MSE News: Copycat website charging for free EHIC cards is blasted by ASA

edited 27 July 2017 at 5:56PM in Overseas Holidays & Travel Planning
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Former_MSE_Megan_FFormer_MSE_Megan_F Former MSE
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A company which charges £34.50 to 'process' free EHIC cards has been rapped for wrongly implying it was the official NHS site...
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'Copycat website charging for free EHIC cards is blasted by ASA'
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  • PollycatPollycat Forumite
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    Lordy! Lordy!

    I thought these copycat websites had been stopped.
  • jonesMUFCforeverjonesMUFCforever Forumite
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    After all the publicity about sites like this - they only prosper because people actually type in their card numbers and accept the charge!
  • edited 19 July 2017 at 11:59PM
    Ian011Ian011 Forumite
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    edited 19 July 2017 at 11:59PM
    In other news, there are still hundreds of "call connection service" scam websites offering a variety of premium rate 084, 087 or 09 numbers that simply "connect" you to the advertised government department, retailer, trader, bank, insurance company or phone company, etc.

    Although they simply charge a premium rate to forward calls onwards that would otherwise have been free-to-caller on 080 numbers or included in allowances on 01, 02 or 03 numbers, it seems the ASA receives close to zero complaints about these bogus and unnecessary services.
  • zagfleszagfles Forumite
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    Ian011 wrote: »
    In other news, there are still hundreds of "call connection service" scam websites offering a variety of premium rate 084, 087 or 09 numbers that simply "connect" you to the advertised government department, retailer, trader, bank, insurance company or phone company, etc.

    Although they simply charge a premium rate to forward calls onwards that would otherwise have been free-to-caller on 080 numbers or included in allowances on 01, 02 or 03 numbers, it seems the ASA receives close to zero complaints about these bogus and unnecessary services.
    Probably because the "victims" of these services never realise that they paid too much for their phone call.

    Far more concerning are adverts which state something like "calls cost 1p per minute plus your phone company's access charge".

    Sounds cheap? 1p per min plus what sounds like a nominal "access charge", maybe similar to a "connection charge" which a lot of phone companies used to use? Generally about 5p per call or so?

    WRONG! The access charge could be as much as 55p per minute!!

    So a 20 min call which the punter thinks will cost about 25p could in fact cost £11.20 :eek:

    About time the ASA stopped this misleading advertising. How about something like "calls cost xxp per minute from a BT landline, other providers may vary and calls from mobiles may cost considerably more". Much less misleading!
  • edited 20 July 2017 at 10:59AM
    zagfleszagfles Forumite
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    edited 20 July 2017 at 10:59AM
    After all the publicity about sites like this - they only prosper because people actually type in their card numbers and accept the charge!
    They prosper through misleading people. How many people do you think use these sites in the full knowledge that the EHIC is free and they really want the "value add" these services provide?

    You can laugh at them and call them stupid, but if they are misled into thinking they need to pay for an EHIC then the site is misleading by definition. Even if us "clever" people like to sneer at their "stupidity".
  • edited 20 July 2017 at 2:46PM
    Ian011Ian011 Forumite
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    edited 20 July 2017 at 2:46PM
    zagfles wrote: »
    Probably because the "victims" of these services never realise that they paid too much for their phone call.
    Either that, or they have realised they have spent a lot of money, but are unaware that it is a third-party scam that has pocketed the cash.
    zagfles wrote: »
    About time the ASA stopped this misleading advertising. How about something like "calls cost xxp per minute from a BT landline, other providers may vary and calls from mobiles may cost considerably more". Much less misleading!
    Absolutely not, because that conveys nothing about the call cost unless you have a BT landline. Less than 45% of calls made are made from a landline. Of those calls made from a landline, less than 40% are made from a BT landline.

    The whole point of the Access Charge plus Service Charge system is that the called party declares the part of the call charge they are responsible for and which is paid jointly to them and their telecoms provider. Separately the caller's phone provider declares the part of the call charge that they have set and which they retain.

    Phone companies have an obligation to show the Access Charge in their tariff lists with the same prominence (position and size) as the details for calls to landline and mobile numbers. The same Access Charge applies for calls to all 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers so you only need to look it up once.

    The split charge system has severely reigned in the cost of calling 09 and 118 numbers. Back in the days of "calls cost X from BT" there was a Directory Enquiries service that cost 40p per call from a BT landline. To look up the cost on your mobile meant looking through a three hundred page document to eventually find out they charged £5 per minute. That call is now 55p per minute Access Charge plus 40p per call Service Charge.
  • zagfleszagfles Forumite
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    Ian011 wrote: »
    Absolutely not, because that conveys nothing about the call cost unless you have a BT landline. Less than 45% of calls made are made from a landline. Of those calls made from a landline, less than 40% are made from a BT landline.
    It says it will be expensive from a mobile. Which it is. Rather than a misleading "1p per minute plus access charge" which will mean nothing to 99% of callers. They'll just see the 1p per min and expect it to be cheap.

    http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-3277024/Mobile-phone-customers-hit-80-price-hikes-premium-charges-clearer.html

    And even that's out of date, Vodafone is now 55p per min.
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