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MSE News: Phone charge shake-up will cut bills, Ofcom says

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  • irrelevant
    irrelevant Posts: 257 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
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    As all 08 numbers ultimately end at a normal phone number, why can't Ofcom just compel all advertising for an 08 number to give an equivalent 01, 02 or 03 number as well and let the customer decide which number to use and decide for himself whether he wants to be ripped off or not?

    This is not necessarily the case. I have several 03 numbers here that I use as contact numbers online. All of which are delivered to me via VoIP and an asterisk box, as is an ex-BT 01 number that I ported across. I could get 08x numbers delivered the same way if I wanted any. There is no underlying landline number.

    I do have a physical landline, but it's really only used to facilitate the internet connection and it's generally ignored.
  • DonnyDave
    DonnyDave Posts: 1,579 Forumite
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    amiehall wrote: »
    These 03 numbers that are supposedly better than 08 are excluded from my home phone call package. 0800, 0845 and 0870 are included. They're also not included from my mobile and they don't often have a true "geographic" alternative. So yeah, I'm not that enthusiastic about the "benefits" of 03 numbers.
    It was the case that in the early days of 03 numbers some providers charged them above the price of a geographic call (and billed them outside of any package that may otherwise apply). But that was over five years ago.

    The main landline and mobile providers are known to toe the line, so if both your landline provider and your mobile provider don't do this then they are atypical.

    The fair telecoms campaign will be interested to hear of any provider which bills 03 calls above that of 01/02 calls on any tariff or package. In such a case we would press Ofcom to bring the provider in question into compliance.
  • DonnyDave
    DonnyDave Posts: 1,579 Forumite
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    zerog wrote: »
    So now like Ofgem they are going to force a "standing charge" on ALL phone calls? Grrr :mad:
    At present, the Access Charge and the Service Charge are effectively bundled together.

    It is not clear how much the receiving party benefits (what is to be known as the Service Charge) and how much the caller's provider adds on (which is to be known as the Access Charge).

    The Service Charge is common to any 084, 087 or 09 number. The Access Charge will be the same for across numbers for any particular telephone service.

    So each phone user will have one Access Charge for 084, 087 and 09 numbers.

    Thus by knowing the common Access Charge and the Service Charge for the number that is to be called, the total call-cost can be arrived at.

    zerog wrote: »
    Why can't there just be 3 rates per minute for all numbers - free, cheap (01,02,03,0845,0870) and expensive (0844,0871), and separate charges only for proper premium numbers (09) and international calls.
    Because there is now a free market in telecommunications and retail call providers are entitled to set their prices as they see fit, just as any other retailer does.
  • Heinz
    Heinz Posts: 11,191 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker Car Insurance Carver!
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    DonnyDave wrote: »
    At present, the Access Charge and the Service Charge are effectively bundled together.

    It is not clear how much the receiving party benefits (what is to be known as the Service Charge) and how much the caller's provider adds on (which is to be known as the Access Charge).

    The Service Charge is common to any 084, 087 or 09 number. The Access Charge will be the same for across numbers for any particular telephone service.

    So each phone user will have one Access Charge for 084, 087 and 09 numbers.

    Thus by knowing the common Access Charge and the Service Charge for the number that is to be called, the total call-cost can be arrived at.
    And, for Joe Public, that will still be a complete mystery.
    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.
  • DonnyDave
    DonnyDave Posts: 1,579 Forumite
    edited 17 April 2013 at 12:24PM
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    Heinz wrote: »
    And, for Joe Public, that will still be a complete mystery.
    The point is that call providers set their rates just as any retailer does.

    With 084 / 087 and 09 numbers there is the added element of the Service Charge, or benefit to the called party (known as the Service Provider). Because, in effect, Service Providers impose a charge which they add on to the caller's phone provider charge, it is necessary to quote the two prices separately.
  • DaveAA
    DaveAA Posts: 87 Forumite
    edited 21 August 2013 at 9:18AM
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    zerog wrote: »
    So now like Ofgem they are going to force a "standing charge" on ALL phone calls? Grrr
    The charge has always been there when calling 084, 087 and 09 numbers, it just hasn't been openly declared. Indeed, many organisations have spent the last two decades denying it exists. 084, 087 and 09 numbers all provide revenue share. The mechanism is the same for each, they just vary by the amount of revenue share you pay within the total call price (084: up to 7p/min; 087: up to 13p/min; 09: more than 20p/min).

    If you ring a number beginning e.g. 0844 477 then you currently pay a 5p/min service charge whether you call from a mobile or landline. This "service charge" is then passed on from your phone provider to the phone provider of the called party. In turn they may share some of it with the business you are calling, as a "revenue share" cashback, or they may discount the price the business pays for phone service. This service charge is currently hidden in the total call price. In future it will have to be declared whenever the phone number is advertised.

    Your phone company currently also adds their "access charge" to the price of the call. This can be anything from zero to 10p/min from landlines and from 20p to 40p/min from mobiles. This charge is also currently hidden in the total call price.

    So, currently, neither party discloses their "cut". Your landline provider merely tells you that calls to this number cost e.g. 12p/min, and your mobile provider tells you that calls to this number cost e.g. 40p/min. The business you are calling currently adds a disclaimer that says something like "calls from a BT landline cost 5p/min; other providers may charge more". This is completely unhelpful. No wonder consumers are confused!

    In future, the business you are calling will tell you the call price includes a 5p/min service charge and advise that your phone company will add an access charge. Additionally, your phone company will publish a single access charge that applies to all 084, 087 and 09 numbers.

    In the case of calls from mobiles, the access charge will likely be set at a slightly lower level than is levied today. Mobile operators currently charge the same amount per minute for all 0844 calls irrespective of the level of service charge actually involved. You're probably currently paying 35p/min or more for all calls to 0844 and 0871 numbers irrespective of the level of service charge from 1p/min to 10p/min involved.

    zerog wrote: »
    Why can't there just be 3 rates per minute for all numbers - free, cheap (01,02,03,0845,0870) and expensive (0844,0871), and separate charges only for proper premium numbers (09) and international calls.

    080 numbers are currently free only from landlines. Next year, 080 numbers will also be free when called from mobiles.

    The new regime will continue to have 03 numbers charged exactly the same as 01 and 02 numbers, inclusive in call plans, and the only number range with such a link.

    The link with "local" and "national" pricing for 0845 and 0870 numbers was severed in 2005. Having 0845/0870 as "cheap" and 0844/0871 as "expensive" has confused consumers. Many businesses have also exploited this confusion. Ofcom are finally sorting it out.

    084, 087 and 09 are confirmed as all being revenue share numbers. It is proposed the revenue share service charge will be capped at 7p/min for 084 numbers and 13p/min for 087 numbers and brought out into the open. For the first time ever, it will be clear how much your bank or energy company are imposing as extra charges on the call price.

    For the first time, you'll also be able to see how much your phone company adds to the price, and especially see the excessive markup added by mobile phone companies. It will also make it easy to compare the access charge levied by different phone providers: Company A: 5p/min; Company B: 12p/min. Mobile Phone Company C: 20p/min; Mobile Phone Company D: 35p/min.

    0845 and 0870 have been an anomoly since their link with local and national pricing was severed in 2005. It may seem a disadvantage that 0845 and 0870 will soon align with how 0844 and 0871 currently work, but in reality many users of these numbers will not be able to justify imposing a service charge on callers and will instead move to the 0345 and 0370 number ranges. The Consumer Rights Directive will force many such businesses to make this change as it will become illegal to use 084, 087 and 09 numbers for customer service and other such helplines by June 2014.

    While you might think that 09 numbers are "proper Premium Numbers", 0844 and 0871 numbers have used the exact same revenue share mechanism, albeit at a lower pence per minute rate, since 2000 (along with 0843/0872 since 2007). Now all 084 and 087 numbers will follow this scheme.

    The end result will be:
    Free - 080.
    Geographic rate - 01, 02, 03.
    Revenue share (three general levels) - 084, 087, 09.
    Revenue share numbers with higher levels of service charge come under specific PRS regulation. These are often simply referred to as "premium rate numbers". In reality 084 numbers are also "premium rate". The service charge is the "premium".

    You've always paid that service charge. The called party has never declared it. Your phone company has hidden it in the total call price. That obfuscation will end soon.
    Businesses using 084, 087 or 09 numbers will soon need to display details of the inbuilt Service Charge under Ofcom's "unbundled tariffs" plans.

    Businesses using 084, 087 or 09 numbers for customer service, complaints, renewals, etc, will need to swap to an 01, 02, 03 or 080 number before the Consumer Rights Directive comes into effect June 2014.
  • DaveAA
    DaveAA Posts: 87 Forumite
    edited 21 April 2013 at 10:53AM
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    -- content merged with another post --
    Businesses using 084, 087 or 09 numbers will soon need to display details of the inbuilt Service Charge under Ofcom's "unbundled tariffs" plans.

    Businesses using 084, 087 or 09 numbers for customer service, complaints, renewals, etc, will need to swap to an 01, 02, 03 or 080 number before the Consumer Rights Directive comes into effect June 2014.
  • DaveAA
    DaveAA Posts: 87 Forumite
    edited 22 April 2013 at 4:55PM
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    amiehall wrote: »
    These 03 numbers that are supposedly better than 08 are excluded from my home phone call package.
    Ofcom rules dictate that 03 numbers MUST be inclusive. There are no known exceptions.

    amiehall wrote: »
    0800, 0845 and 0870 are included. They're also not included from my mobile and they don't often have a true "geographic" alternative. So yeah, I'm not that enthusiastic about the "benefits" of 03 numbers.
    0800 are not "included" in landline call packages. They are just "free". They will also be free from mobiles soon enough.
    0845 and 0870 will stop being inclusive from landlines. However, many users of those numbers will move to 0345 and 0370 numbers. 03 numbers are inclusive from mobiles as well as from landlines. This is a big advantage for mobile users.

    There is no need for 03 numbers to have a geographic alternative. They MUST always be charged exactly the same as geographic numbers.

    As all 08 numbers ultimately end at a normal phone number, why can't Ofcom just compel all advertising for an 08 number to give an equivalent 01, 02 or 03 number as well and let the customer decide which number to use and decide for himself whether he wants to be ripped off or not?
    The Consumer Rights Directive will go further. It will compel many businesses to SCRAP their 084, 087 or 09 number and move to 01, 02 or 03.

    The 037 range is reserved for migration from 087. The 034 range is reserved for migration from 084. This was set up more than five years ago, but not many businesses have made the change so far.
    Businesses using 084, 087 or 09 numbers will soon need to display details of the inbuilt Service Charge under Ofcom's "unbundled tariffs" plans.

    Businesses using 084, 087 or 09 numbers for customer service, complaints, renewals, etc, will need to swap to an 01, 02, 03 or 080 number before the Consumer Rights Directive comes into effect June 2014.
  • woodenman
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    Something I discovered a little while ago for calling the non-geographic numbers is a little app called WeQ4U.

    It's big selling point is that you can 'hang up' when put on hold and the app will call you back when someone picks up, but the other bonus is that all calls to 08 numbers are treated as though they are in your included minutes, so effectively free if you are on a contract and don't use all yours up each month
  • md0
    md0 Posts: 1 Newbie
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    Hi I have been charged circa £19 for having to call indesit due to them sending me texts with incorrect delivery dates on numerous occasions I have emailed asking to be reimbursed but have been offered cleaning products instead! Is there anyone I can now refer my complaint to and also their extremely poor customer service - thanks
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