'Loan Shark Hotline. HOORAH it's not a freephone.' blog discussion

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Martin's Blogs & Appearances & MoneySavingExpert in the News
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This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's blog. Please read the blog first, as this discussion follows it.


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  • 456789456789 Forumite
    2.3K Posts
    Yay for 0300 numbers - hopefully more companies will use them for those of us who have to use a mobile
  • bunking_offbunking_off Forumite
    1.3K Posts
    I'd personally say the world would be a much better place if Ofcom did something about forcing mobile operators not to charge for 0800 numbers. They have the power as, for example, the new 116xxx support lines for missing children, child abuse and emotional support are going to be free from mobiles as well. It's also worth noting that whereas mobile operators have to make payments to e.g. BT to deliver calls to geographic numbers (generally included in call packages), they actually get paid to send calls to 0800 numbers by the terminating operator.

    In the meantime I'd generally support your position on 0300, with one possibly small proviso. For calls from fixed at least, there's a tacit understanding between the telecoms operators and Ofcom that 0800 numbers are not only free of charge, but also that they don't appear on bills either. This is because if, for example, an abused child were to call 0800 1111 for Childline, it would be unfortunate if this were to be recorded on the abuser's bill. In saying this, I'm sure someone will respond and say "well they appear on my bill"...if such calls do, then your provider is breaking industry agreements.

    I'm not sure what the equivalent arrangements are for 0300 numbers. If by the 0300 number appearing on the bill (albeit at zero cost) e.g. a woman in debt to a loan shark were to have this flagged to their husband who wasn't aware of it (or vice versa!), it would be a bit unfortunate.
    I really must stop loafing and get back to work...
  • ChuffyChuffy Forumite
    1.3K Posts
    I fell foul of an 0300 number recently as I misunderstood that an 0300 isn't the same as an 0500 or 0800. I have a contract mobile and plenty of minutes and as such use saynoto0870 to make the most of my calls. I assumed an 0300 number was treated the same from a landline as other 0x00 numbers but got charged - if I'd used my mobile the call would have been free. The irony is I was calling Ofcom.

    It would help if saynoto0870 didn't list 0300 numbers in the freephone column.
    I agree with Martin and Bunking Off in that the answer to this is to make 0800 numbers free from mobiles. Customers making a claim for Pension Credit, JSA or Income Support have to ring an 0800 number, yet the majority of low income households rely solely on a PAYG mobile. Making these calls free would help relieve a financial burden at an already difficult time.
  • nzseries1nzseries1 Forumite
    2.2K Posts
    Agreed. LOVE 03 numbers. They are LONG overdue.
    You're spelling is effecting me so much. Im trying not to be phased by it but your all making me loose my mind on mass!! My head is loosing it's hair. I'm going to take myself off the electoral role like I should of done ages ago and move to the Caribean. I already brought my plane ticket, all be it a refundable 1.
  • tjfstjfs Forumite
    25 Posts
    I think they could have made it something else like 0345, 0300 looks like freephone but isn't (after all 0500 and 0800 are both free)

    A few years ago 0800 numbers were free from most mobiles, then the mobile providers got greedy. Perhaps it's time Ofcom told them to make 0800 free again?

    Tim
  • Gerry1Gerry1 Forumite
    6.3K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭
    Pedant's Corner: Although the 03 equivalent numbers are long overdue, it's not quite true that they always cost exactly the same as geographic (01 & 02) numbers.

    They do cost the same for the majority of BT network users because local and national calls are all charged at the same "UK Rate" on discounted tariffs such as Unlimited Weekends.

    However, some tariffs (e.g. BT's Light User scheme) still distinguish between 'Local' and 'National' calls and still charge them at different rates. 03 numbers translate to 01 or 02 numbers that could be anywhere, so it's not possible to charge the equivalent rate. Instead, an intermediate rate between Local and National is used, which means that 03 will be a bit more expensive if you're calling round the corner but a bit cheaper if you're calling the other end of the country. It's just swings and roundabouts.

    Doctors' surgeries, chemists, hospitals, job centres will normally be local calls for Low Users because they're unlikely to be very far away. But if they all changed to 03, vulnerable people might see their bills increase because they would have to pay the intermediate 03 rate rather than the local call rate.

    So 03 numbers are good news if they replace rip-off 084 / 087 numbers, but their widespread adoption in place of 01 / 02 numbers could slightly disadvantage some vulnerable users.
  • Why aren't these phonecall price scams stopped by all phone providers being forced by law to do what the great 18185.co.uk have always done?

    That is:
    Before your call connects, you are told: "3 pence per minute", or usually "zero pence per minute" in the case of 18185.

    If you hear "180 pence per minute" (good old BT!) you can just end the call before it starts - cost £0.

    Come on, Martin, sort them out!! :j :j :j :j
  • grumpyxgrumpyx Forumite
    7 Posts
    :mad:Telephone pricing should be clear and not needing a degree to understand the charges. BT is making 0845 and 0870 calls free at the weekend.... great...or is it? Is it just me or is there a trend for companies to now be using 0844 and 0871 numbers instead which are not free? I believe an 0844 number can cost up to 8.8p/minute from BT at the weekend.

    :mad:As many people pay for inclusive calls to 01 and 02 numbers, should there be a campaign to force companies who want to use these 08 numbers to also display the real 01 or 02 number?
    Grumpyx
  • colprimuscolprimus Forumite
    56 Posts
    tjfs wrote: »
    I think they could have made it something else like 0345, 0300 looks like freephone but isn't (after all 0500 and 0800 are both free)

    A few years ago 0800 numbers were free from most mobiles, then the mobile providers got greedy. Perhaps it's time Ofcom told them to make 0800 free again?

    Tim
    I'm not sure the mobile networks got 'greedy' when they started charging for 0800 numbers I think it was more to stop millions of people re-routing ALL their calls though less expensive companies eg one tel or telco (never mind phonecards) much like BT and 18185 today..it wasn't greed it was survival. You can register your mob no. with 18185 and re-route your calls to 08 numbers through 18185 with the 0208 access number included in your minutes
  • bunking_offbunking_off Forumite
    1.3K Posts
    Sorry colprimus, but disagree.

    Simple fact is that whereas for calls to geographic numbers mobile operators have to make an outpayment, for calls to freephone numbers they receive one (albeit probably not high enough to cover the full cost of routing the call). Yet they include geo numbers in call plans, but don't include 0800.

    You're right that there are some dial-through services on 0800. However it's a very minority use of 0800. If it really was an issue for the mobile operators, it would be reasonably trivial for them to either bar the numbers in question or to tariff those numbers alone at e.g. 40ppm.

    As things stand at present, it's downright profiteering by the mobile operators.
    I really must stop loafing and get back to work...
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