n=1200f0t700t&via=landline
    http://giffgaff.screet.co.uk/call/?n=4500f0t700t&via=mobile

    http://giffgaff.screet.co.uk/call/?n=1200f0t1300t&via=landline
    http://giffgaff.screet.co.uk/call/?n=4500f0t1300t&via=mobile


    Summary of Main Points
    • When using Directory Enquiries services, do not accept their offer to 'put you through' as this will work out very expensive. Hang up and dial the number yourself.
    • Never use phone numbers shown directly on a Google search results page. These may be for the wrong department, out of date, or part of a scam. Always click through to the actual site.
    • Only use numbers found on official websites. Third party and unofficial websites may be out of date (especially noting that most 084 and 087 numbers have been changed to cheaper 03 numbers) or part of a scam.
    • Avoid using 'Call Connection Services' (CCS) and 'Information, Connection and Sign-posting Services' (ICSS). These services offer their own unofficial premium rate 084, 087 and 09 numbers purporting to connect you to various organisations. In every case you will be paying a lot more for the call than if you had called the official number for the organisation found elsewhere.
    Last edited by Ian011; 16-11-2015 at 6:30 PM.
Page 1
    • Ian011
    • By Ian011 31st May 16, 4:30 PM
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    Ian011
    • #2
    • 31st May 16, 4:30 PM
    • #2
    • 31st May 16, 4:30 PM
    The 'call connection service' scam mentioned above appears to becoming more prevalent. There are now dozens of websites promoting these 'fake' premium rate telephone numbers for thousands of organisations. Most victims of this scam are oblivious to what happened.

    Never call premium rate numbers starting 070, 084, 087 or 09 that were found directly in a Google search or on some third-party 'call connection service' website. They are more than likely not the official number and will cost far more to call than the 'real' number.

    In particular, calling 'contact numbers' that were promoted on a third-party website and which fall within any of the following number ranges are more than likely to make you a victim of this scam:

    0843 followed by 118, 168, 222, 308, 320, 455, 459, 504, 506, 507, 509, 515, 538, 557, 596, 658, 713, 770, 826, 850, 902, 903 or 922

    0844 followed by 043, 248, 306, 324, 335, 372, 375, 381, 385, 448, 453, 477, 496, 545, 561, 576, 696, 764, 770, 800, 826, 835, 844, 846, 850, 887 or 995

    0870 followed by 174 or 280

    0871 followed by 050, 246, 508, 574, 683, 871, 943, 953 or 989

    0872 followed by 110, 437, 494.

    Customer services, financial services, public services and healthcare services are no longer allowed to use numbers starting 084, 087 or 09. Most organisations have set up replacement numbers starting 01, 02, 03 or 080. Always look first for telephone numbers on the official website of whoever you intend calling. Numbers found elsewhere are likely to be out of date or part of a scam, especially so for premium rate numbers starting 070, 084, 087 or 09.
    Last edited by Ian011; 28-09-2016 at 3:29 PM.
    • Ian011
    • By Ian011 27th Jun 16, 4:30 PM
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    Ian011
    • #3
    • 27th Jun 16, 4:30 PM
    • #3
    • 27th Jun 16, 4:30 PM
    ICSS (see section 5 of the first post in this thread) provides expensive phone numbers for contacting companies and organisations in place of the cheap phone numbers provided by the organisation itself.

    Where the number starts 087 or 09 and has a Service Charge of more than 7p per minute, the service is defined as being a Controlled Premium Rate Service and is therefore regulated by PhonepayPlus.

    Where the number starts 084, 087 or 09 and has a Service Charge of 7p per minute or less, the service is NOT regulated by PhonepayPlus.

    Ofcom says there is no evidence to suggest consumer harm has arisen from this scam.

    http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/approval-phonepayplus-14th-code-of-practice/statement/

    http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/consultations/approval-phonepayplus-14th-code-of-practice/statement/Approval_of_PPP_Code_14_statement.pdf

    See paragraphs 3.31 and 3.33 to 3.37.

    The difficulty is that most victims of the scam may not realise that it was a third-party that benefitted from the generated revenue. They may simply blame the organisation they called for their excessive telephone bill.
    • Ian011
    • By Ian011 13th Aug 16, 11:32 PM
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    Ian011
    • #4
    • 13th Aug 16, 11:32 PM
    • #4
    • 13th Aug 16, 11:32 PM
    When the police are fooled into giving out a premium rate (0870) number belonging to a third-party 'call connection service', for victims of a scam to call, instead of the genuine (03) phone number, this must surely indicate that current regulation is inadequate.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/bungling-police-officer-doesnt-live-8625274

    The point is, the police did not get the 0870 number from the HMRC website, they got that fake number from a third-party premium rate 'call connection service' website.

    Government departments and public services use numbers starting 01, 02, 03 or 080. They do not use premium rate numbers starting 084, 087 or 09.
    • Ian011
    • By Ian011 17th Sep 16, 12:16 PM
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    Ian011
    • #5
    • 17th Sep 16, 12:16 PM
    • #5
    • 17th Sep 16, 12:16 PM
    ASA has censured several of these 'call connection service' websites for false advertising. These include:

    2012

    https://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2012/7/PRS-Directory-Services-Ltd/SHP_ADJ_172929.aspx


    2014

    https://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2014/7/Search-Me-Ltd/SHP_ADJ_261870.aspx


    2015

    https://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2015/1/CTN-Solutions-Ltd/SHP_ADJ_283265.aspx

    https://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2015/4/everycontactnumber,-d-,com/SHP_ADJ_288944.aspx

    https://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2015/7/Number-Directory-Ltd/SHP_ADJ_299859.aspx


    2016

    https://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2016/6/interact_uk,-d-,org,-d-,uk/SHP_ADJ_337725.aspx


    The fact there have been only six complaints in five years suggests that either:
    - callers are happy to pay premium rates to a third-party call-forwarding service rather than calling the much cheaper number advertised by the organisation they wanted to call, or
    - callers have no idea that it is a third-party that has ripped them off.

    My guess is that in almost all cases it is the latter situation.
    Last edited by Ian011; 08-10-2016 at 8:18 PM.
    • Ian011
    • By Ian011 28th Nov 16, 2:43 PM
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    Ian011
    • #6
    • 28th Nov 16, 2:43 PM
    • #6
    • 28th Nov 16, 2:43 PM
    Further ASA work has branded several sites "non-compliant".

    2015

    https://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Non-compliant-online-advertisers/Meridian-Consumer-Research-Private-Ltd-335955.aspx


    2016

    https://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Non-compliant-online-advertisers/CustomerServiceNumbers,-d-,org,-d-,uk-361010.aspx

    https://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Non-compliant-online-advertisers/Sky-Number-361666.aspx
    • Ian011
    • By Ian011 20th Mar 17, 7:00 PM
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    Ian011
    • #7
    • 20th Mar 17, 7:00 PM
    • #7
    • 20th Mar 17, 7:00 PM
    The premium rate 'call connection service' call-forwarding scam is covered on BBC TV here:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08jqcjt
    and archived here:
    http://www.fairtelecoms.org.uk/tv.html?wcGwGDp4wTs
    Last edited by Ian011; 21-03-2017 at 12:58 PM.
    • Ian011
    • By Ian011 21st Mar 17, 8:42 AM
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    Ian011
    • #8
    • 21st Mar 17, 8:42 AM
    • #8
    • 21st Mar 17, 8:42 AM
    When the police are fooled into giving out a premium rate (0870) number belonging to a third-party 'call connection service', for victims of a scam to call, instead of the genuine (03) phone number, this must surely indicate that current regulation is inadequate.

    http://www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk/news/15169300.Police_warn_about_phone_scam_in_South_!!! bria/

    The point is, the police did not get the 0870 number from the HMRC website, they got that fake number from a third-party premium rate 'call connection service' website.

    Government departments and public services use numbers starting 01, 02, 03 or 080. They do not use premium rate numbers starting 084, 087 or 09.
    • Ian011
    • By Ian011 10th Apr 17, 2:59 PM
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    Ian011
    • #9
    • 10th Apr 17, 2:59 PM
    • #9
    • 10th Apr 17, 2:59 PM
    PSA issues £645 000 penalty to one call connection service operator ...

    - http://psauthority.org.uk/news-and-events/news/2017/april/645-000-fine-issued-to-company-over-misleading-call-connection-numbers
    - http://psauthority.org.uk/for-business/adjudications/2017/4/dk-call-ltd-11679-track-2-a38e3b4f-de12-e711-b025-00155d050fe5
    - http://psauthority.org.uk/-/media/Files/PSA/For-Businesses/Our-role-in-the-industry/Tribunal-adjudications/2017/116798-DK-Call-Limited.ashx

    Several hundred others continue to operate.

    See also
    - http://www.tradingstandardsecrime.org.uk/645000-fine-issued-to-company-over-misleading-call-connection-numbers/
    - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08lfbym#playt=0h01m00s
    - http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/company-duped-people-calling-premium-10197392
    - http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/15218882.__645k_fine_handed_to_phone_company_after _customers_are_charged___3_60_a_minute_to_call_fir ms/
    Last edited by Ian011; 13-04-2017 at 4:04 PM.
    • Ian011
    • By Ian011 13th Apr 17, 3:54 PM
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    Ian011
    PSA offers some advice on avoiding calling scam numbers:
    http://psauthority.org.uk/blogs/2017/april/avoid-unexpected-charges-when-calling-customer-services-helplines

    You should be looking to call genuine 01, 02, 03 and 080 numbers. PSA mentions only 0300 and 0800.

    You should be avoiding calling premium 070, 084, 087 and 09 numbers. PSA mentions only 087 and 09.
    • rtho782
    • By rtho782 15th Apr 17, 10:11 AM
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    rtho782
    I'm so glad ofcom forced competition into directory enquiries. I love paying a much higher price than BT ever charged for "192". It's worked out really well, having so much choice has made things way less confusing.

    /sarcasm.
    Deposit Saved since 01/12/15: £13,000 / £15,000 House Bought!

    Debt Cleared since 01/12/15: £6,000 / £7,500
    • Ian011
    • By Ian011 25th Apr 17, 9:37 PM
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    Ian011
    Competition supposedly causes prices to fall as businesses compete for business. The reality is that companies charge as much as they think they can get away with and when one increases their prices, all of the other simply follow suit. This is seen in gas, electricity, telecoms and many other services.
    • rtho782
    • By rtho782 27th Apr 17, 12:29 PM
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    rtho782
    Competition supposedly causes prices to fall as businesses compete for business. The reality is that companies charge as much as they think they can get away with and when one increases their prices, all of the other simply follow suit. This is seen in gas, electricity, telecoms and many other services.
    Originally posted by Ian011
    Well, previously your call charge to 192 had to pay for the operator you spoke to and keeping the data up to date.

    Now, there are 123098230 providers, each running their own call centre for this, so duplicating costs, and massive advertising campaigns. Don't forget that BT didn't even really run 192 as a profit driver, whereas now companies obviously want maximum profit from it.

    Ofcom are idiots.
    Deposit Saved since 01/12/15: £13,000 / £15,000 House Bought!

    Debt Cleared since 01/12/15: £6,000 / £7,500
    • Ian011
    • By Ian011 27th Apr 17, 12:44 PM
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    Ian011
    The cheapest DQ providers remain unknown as they have no advertising budget. The most well-known DQ providers are among the most expensive with a large chunk of their revenue being ploughed back into advertising their service.

    There are hundreds of DQ providers using numbers starting 118. The range of services and their costs can be explored at
    - http://checkit.uboss.com/
    - https://www.telecom-tariffs.co.uk/dialdirq.htm
    Last edited by Ian011; 27-04-2017 at 12:48 PM.
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