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Lowri Beck and 0845 number

edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Energy
38 replies 7.6K views
EachPennyEachPenny Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Energy
I was blessed this morning with a Lowri Beck 'sorry we missed you' meter reading card, although I was at home all the time and nobody knocked on the door.

I was surprised to see the invitation to call them on 0845 702 3461 to provide my meter readings, as I thought (perhaps wrongly) that the use of 0845 in circumstances like this had been banned.

A quick google later and I'm still not sure of the law, but I'm inclined to agree with the comments of Ian011 in this thread:-
http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5267388

And the issues raised about 0845 numbers here:- https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/phones/0870-say-no

The card states "The cost of calls to 0845 numbers may vary so please check with your provider for exact charges". It says nothing about the 'service charge' payable. Although the alternative of going to myreading.net is given, this is far less prominent than the 0845 number.

I don't understand why this company is asking me to call a chargeable 0845 number to give my meter readings, when I can contact my supplier for free. If they don't want to give their landline ('SayNoTo0870' list some 01942 alternatives) then why not have an 0345 number instead? I would be interested to know what percentage of the 0845 call cost Lowri Beck get.

I think this is something MSE should highlight. It is understandable asking customers to phone in meter readings or submit them online, but having 0845 numbers without giving equal or greater prominence to free alternatives to me seems unfair, especially for consumers who might not understand the cost implications of dialing an 0845 number.
"In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
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  • Andy_WSMAndy_WSM Forumite
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    The law changed on the 13th June 2014 making it illegal to only provide a chargeable contact number for a customer service line.

    Simple solution, don't call them - that's the approach I would take. Call your supplier instead.

  • edited 2 February 2018 at 7:15PM
    Ian011Ian011 Forumite
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    edited 2 February 2018 at 7:15PM
    EachPenny wrote: »
    I was surprised to see the invitation to call them on 0845 702 3461 to provide my meter readings, as I thought (perhaps wrongly) that the use of 0845 in circumstances like this had been banned.
    Usage of these numbers for that purpose has been banned. This took effect 13 June 2014. See http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/3134/regulation/41/made

    Breaches of the regulations can be reported to the Citizen's Advice national Consumer Helpline on 0345 404 0506 or via the report form on the Citizen's Advice website.
    EachPenny wrote: »
    The card states "The cost of calls to 0845 numbers may vary so please check with your provider for exact charges". It says nothing about the 'service charge' payable. Although the alternative of going to myreading.net is given, this is far less prominent than the 0845 number.
    The "charges may vary" form of wording was banned on 1 July 2015. Ofcom regulations now require the Service Charge to be stated along with a mention that the caller's phone provider will add their Access Charge.

    However, the more pressing issue is removal of the premium rate 0845 number and replacement with a "basic rate" number which complies with the consumer protection legislation.
    EachPenny wrote: »
    ...why not have an 0345 number instead?
    Moving to the exactly matching 0345 number would be the simplest solution. In 2007, Ofcom made the 034 and 037 number ranges available for migration from the matching 084 or 087 numbers.
    EachPenny wrote: »
    I would be interested to know what percentage of the 0845 call cost Lowri Beck get.
    On calls to the premium rate 0845 number, Lowri Beck and their telecoms provider share the Service Charge revenue between them. The caller's phone provider retains the Access Charge.
  • J_BJ_B Forumite
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    Andy_WSM wrote: »
    The law changed on the 13th June 2014 making it illegal to only provide a chargeable contact number for a customer service line.

    Slightly off topic, but does this law apply to businesses too?

    I just dealt with British Gas Business in Cardiff and they only had an 0845 number
  • EachPennyEachPenny Forumite
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    Andy_WSM wrote: »
    The law changed on the 13th June 2014 making it illegal to only provide a chargeable contact number for a customer service line.

    Simple solution, don't call them - that's the approach I would take. Call your supplier instead.
    Thanks for the info, I wasn't planning on calling them ;)

    I was just concerned that elderly/vulnerable people might get a card like this and simply not realise that calling the number costs money.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
  • EachPennyEachPenny Forumite
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    Ian011 wrote: »
    Breaches of the regulations can be reported to the Citizen's Advice national Consumer Helpline on 0345 404 0506 or via the report form on the Citizen's Advice website.

    Thanks Ian. I will report via the Citizen's Advice website - I'll also contact my supplier and ask why they are using this company without checking their processes.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
  • Andy_WSMAndy_WSM Forumite
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    J_B wrote: »
    Slightly off topic, but does this law apply to businesses too?

    I just dealt with British Gas Business in Cardiff and they only had an 0845 number

    From the legislation: Where a trader operates a telephone line for the purpose of consumers contacting the trader by telephone in relation to contracts entered into with the trader, a consumer contacting the trader must not be bound to pay more than the basic rate.

    If you are a customer of British Gas and were required to contact them about your business with them and that's the only number they provided then they have broken the law too.

    If however you contacted them about becoming a customer, for example, then that was your choice to dial the number.

  • edited 4 February 2018 at 12:30PM
    Ian011Ian011 Forumite
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    edited 4 February 2018 at 12:30PM
    J_B wrote: »
    Slightly off topic, but does this law apply to businesses too?
    I just dealt with British Gas Business in Cardiff and they only had an 0845 number
    The Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 apply only where the customer is a domestic consumer (i.e. a B2C transaction). They do not apply when the customer is a business (i.e. a B2B transaction).

    However, it is worth pointing out to BGB that their 0845 number causes callers to pay up to 62p per minute to contact them, just so they can earn up to about 5p per minute from calls.

    Most organisations have got rid of these expensive numbers. Swapping to the exactly matching 03 number takes 24~48 hours and these calls are simply included in the caller's allowances.
  • I am having great difficulty with Lowri Beck getting meter readings to my supplier. Here is a landline phone number 01942772060 this was given to me by my supplier. The phone number on their web site is an 0844.xxxxx
  • giraffe69giraffe69 Forumite
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    It is pretty easy with every supplier I've ever been with to put in readings online. Indeed the advantage of doing this is that the bills will be more accurate than estimated ones. No worries about 0845 or any other number then.
  • edited 2 April 2018 at 4:30PM
    pineapplepineapple Forumite
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    edited 2 April 2018 at 4:30PM
    giraffe69 wrote: »
    It is pretty easy with every supplier I've ever been with to put in readings online. Indeed the advantage of doing this is that the bills will be more accurate than estimated ones. No worries about 0845 or any other number then.
    Being signed up for readings online doesn't mean you won't get a call from Lowri Beck. Most suppliers require at least one reading per year from someone other than yourself. Many contract with the likes of Lowri Beck to do this. My own supplier expects them to make two visits. But I've had them phone for a reading - which in my case is pointless. Plus it's not a visit! I was once called the day after supplying my regular monthly online reading. The meter cupboard is outside and it was pouring with rain at the time. I was a bit short and they apologised for bothering me. I don't have an answerphone and I have blocked their number - so now if they want a reading, someone has to turn up. ;) The meter is outside so they don't need me to be there. This should be marked on their system but not sure it is.

    There appears to be an online contact for readings
    https://myreading.net/
    See previous discussion about contacting Lowri Beck
    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5267388
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