Archive | December, 2010

Negative reader feedback about

A week or so ago, I got my first ever negative comment on specifically regarding an article I wrote for the Irish News of the World about this website, 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 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


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.


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.


Who pays for 1890 calls?

HelpThis e-mail came through from a 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.


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 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.


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 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.

0 steals content – a site to avoid

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

I’m not giving them a link because they’ve basically stolen almost the full contents of the 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 All the information provided on that website is also available, and much more up to date as well, on the Financial Regulator website, .

Stick to where you get the original website content – here on and on

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


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.


0818 Numbers pretending to be mobile numbers

I wrote before about how the MoneySavingExpert had an interesting observation on how call centre operators in the UK were quoting the 0870 number (0870 being the UK equivalent of 1850 and 1890). According to the blog, from here:

Twice in the last week I’ve been given 0870 numbers to dial, yet rather than being told the number is 0870-123-123, both times it’s been told to me as 087-012-3123. Thus the call operator is never actually saying the phrase 0870. Cunning devils…

I don’t think this will be as easy to do in Ireland here, what with all our numbers beginning with zero – it won’t be so easy to “hide” a number quotes as 189-0123-123 or 185-0123-123. It might be a little easier to get away with it for the 0818 number – 081-8123-123 at least fits into the Irish formatting.

Of course, in Ireland at the moment, apart from this website, there’s very little comment or complaint about companies only providing 1850, 1890 or 0818 numbers.

If you're reading this, you're probably on a PC with internet filtering, or a poor connections, so you're missing a picture of someone hiding an expensive 0818 number as 081

Mobile 081 number, or expensive 0818 number

So far, I have seen just one company print their number on their vans of 081-8….. I think this is a little disingenuous by the company concerned.

Have you noticed this being done by anyone else? Let me know, and we’ll out them here!


More on calling Government Departments on LOCALL numbers

Following on from this post I wrote earlier in the week , I realised that my original post about the Fine Gael 1890 research must have been lost in the recent problems that I’ve had with this site.


Basically, some time ago now, Fine Gael added a new campaign item to their which highlighted the fact that many Government departments provided 1890 numbers for us to call, but very few of them highlighted the fact that if you were calling from a mobile or in some cases from a landline with a minutes bundle package, that you could end up more than might be suggested when calling a LOCALL number.

The Fine Gael research highlighted 21 Government departments and helpline numbers with 1890 contact numbers.

At the time, I did a check and found 19 geographical alternative numbers for the 21 numbers. They’re all included in the A-Z listing page here .

Calling these geographical alternative numbers for these departments from a mobile or a landline with a minutes bundle will mean that you’ll avoid the ridiculous higher charges from service providers when calling 1890 numbers.


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