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The expensive truth behind 0870 and 0871 numbers

June 29, 2007

old phoneType in 0870 or 0871 in a search engine and you'll see loads of advertisements for companies that provide this "service". They all promise revenues of 4, 5 or 6p per minute.

This revenue is generated by charging the caller and sharing the profits between the number provider and the company being called.

The costs are often disguised because the numbers are presented as national rate or sometimes even local call charges.

The fact is that these numbers are very seldom (never?) included in any free minutes nor in any discounted calling plans.

While there has been a trend of cheaper and cheaper calling to regular regional and mobile numbers these new 0870/0871 numbers bring back calling chargers to the level of 1995.

I could be called conspirational if I claimed that it must be the phone operators behind the idea of these new "national rate" numbers. Even if they are not behind the scheme they must be very pleased to see a renewed increase in charged minutes.

There has been an explosion in use of 0870 numbers by large and small companies.

A few years ago it was rare having to call a 0870/0871 number and it was possible to choose another service provider with a local number.

Nowadays it seems as if every service company is using 0870/0871 number to boost their bottom line. This is very frustrating especially if there are 40 minutes waiting times before getting through to a customer service representative.

By the way, if it is profitable for a company to keep you waiting on the line you should start worrying about their true intent. Customer service or profit?

Some companies have gone too far. They rely on incoming phone calls to make a sale (hotels, mortgage companies) but offer only 0870/0871 numbers.

This means it now costs to make a reservation or to inquire about the costs of a product (shame on you K-West).

There is a growing uproar against these phone numbers with hidden charges.

Phone regulator Ofcom has announced that from next year firms will be banned from sharing in the profits of 0870 and 0871 numbers. New numbers will be introduced, this time starting with 030.

These new numbers should not cost more than traditional regional numbers (e.g. 01/02) and should be included in discounted calling plans and inclusive minutes.

While we wait for the 030 numbers you may want to check out the Say no to 0870 web site for alternative contact details.



Sjukstuga

June 13, 2007

Is a Swedish word for a kind of small hospital or more correctly a smaller emergency ward.

Which is exactly what it looks like at home at the moment.

We came back from Brazil last week and together with the fond memories of the trip our baby son also brought back a violent flue.

The symptoms are fever for 2-3 days, then excruciating body ache, then a short spell of extremely runny nose followed by a heavy and painful cough.

His mother got it shortly thereafter.

Then it was the grandmother's turn. She is only visiting for a short while but wasn't spared nonetheless.

The nanny was holding out until last Friday but surrendered shivering and with a splitting head ache.

She had to take a few days off which brought havoc to the delicate ecosystem of baby care taking at home.

So here I am, last man standing and wading through an avalanche of used tissues, dirty dishes and empty paracetamol packs.

I am under no illusion that I will escape this vicious bug but maybe I can avoid it at least until the rest of the family has recuperated (and enjoy special treatment).

From Sjukstugan with love,
David.