29 October 2010

Premium Rate

More and more operators are introducing non-geographical telephone numbers which their customers are encouraged to call for information and enquiries. The trouble is that these non-geographical numbers (0845/0870/0844 et al) do not form part of inclusive minutes on mobile phone contracts. BT offer a package for your home landline that permits free calls to 0845 and 0870 numbers only, but what about those not with BT (or, indeed, BT customers not on that tariff)?

The latest organisation within the transport industry to change their phone number is Transport for London. Its 0207 222 1234 timetable and travel information line has been replaced with the following: 0843 222 1234. Now 0843 numbers aren't considered 'premium' as they only cost between 3-5p per minute to call, so there's no huge hike in price provided you call from a landline in the middle of the day. Calls between 020 numbers (i.e. residents of Greater London to the former TfL timetable line) are free for many landline packages; calling 0843 is never free.

Mobile phone calls to 0843 (or indeed any other 08xx) number cost more than 5p/min. The cost largely depends on your network provider. Calls to FreeFone numbers also cost when using a mobile phone.

That's why we use the excellent SayNoTo0870.com website. The site requests a company name or an existing 08xx number be typed in and then a search can be done to find alternate numbers. For TfL's 0843 222 1234 number, an alternative is the main TfL switchboard (0207 222 5600) from where you can be directed to the timetable information department. It's a little long-winded but the call is being made to a geographical number and thus conforms to many call packages for both landlines and mobiles.

The railway industry's timetable information line - 08457 48 49 50 charges callers a similar rate to TfL's 0843. Typing this number into saynoto0870.com provides a number of alternatives; the one that appears most likely is 0207 068 0503. We've not called this number so cannot say how accurate it is.

There may be some reading this that are outraged by attempts made by operators to charge more for making calls to them. While it's true that some phone numbers do generate nice revenue streams (easyJet was recently chastised on BBC's Watchdog for keeping a passenger on the line to their premium 090x number for so long that the call almost cost as much as the flight she was calling to amend), but very little if any is generated from 0870/0845 numbers. Often companies do it to show they are more national than local, which can instill a little more confidence in callers' eyes. Others do it to enable them to introduce a memorable number.

Whatever your opinion, saynoto0870.com seems to us to be the only way around this for the time being. It's a must to be bookmarked - especially in these financially challenging times. Why pay 5p/min for a call when you could make it for nothing?


10 comments:

Dave Lindsay said...

The title of this blog posting is quite apt. The suggestion that "0843 numbers aren't considered 'premium' as they only cost between 3-5p per minute to call" is the sort of thing we expect from users of these numbers.

Numbers which start with 0843 (and 0844 and 0845) are not Premium Rate Services (PRS), an official term defined in the Communications Act. All PRS numbers are subject to regulation by PhonepayPlus, and these begin with 0871, 0872 and 09.

However, 084x numbers still carry a premium, albeit lower than that of PRS numbers. So 084x numbers are premium rate (lower case 'p' and lower case 'r').


It is shameful that TfL has jumped on this bandwagon, after functioning perfectly well for many years with the memorable local London number.

How much has it cost to change all the public signage and purchase the new memorable 0843 number? What will tourists think when they come to the Capital and enquire about public transport on their mobile phones and then discover the cost?

The national Traveline number is an 0871 one, which costs 10 pence per minute from BT lines, 12 pence per minute from Virgin Media lines and considerably more from mobiles. This routes calls to the caller's local Traveline service, and in some areas the local geographic number is widely publicised, and in other areas it is not. SAYNOT0870.COM lists local Traveline numbers for most areas.


The National Rail Enquiries alternative, 020 7068 0503, goes straight through to the call centre. Another 020 number we recently aquired, which answered the same as 08457 48 49 50 has since been changed. NRE publishes an 020 number for callers from overseas, but it has seen fit to prevent those ringing from the UK to access the service on that number.


Another thing which hasn't been mentioned here is the proliferation of reverse-charged premium rate SMS text services for public transport information. Basically, a passenger sends a text message to a short (five-digit) code and replies sent to them will incur a charge.

National Rail Enquiries' TrainTracker costs 25 pence a go, whereas the same information can be gleaned from the NRE website, or via a mobile phone, from its WAP site wap.nationalrail.co.uk which will usually cost a fraction of the price of a telephone call.

The WAP site allows access to timetable information as well as live departures and arrivals for all stations. My local station does not have a departures screen, but within 10 seconds of taking my mobile out of my pocket, I can have that information in front of me for a fraction of the cost of ringing the premium rate telephone number. Yet they don't publicise widely the availability of the WAP site...

A similar service, Traveline-txt, now exists for bus users, but the same information is available from lesser publicised WAP sites.

Anonymous said...

Eeek. 0207 222 1234? Nooooo: 020 7222 1234, actually. :-)

Dave Lindsay said...

The title of this blog posting is quite apt. The suggestion that "0843 numbers aren't considered 'premium' as they only cost between 3-5p per minute to call" is the sort of thing we expect from users of these numbers.

Numbers which start with 0843 (and 0844 and 0845) are not Premium Rate Services (PRS), an official term defined in the Communications Act. All PRS numbers are subject to regulation by PhonepayPlus, and these begin with 0871, 0872 and 09.

However, 084x numbers still carry a premium, albeit lower than that of PRS numbers. So 084x numbers are premium rate (lower case 'p' and lower case 'r').


It is shameful that TfL has jumped on this bandwagon, after functioning perfectly well for many years with the memorable local London number.

How much has it cost to change all the public signage and purchase the new memorable 0843 number? What will tourists think when they come to the Capital and enquire about public transport on their mobile phones and then discover the cost?

The national Traveline number is an 0871 one, which costs 10 pence per minute from BT lines, 12 pence per minute from Virgin Media lines and considerably more from mobiles. This routes calls to the caller's local Traveline service, and in some areas the local geographic number is widely publicised, and in other areas it is not. SAYNOT0870.COM lists local Traveline numbers for most areas.

The new geographic number for reaching the TfL travel information call centre is (020) 3283 6500. This gets to the same place as dialling the 0843 number and selecting option 3 (to speak to an agent) or ringing the 0871 number in the London area.


The National Rail Enquiries alternative, 020 7068 0503, goes straight through to the call centre. Another 020 number we recently aquired, which answered the same as 08457 48 49 50 has since been changed. NRE publishes an 020 number for callers from overseas, but it has seen fit to prevent those ringing from the UK to access the service on that number.


Another thing which hasn't been mentioned here is the proliferation of reverse-charged premium rate SMS text services for public transport information. Basically, a passenger sends a text message to a short (five-digit) code and replies sent to them will incur a charge.

National Rail Enquiries' TrainTracker costs 25 pence a go, whereas the same information can be gleaned from the NRE website, or via a mobile phone, from its WAP site wap.nationalrail.co.uk which will usually cost a fraction of the price of a telephone call.

The WAP site allows access to timetable information as well as live departures and arrivals for all stations. My local station does not have a departures screen, but within 10 seconds of taking my mobile out of my pocket, I can have that information in front of me for a fraction of the cost of ringing the premium rate telephone number. Yet they don't publicise widely the availability of the WAP site...

A similar service, Traveline-txt, now exists for bus users, but the same information is available from lesser publicised WAP sites.

Dave Lindsay said...

The title of this blog posting is quite apt. The suggestion that "0843 numbers aren't considered 'premium' as they only cost between 3-5p per minute to call" is the sort of thing we expect from users of these numbers.

Numbers which start with 0843 (and 0844 and 0845) are not Premium Rate Services (PRS), an official term defined in the Communications Act. All PRS numbers are subject to regulation by PhonepayPlus, and these begin with 0871, 0872 and 09.

However, 084x numbers still carry a premium, albeit lower than that of PRS numbers. So 084x numbers are premium rate (lower case 'p' and lower case 'r').


It is shameful that TfL has jumped on this bandwagon, after functioning perfectly well for many years with the memorable local London number.

How much has it cost to change all the public signage and purchase the new memorable 0843 number? What will tourists think when they come to the Capital and enquire about public transport on their mobile phones and then discover the cost?

The national Traveline number is an 0871 one, which costs 10 pence per minute from BT lines, 12 pence per minute from Virgin Media lines and considerably more from mobiles. This routes calls to the caller's local Traveline service, and in some areas the local geographic number is widely publicised, and in other areas it is not. SAYNOT0870.COM lists local Traveline numbers for most areas.

The new geographic number for reaching the TfL travel information call centre is (020) 3283 6500. This is the same as dialling the 0843 number and selecting option 3 (to speak to an agent) or ringing the 0871 number in the London area.

Dave Lindsay said...

The National Rail Enquiries alternative, 020 7068 0503, goes straight through to the call centre. Another 020 number we recently aquired, which answered the same as 08457 48 49 50 has since been changed. NRE publishes an 020 number for callers from overseas, but it has seen fit to prevent those ringing from the UK to access the service on that number.


Another thing which hasn't been mentioned here is the proliferation of reverse-charged premium rate SMS text services for public transport information. Basically, a passenger sends a text message to a short (five-digit) code and replies sent to them will incur a charge.

National Rail Enquiries' TrainTracker costs 25 pence a go, whereas the same information can be gleaned from the NRE website, or via a mobile phone, from its WAP site wap.nationalrail.co.uk which will usually cost a fraction of the price of a telephone call.

The WAP site allows access to timetable information as well as live departures and arrivals for all stations. My local station does not have a departures screen, but within 10 seconds of taking my mobile out of my pocket, I can have that information in front of me for a fraction of the cost of ringing the premium rate telephone number. Yet they don't publicise widely the availability of the WAP site...

A similar service, Traveline-txt, now exists for bus users, but the same information is available from lesser publicised WAP sites.

Dave Lindsay said...

The National Rail Enquiries alternative, 020 7068 0503, goes straight through to the call centre. Another 020 number we recently aquired, which answered the same as 08457 48 49 50 has since been changed. NRE publishes an 020 number for callers from overseas, but it has seen fit to prevent those ringing from the UK to access the service on that number.


Another thing which hasn't been mentioned here is the proliferation of reverse-charged premium rate SMS text services for public transport information. Basically, a passenger sends a text message to a short (five-digit) code and replies sent to them will incur a charge.

National Rail Enquiries' TrainTracker costs 25 pence a go, whereas the same information can be gleaned from the NRE website, or via a mobile phone, from its WAP site wap.nationalrail.co.uk which will usually cost a fraction of the price of a telephone call.

The WAP site allows access to timetable information as well as live departures and arrivals for all stations. My local station does not have a departures screen, but within 10 seconds of taking my mobile out of my pocket, I can have that information in front of me for a fraction of the cost of ringing the premium rate telephone number. Yet they don't publicise widely the availability of the WAP site...

A similar service, Traveline-txt, now exists for bus users, but the same information is available from lesser publicised WAP sites.

Anonymous said...

Corrections to the numbers in post.

0207 222 1234 => (020) 7222 1234

08457 48 49 50 => 0845 748 49 50

0207 068 0503 => (020) 7068 0503


London changed to the single (020) area code more than 10 years ago.

Numbers written like 08457 ... are often written that way in the hope you fail to notice that it is an 0845 number.

Anonymous said...

There is an 0203 number you can call instead of the premium number which is 0203 054 4040

Anonymous said...

0203 054 4040 should be (020) 3054 4040.

London changed to a single unified area code - 020 - more than 12 years ago.

dokan sam said...

That is really a great share.I found fascinating article like yours. It is beautiful value enough for me.
Buy Cheap 0870 Numbers