Looking for a provider which gives full details of unbilled calls

in Phones & TV
10 replies 1.5K views
Hi. This is my 1st post on MSE forums! If this post doesn't warrant a new thread please move it..

My family own a holiday home which is rented on a weekly basis. We had a payphone at first but scrapped that and instead take a deposit from guests to use the phoneline.
It's a BT line and we chose Onetel for calls because they provided online billing including full details of unbilled calls so we could see exactly what guests were using. However TalkTalk took over and stopped providing full details of unbilled calls so I have to remember to check it at the correct time every week to work out what to charge guests. And when I've spoken to TalkTalk about it they have been very unhelpful, forever promising this service was 'in the pipeline' and telling me there had been no calls one week when I knew there had been (I'd made the calls myself!). Anyway I'm not finding it very reliable or convenient so when the contract is up June 4th I want to switch to another provider. Does anyone have any suggestions?


My main requirements are:
  1. must provide immediate full details online about unbilled calls
  2. cheap line rental
  3. no contract (in case it gets taken over and I get the same problem again!)
  4. reasonable call rates.. but not terribly important as very few calls are actually made.
  5. btw I can't have an internet/cable/tv package as there's no coverage (the cottage is out in the sticks!)
If it weren't necesasary to dial a prefix 18185 would be ideal as their calls are cheap and full details are immediately available to view online. But I'd rather not rely on guests remembering dial a prefix..

Replies

  • ACDeagACDeag Forumite
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    My family own a holiday home which is rented on a weekly basis. We had a payphone at first but scrapped that and instead take a deposit from guests to use the phoneline.
    It's a BT line and we chose Onetel for calls because they provided online billing including full details of unbilled calls so we could see exactly what guests were using. However TalkTalk took over and stopped providing full details of unbilled calls so I have to remember to check it at the correct time every week to work out what to charge guests. And when I've spoken to TalkTalk about it they have been very unhelpful, forever promising this service was 'in the pipeline' and telling me there had been no calls one week when I knew there had been (I'd made the calls myself!). Anyway I'm not finding it very reliable or convenient so when the contract is up June 4th I want to switch to another provider. Does anyone have any suggestions?


    My main requirements are:
    1. must provide immediate full details online about unbilled calls
    2. cheap line rental
    3. no contract (in case it gets taken over and I get the same problem again!)
    4. reasonable call rates.. but not terribly important as very few calls are actually made.
    5. btw I can't have an internet/cable/tv package as there's no coverage (the cottage is out in the sticks!)
    If it weren't necesasary to dial a prefix 18185 would be ideal as their calls are cheap and full details are immediately available to view online. But I'd rather not rely on guests remembering dial a prefix..

    Answers

    1. BT do a Recent Usage which shows calls about 24 hours after they have been made.
    2. Sorry no luck there with BT
    3. Doubt anyone will offer you that, BT will make you take a 12 month contract

    You could always got for the BT Free Anytime calls, then bar international calls, operator calls and premium calls. You would then only need to charge guests for mobiles and 08 type calls (0845/0870 will be included). May cost you more but takes the risks away.
  • bargain_baggerbargain_bagger Forumite
    96 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    ACDeag wrote: »
    3. Doubt anyone will offer you that, BT will make you take a 12 month contract

    Really? According to Which there are a few that don't require a long contract. (sorry, it won't let me provide the link cos i'm a new user)
    e.g. Utility Warehouse. Post Office. Tesco Telecoms. BT...

    I phoned the P.O. today to check their deal and they said there's no contract and they do provide details of unbilled calls... but because of my crap experience with TalkTalk agents I thought I'd ask on here to see if anyone has experience of any of these rather than relying on a someone's sales pitch...
  • ACDeagACDeag Forumite
    740 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Combo Breaker
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    Really? According to Which there are a few that don't require a long contract. (sorry, it won't let me provide the link cos i'm a new user)
    e.g. Utility Warehouse. Post Office. Tesco Telecoms. BT...

    I phoned the P.O. today to check their deal and they said there's no contract and they do provide details of unbilled calls... but because of my crap experience with TalkTalk agents I thought I'd ask on here to see if anyone has experience of any of these rather than relying on a someone's sales pitch...

    Yes there are a few, but not sure any will give you recent call usage

  • If it weren't necesasary to dial a prefix 18185 would be ideal as their calls are cheap and full details are immediately available to view online. But I'd rather not rely on guests remembering dial a prefix..

    A Commtel Phone Guard would suit your needs. Program it to accept only calls beginning 18185. If guests forget to do this they don't get to make any calls.
  • bargain_baggerbargain_bagger Forumite
    96 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    A Commtel Phone Guard would suit your needs. Program it to accept only calls beginning 18185. If guests forget to do this they don't get to make any calls.

    Thanks. Never heard of it but I'll look into it. Does it prevent direct 999 calls as well? That wouldn't be ideal in an emergency situation when people are highly-stressed or whatever. Although I suppose I would stick the prefix on the handsets so people can see it every time they make a call. I use 18185 at home and the prefix I have been given to dial is actually 11 digits long.

  • Thanks. Never heard of it but I'll look into it. Does it prevent direct 999 calls as well?

    999 calls are never blocked.
  • bargain_baggerbargain_bagger Forumite
    96 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    TalkTalk are useless. They are still giving me different answers about the unbilled calls thing so I given up on them.

    I also discovered the Post Office gave me wrong information before - apparently they can't give me e-billing unless I also take their broadband.

    So... I've just signed up to BT who say once I've got my account number I can sign up to online billing and adjust my account settings so I can view full details of unbilled calls 24 hours after they are made. This will be fine as long as it works! I've had to sign up to 12 months though. I'm not sure why as Which says you don't have to...?
    So fingers crossed..
    If they mess up too, I will look into getting a phone guard and use 18185.
  • edited 8 June 2009 at 4:53PM
    HeinzHeinz Forumite
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    edited 8 June 2009 at 4:53PM
    Thanks. Never heard of it but I'll look into it. Does it prevent direct 999 calls as well? That wouldn't be ideal in an emergency situation when people are highly-stressed or whatever.
    Sorry, I missed this thread.

    Yes, the Commtel Phone Guard is an excellent piece of kit (999 calls are always passed).

    I picked mine up on ebay for less than £5 but you have to bide your time (at the time I inserted the above link, £9.99 was the cheapest available but, if you wait a few days and click it again, you're likely to see some at more reasonable prices).
    Time has moved on (much quicker than it used to - or so it seems at my age) and my previous advice on residential telephony has been or 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.
  • Looking at the requirements of the original post and having a similar problem, I found the MMTel adaptor suited me fine. 18185 for everything and 121 to hop back to BT if required. I read about it on this site but could see little feedback so took a chance. Tried emailing them but it was quicker to just call them. Apart from that - just fine.
  • Paul_VarjakPaul_Varjak Forumite
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    Get an Orchid programmer. You can program it to insert the 18185 prefix (so guests won't have to remember to dial 18185)

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?t=1477019
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