News from Ofcom

Today’s news from the telecom’s watchdog, Ofcom, regarding the capping of directory enquiry call costs, is most welcomed, although in our view, somewhat tardy and still expensive!

The capping will bring prices down to £3.65 per 90 second call, a reduction on the current £20 average cost for the same duration but this won’t come into play until April 2019.

For most of us these days, if we want to find a number we will turn to the internet and find it within moments therefore steering clear of the rip off prices.  However, those without internet access are paying the price.  Research has shown the majority of people using the directory enquiry services are likely to be over 65. They use the service in good faith unaware that they are incurring massive costs. Of course, this results in bills that many cannot afford to pay.

We have received reports from two customers saying they had been charged £78 and £92 for using the 118 118 service and could not understand why it was so much.  In both instances they had agreed to be put through to the number they were looking for. The charges are ridiculously expensive. Not only were they paying high fees for the initial enquiry, but they continued to pay premium rates for the entire duration of the call.  A 30-minute phone conversation could easily cost you £150 and much more if calling from a mobile.

If you must use this service, NEVER let them connect you. Write the number down, hang up and dial the number yourself, it may be slower, it may be less convenient but one things for sure, it will be cheaper.

It may be useful to know that there is a special service for people with disabilities. 195 is a free service offered by BT for people who cannot read or hold a directory due to disability or illness. You will need to complete a form and get it signed by your GP to use this service. You can apply by calling 0800 587 0195 between 9am – 4:30pm Mon – Fri to request an application form.

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