Archive | December, 2010

Negative reader feedback about SayNoTo1890.com

A week or so ago, I got my first ever negative comment on ValueIreland.com specifically regarding an article I wrote for the Irish News of the World about this website, SayNoTo1890.com. The comment went as follows:

“the company on the other end of the line are actually making money from your call” – Companies who don’t feel the need to subsidise their customers calls use a universal number (0818) -The customer is charged the cost of a national call–If volumes are large enough the Service provider i.e. the telco may give a rebate to the company- This can be about 1 cent a minute or about 60cent per hour- hard to see how they are making a profit here! -your article is sensational and misleading for the ordinary consumer-
You are only increasing tension between the customer and the poor guy on the other end trying to do his job, so as you can look like the peoples champion that you claim to be.
As for saynoto11890.com- I see you are selling some adsense along the way- few quid on the back of peoples fustration- nice. Real leader of the gang..

Despite them even getting the website name wrong, here’s the follow up I posted at the time – which wasn’t responded to any further, unsurprisingly.

Thanks for your comments, I think. Very nice and brave of you to comment so strongly, yet anonymously.

Thank you, though, in your comment for confirming the fact that companies using 0818 numbers can make money off the back of their customers calling in. You refer to making a profit – I didn’t. I only referred to 0818 numbers as being a revenue stream.

If, as you say, businesses don’t want to subsidise their customers phone calls by providing 1890 or 1850 numbers, why do they not provide simple geographic numbers (such as 01, 021 or 091 etc) rather than these 0818 number?

Because they don’t provide such geographic numbers, it’s my opinion that business providing 0818 numbers are doing so with the specific intention of making money off the back of these calls – you can call it sensationalist if you like, but there you go – it’s my opinion.

Otherwise, why would companies be so protective of their geographical alternatives – resisting any attempt by their own customers to get these numbers in order to be able to call them at a cheaper rate? To me, this shows a complete lack of regard for their customers.

All that said, contrary to your comment, there is nothing in this article that is misleading. I’m open to any other specific issues being highlighted – e-mail me here any time with the actual statement that is incorrect.

And while we’re at “misleading statements”, I don’t claim, and never have claimed, to be a “peoples champion” as you state. This website, and my newspaper articles, are my personal views and opinions surrounding consumer affairs issues in Ireland at the moment and much of the bullshit that consumers have to put up with. It is my hope that readers here read items that you don’t see anywhere – showing an angle to what’s going on that others either don’t see, don’t want to see, or don’t want to talk about for fear of upsetting the famous “powers that be”.

I don’t speak for anyone. I don’t claim to speak for anyone – I speak for myself.

I encourage and welcome feedback from the readers here – it broadens the discussion and highlights a wider range of issues for those who are kind enough to visit.

As for Adsense, I run this website for around €100 per year – covering the cost of website names and hosting. The addition of Google advertising in the last 6 months was an attempt to recoup some of the cost of keeping the site going.

Maybe you should redirect your ire to the consumer organisations who actually do claim to represent consumers who spend anything from €750,000 to €10m per year and don’t even match (in my humble opinion) the quality of the content that is found here on ValueIreland.com.

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Requesting Geographical Alternative Numbers

HelpWe’ve had a number of e-mails from people asking if there are geographical alternatives for particular 1890, 1850 and 0818 numbers.

We’re happy to follow up on these requests – indeed, I’ll be publishing some of these in the coming days. However, if you’re asking for alternatives for particular companies, please give us the actual number that you want the alternative for.

So, as well as giving the company name, please give us the 0818, 1890 or 1850 number that you want the alternative for also.

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Businesses should understand the impact of providing 1890 and 1850 contact details

FAQI’ve written before how companies should realise that not all of their customers will actually benefit from the LOCALL or CALLSAVE numbers that they provide. Depending on the phone package customers are using, makeing a call to businesses could actually end up costing a whole lot more than expected.

This is a comment that came to the website from one such business owner:

My company (BER services)uses a lo-call number which we had hoped was providing our customers with a cheaper way to contact us. I am annoyed that we are paying for this service but it is costing our customers as well. 1890-728464 the alternative landline number is 096-70166.

As a matter of interest (or a free plug), the business concerned was Allied Energy Rating.

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Who pays for 1890 calls?

HelpThis e-mail came through from a SayNoTo1890.com reader recently with strange statement from an ESB employee included:

The ESB have a listed 1890 no to call in readings but I rang the landline on ‘our’ site. They left me holding ages and finally when I got through they told me that there was some problem in that section and would I mind ringing another 1890 no.

I said I would mind as I did not wish to incur such charges for a 1890 no. but then he replied, but you did ring a 1890 no. and I advised no that I had phoned a land line no. They cannot tell what no. the customer calls. Then he told me that after the first three minutes, ESB take up the charges???

Could this be true or a fantasy of his mind.

He’s not right, but he’s not completely wrong either.

A LOCALL number is where the customer is charged a reduced rate per minute (see the Call Costs page ) with the company who provides the number being charged the balance.

There is no time limit on when the company kicks in and pays for the call – they effectively subsidise the call from the very beginning.

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SayNoTo1890.com in Irish Times Pricewatch

The Irish Times LogoFollowing on from a story in the previous weeks edition, Conor Pope referenced SayNoTo1890.com in his Pricewatch column on Monday May 18th.

The article, Just Say No Lo , went as follows:

Just say no Lo

Our item about lo-call numbers attracted a large response from readers who were similarly annoyed by the practice of mobile and landline operators not including 1850 or 1890 numbers as part of their bundled minutes and charging as much as 35 cent a minute for calls to them.

“This is the first time I have encountered anyone who has the same sentiment I have about these numbers,” writes a reader by the name of Valerie. She has an Eircom bundle which gives her free local and national calls but not free lo-calls. She has a plan to circumvent the problem, however.

“Being retired, I check websites first to see if they provide numbers for people ringing from outside Ireland, then ring that landline number. It works. It drives me crazy when I’m told it’s lo-call when I actually have the option of it being a free call. My view is that it is another way of conning the public and I’m amazed no one has taken this up with Government departments,” she concludes.

Another reader named Richard said the best way around lo-call numbers was to use the alternative local number.

“It can be a little bit of work finding it, but I normally use the excellent Say No to 1890 website www.saynoto1890.com/a-to-z/ ”.

He was just one of a number of readers to cite the website, which has also featured on this page in the past.

And a third reader from Kerry says that, when it comes to over-priced 1890 calls, the “worst culprit is the Government”. He says it is “nearly impossible to contact any Government department”, but when he called Comreg and his local TDs he got the runaround.

Nice to get the mention, and nice to see that the reaction of the users of the site. Thanks to whomever made contact with Conor.

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The real cost of 1890, 1850 and 0818 numbers

FAQWith all the changes to the site recently, I have now republished a new page detailing the cost of calling 1890, 1850 and 0818 numbers from as many phone companies as we could find.

The Call Costs page in the main menu bar now shows the real costs of calling these numbers – particularly if your phone package has inclusive minutes.

Calls to 1850, 1890 and 0818 are not deducted from inclusive minutes on any phone minute packages provided by Irish telecoms companies (except for one).

This shows how beneficial it is that you are able to use geographical telephone numbers instead – it saves you money if you have an inclusive minutes package with your phone provider.

So, what can we do?

  • The ideal thing we should be demanding is that our phone providers include these 1890, 1850 and 0818 numbers in their inclusive minutes packages.
  • Failing that, we should share any geographical alternative phone numbers that we know of with everyone else to allow us all save money on these calls.

And that’s what the SayNoTo1890.com website is for. If you know of any geographical alternative phone numbers that can be used instead of 1890, 1850 or 0818 numbers, e-mail us and we’ll share them with everyone else.

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Say No To 1890, 1850 and 0818 Call Costs

News of the World LogIrish News of the World

Sunday March 29th, 2009

Diarmuid MacShane

Say No To 1890, 1850 and 0818 Call Costs

If you find yourself dialling an 1890 or 1850 number for a company, then you’re the one who should really be getting the wake up call.

Despite being called Lo-Call or Call Save numbers, you could find yourself paying up to 49c per minute to make a call that’s normally advertised as 5c per minute.

And worse, if you’re calling an 0818 number, then the company on the other end of the line are actually making money from your call. So, for these companies, it’s financially worth their while to keep you on the phone as long as possible, even if you’re making a complaint.

Lo Call and Call Save numbers were originally set up before mobiles came along to give consumers a number that would cost the same to call no matter where they were in the country compared to the location of the company.

But with the advent of mobile phones, and inclusive minute bundles on both landlines and mobile packages, they’re really just an excuse for the telecoms companies to print money.

This is done by excluding calls made to these numbers from your inclusive minute bundles you have with your phone contract – you basically pay extra from these calls no matter how many “free” minutes you get every month. And if you’re calling from a mobile phone, your Lo Call or Call Save number will cost you up to 9 times more than from a land line.

With the massive growth in the use of mobile phones in Ireland since these numbers were originally set up, less and less of us are making any calls from landlines. So more and more of us are getting stung by these ridiculous call charges, greatly adding to the mobile phone company profits.

It’s a poor show for many Irish companies and the customer service they provide when many don’t seem to realise the cost to their customers by only providing 1890 or 1850 contact numbers. And obviously, for companies providing 0818 numbers, they’re consciously trying to make an extra buck when you call them – taking a cut of the outrageous costs charged by the mobile companies.

And what’s worse, even though this country is riddled with regulators and government and so-called independent watchdogs, no one wants to know about this blatant rip off.

In the past, I’ve made complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland, but they don’t want to know. They tell me to speak to ComReg who say it’s nothing to do with them. The National Consumer Agency say it’s nothing to do with them and pawn you off on the Competition Authority or the Consumers Association of Ireland. They merely published a letter in their magazine, while the Competition people said that there’s nothing for them to investigate.

Fine Gael have recently highlight the issue with these Lo Call and Call Save numbers – and in particular, highlighting the fact that many Government departments only providing these contact numbers.

So what can you do?

SayNoTo1890.com is a website set up to provide you with the “geographical alternative” numbers for many of these 1890, 1850 and 0818 telephone numbers.

A geographical alternative number is an 01, or 021 or 091 number that you can call instead of the Lo Call or Call Save numbers, but still get through to the company.

By calling these numbers, you’ll either save money by having the minutes used on the call taken from your minutes bundle on your phone contract, or at least you’ll only end up paying the 5-6c per minute rather than 35-49c.

Most of Irelands biggest companies are included in the website with geographical alternative numbers provided – including most of the banks, mobile phone and energy companies.

How can you help?

If you know of a geographic alternative phone number to any 1890, 1850 or 0818 numbers, then visit SayNoTo1890.com and share it with everyone else.

Even better, if you work for a company that only provides one of these numbers but you know an alternative, contact me at the website and I’ll share the number with everyone while maintaining your privacy.

Given that some surveys of the worst offenders when it comes to companies keeping people hanging on show that you could be on hold for anything from 10 minutes to an hour, you could be saving yourself a small fortune on your phone costs – especially since we should really be paying those high costs at all.

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If not 1890, what number should be used?

FAQThis question came through to the website some time ago, questioning why we were so much against 1890 numbers, and what a business could use instead.

I was on Google looking for info regarding 1890 numbers and stumbled across your website. Never one to go with the flow like a dead fish, I’ve decided to see what you can suggest other than an 1890 number.

The response, and our point with SayNoTo1890.com is there there’s no benefit any more in so called “lo call” or “call save” numbers so businesses should just provide their normal geographical telephone number for their customers to use.

Though 1890 and 1850 numbers could be viewed as marketing tools, we try to highlight to businesses that it could cost their customers more to actually get in touch.

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MoneyGuideIreland.com steals content – a site to avoid

Money Guide Ireland LogoOn Tuesday of this week, just 24hours since I finally managed to get the SayNoTo1890.com listing of geographical alternative telephone numbers back up on the website I was alerted to a post on the website MoneyGuideIreland.com.

I’m not giving them a link because they’ve basically stolen almost the full contents of the SayNoTo1890.com website and the listing of numbers that’s been gathered by me and website users over the past 18 months.

I did ask that they at least give credit to where the numbers came from, but this was ignored. So, all I can say is that in future, ignore the thieving bastards at MoneyGuideIreland.com. All the information provided on that website is also available, and much more up to date as well, on the Financial Regulator website, ItsYourMoney.ie .

Stick to where you get the original website content – here on SayNoTo1890.com and on ValueIreland.com.

Update April 2nd – The MoneyGuideIreland.com website has eventually been change to remove the listing of numbers and to give due credit to SayNoTo1890.com.

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We want some insider information

Recently, I published this listing of companies that are very careful to make sure that no geographical alternative numbers can be found for their 1890, 1850 and 0818 numbers.

That’s sort of understandable for companies who provide 0818 numbers since they’re making money from our phone calls to them.

Still, we want to save money for ourselves when making these calls rather than further boosting the profits of the companies involved, so we need to find geographical alternatives for those companies.

So, if you work for a company that does have a geographical alternative number that could be called instead of their published 1890, 1850 or 0818 numbers, we’d love to hear from you.

You can use our contact pages to let us know the numbers, or post a comment on the site. I won’t reveal where I got the information from if you want to keep your privacy. There have already been a series of numbers provided to this site from insiders working for the company concerned without any issues.

We’d love to hear from you if you have numbers that can help us all save some cash on these calls.

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