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  • FIRST POST
    • Ian011
    • By Ian011 15th Nov 15, 12:30 PM
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    Ian011
    Directory Enquiries and Call Connection Services explained. Don't get caught out.
    • #1
    • 15th Nov 15, 12:30 PM
    Directory Enquiries and Call Connection Services explained. Don't get caught out. 15th Nov 15 at 12:30 PM
    There are many ways of finding telephone numbers for businesses and organisations. Make sure you're not tricked into unnecessarily parting with your cash in the process.



    Phone book

    If you're looking for a telephone number for a person or a business, the first place to look is the BT Phone Book, Yellow Pages or other printed directory such as Thomson Local. These offer the best method of finding the correct number - but will be useful only if you need a number that is local to wherever you are.

    For numbers that are further afield, most people will turn to either Directory Enquiries or to the Internet. Both are mired with danger and the risk of spending considerable sums of money. Don't be caught out!


    Directory Enquiries

    Calls to 118 numbers incur an Access Charge paid to the benefit of the caller's landline or mobile provider to connect and convey the call and a Service Charge paid to the benefit of the Directory Enquiries service to look up the number.

    The Access Charge can be up to 12p per minute from landlines or up to 45p per minute from mobiles.

    The Service Charge may be only a few pence per minute or it could be anywhere up to '5.74 per call plus 2.99 per minute' or up to '6.98 per call plus 3.49 per minute'. The service must declare the Service Charge wherever their number is advertised or promoted.

    Once they have found the number for you, it is best to hang up and dial the number yourself.

    Most Directory Enquiries services will offer to put you through. Not all of them make clear that if you stay on the line and let them connect you, then you will continue paying both the Access Charge and the Service Charge for the entire duration of the call.

    The cost of calling the most expensive DQ services from the most expensive landline and mobile providers is shown in the links.

    http://giffgaff.screet.co.uk/call/?n=1200t57400t29900f&via=landline
    http://giffgaff.screet.co.uk/call/?n=4500t57400t29900f&via=mobile

    http://giffgaff.screet.co.uk/call/?n=1200t69800t34900f&via=landline
    http://giffgaff.screet.co.uk/call/?n=4500t69800t34900f&via=mobile

    Most of the numbers you want to call would otherwise be inclusive in your allowance (01, 02, 03) or free (080). Hang up and dial the number yourself.


    Internet

    Rather than paying a Directory Enquiries service to look up the number, many people turn to the internet for a solution.

    Never use a number displayed directly in Google's search results. Always click through to the official website of the organisation you want to contact and take the number from their official contact page.

    Numbers shown directly in Google's search results may, at best, be for the wrong department or out of date (especially noting that most 084 and 087 numbers have been changed to cheaper 03 numbers), or, at worst, be part of a scam advertised by a third-party.


    Directories on the Internet

    All of the traditional paper-based directories, such as BT, Yellow Pages or Thomson, also have an internet presence. These sites will give you the official number for the business or organisation you're after.

    There are also very many niche or specialised directories covering specific types of business or specific areas of the country. These tend to be less accurate.

    In recent years another type of website has emerged. These are designed solely to part you from your money.


    Call Connection Services / Information, Connection and Sign-posting Services (ICSS)

    At first glance, these sites look like a directory of well-known businesses and organisations and they prominently feature a telephone number to call.

    Unlike a standard directory, these sites feature many paragraphs of text describing each listed business. This tactic ensures these pages rank highly in Google search results.

    Some of these pages may feature company logos or other information that may give an impression to the casual reader that this is the official site or some sort of 'approved' page posted on behalf of the business. Several of these sites have been censured by ASA for this.

    The telephone number may be repeated multiple times on the page, either separately or within the long passages of text. If there is a disclaimer, it may be buried at the very end of the page, a long way from the displayed phone number. Likewise, call charges may not feature prominently.

    The telephone number will almost always start 084 or 087 and will NOT be the official number for the organisation you want to call. Calls to 084, 087 and 09 numbers incur a premium charge, now known as the Service Charge, paid to the benefit of the called party and their telecoms supplier.

    In most cases, the listed numbers have been set up or are otherwise owned by the call connection service. They pocket the Service Charge and forward the calls to the organisation you wanted to contact.

    To be clear, rather than promote the official number of the organisation you wanted to call, these services set up their own premium rate numbers which they benefit from and they simply forward the calls onwards to the official number. Callers pay a premium rate and the connection service pockets the Service Charge.

    These services have thousands of pages listing various government departments and major retailers. One or more of these connection services pops up on the first page of Google's search results for almost any well-known company you can think of. Some of these services also appear in the paid search and sponsored listings.

    ICSS numbers with a Service Charge of more than 7p per minute and using 087 and 09 numbers are now regulated by PhonepayPlus. Most of these services have since changed to 084 numbers and have a Service Charge of 7p per minute or less, and hence escape PhonepayPlus regulation.

    Calling these connection services can cost you considerably more than calling the official 01, 02, 03 or 080 number for the organisation you wanted to contact. The links below show the cost of calling 084 and 087 numbers from the most expensive landline and mobile providers.

    http://giffgaff.screet.co.uk/call/?n=1200f0t700t&via=landline
    http://giffgaff.screet.co.uk/call/?n=4500f0t700t&via=mobile

    http://giffgaff.screet.co.uk/call/?n=1200f0t1300t&via=landline
    http://giffgaff.screet.co.uk/call/?n=4500f0t1300t&via=mobile


    Summary of Main Points
    • When using Directory Enquiries services, do not accept their offer to 'put you through' as this will work out very expensive. Hang up and dial the number yourself.
    • Never use phone numbers shown directly on a Google search results page. These may be for the wrong department, out of date, or part of a scam. Always click through to the actual site.
    • Only use numbers found on official websites. Third party and unofficial websites may be out of date (especially noting that most 084 and 087 numbers have been changed to cheaper 03 numbers) or part of a scam.
    • Avoid using 'Call Connection Services' (CCS) and 'Information, Connection and Sign-posting Services' (ICSS). These services offer their own unofficial premium rate 084, 087 and 09 numbers purporting to connect you to various organisations. In every case you will be paying a lot more for the call than if you had called the official number for the organisation found elsewhere.
    Last edited by Ian011; 16-11-2015 at 6:30 PM.
Page 2
    • Ian011
    • By Ian011 10th Mar 18, 12:40 PM
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    Ian011
    Further ASA work has branded several sites "non-compliant".

    2018

    https://www.asa.org.uk/non-compliant/gfy-marketing-ltd.html

    https://www.asa.org.uk/non-compliant/quick-phone-number.html

    https://www.asa.org.uk/non-compliant/number-direct.html
    • Ian011
    • By Ian011 20th Apr 18, 4:27 PM
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    Ian011
    Both ActionFraud and the Insolvency Service issued a bulletin about fake premium rate 084 phone numbers for contacting the Insolvency Service:
    - https://www.gov.uk/government/news/dont-be-a-victim-of-insolvency-service-telephony-scam
    - https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/news/premium-rate-insolvency-service-telephony-scam-apr18
    - https://www.lovemoney.com/news/73041/phone-scam-insolvency-service-helplinecall-uk-debt
    Last edited by Ian011; 20-04-2018 at 4:34 PM.
    • Ian011
    • By Ian011 20th Apr 18, 4:29 PM
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    Ian011
    Further ASA work has branded several sites "non-compliant".

    2018

    https://www.asa.org.uk/non-compliant/connect-caller-llp.html

    https://www.asa.org.uk/non-compliant/daniel-land.html

    https://www.asa.org.uk/non-compliant/d-smith.html
    • poppasmurf_bewdley
    • By poppasmurf_bewdley 20th Apr 18, 4:33 PM
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    poppasmurf_bewdley
    I bet that's three companies quaking in their boots now that's been done.

    Why don't the ASA just have the power to order the websites removed?
    "There are not enough superlatives in the English language to describe a 'Princess Coronation' locomotive in full cry. We shall never see their like again". O S Nock
    • Ian011
    • By Ian011 20th Apr 18, 4:36 PM
    • 2,026 Posts
    • 1,184 Thanks
    Ian011
    Why don't the ASA just have the power to order the websites removed?
    Originally posted by poppasmurf_bewdley
    It's someone else's job. Cases can be referred onward to Trading Standards, another regulator such as the Phone-paid Services Authority, or to ActionFraud or Serious Fraud Office, all depending on exactly what the issue is.
    • poppasmurf_bewdley
    • By poppasmurf_bewdley 20th Apr 18, 4:44 PM
    • 5,208 Posts
    • 5,328 Thanks
    poppasmurf_bewdley
    It's someone else's job. Cases can be referred onward to Trading Standards, another regulator such as the Phone-paid Services Authority, or to ActionFraud or Serious Fraud Office, all depending on exactly what the issue is.
    Originally posted by Ian011
    But the ASA can order an advertisement that offends its guidelines be withdrawn, amended, re-designed or whatever, and frequently does, but it can't do the same for websites. Still, it makes more jobs for others. It's what makes the civil service go round.
    "There are not enough superlatives in the English language to describe a 'Princess Coronation' locomotive in full cry. We shall never see their like again". O S Nock
    • Ian011
    • By Ian011 26th Apr 18, 10:35 AM
    • 2,026 Posts
    • 1,184 Thanks
    Ian011
    The Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) has published research by the University of Nottingham showing just how easily people are fooled by the Call Connection Service scam:
    https://psauthority.org.uk/blogs/2018/april/call-connection-services-what-are-they-and-how-to-spot-them

    The research also hints at stricter regulation to come.
    • Ian011
    • By Ian011 18th Jun 18, 8:50 AM
    • 2,026 Posts
    • 1,184 Thanks
    Ian011
    Concerned at the huge increases in the Service Charge element of the call charges for calling some 118 numbers seen in the last few years, Ofcom proposes setting a cap of 3.10 per 90 seconds of a call.

    The Service Charge for calling 118118, for example, is currently, 8.98 per call plus 4.49 per minute (after the first 60 seconds), making a 90 second call cost 11.23 (plus, of course, the Access Charge levied by the caller's phone provider).

    Around 200 providers currently operate, but Ofcom found that most people simply call the most memorable number and do not shop around for cheaper services.

    See:
    https://www.ofcom.org.uk/consultations-and-statements/category-1/directory-enquiries-118-review

    Advice given elsewhere, to avoid calling 118 numbers and simply use the internet to find a phone number has seen a huge rise in the number of people falling victim to the "call connection service" scam.

    The number of ICSS providers continues to increase. The vast majority of these operate on premium rate 084 numbers, and therefore outside of the PSA regulations governing such services. The regulations currently apply only to services operating on numbers starting 087 or 09.
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