Archive | February, 2016

Help, please! Does your mobile provider block you calling 1800 numbers?

getting help finding numbers on this websiteAs I mentioned previously in this February 2016 – noting all the Geographic Alternative Numbers Updated Across the SayNoTo1890.com website, I will be starting to provide geographic alternatives on the site from here on out for FreePhone 1800 numbers.

There are two reasons for this.

Firstly, some companies who may provide 1800 numbers may indicate to their service providers that they don’t want to facilitate people calling on that number from mobile phones because of the additional cost incurred.

Secondly, and of specific interest for this blog post, I’ve been told that certain mobile phone companies (potentially only on certain packages or contracts) are blocking their customers from calling 1800 numbers completely.

So, are you on a mobile phone plan with any of the providers here in Ireland that is blocking you from calling 1800 numbers completely? If so, please let me know the company and the package you’re on – either in the comments below, or via the Contact Page here.

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Break through all the bullshit! with 48 Months

I love this page on the 48 Months website.

Break through all the bullshit! Here at 48 we are upfront about other call charges so you don’t have to worry about hidden extras creeping up behind you. Check out our rates for calling numbers like Directory Enquiries, 1890 or 1850. You could also save yourself money with handy sites like www.saynoto1890.com.

Now, it’s worth noting that 48 Months charges the most for calls to 1890 (50c per minute), 1850 (50c per call) and 0818 (50c per minute) numbers. However, if they’re not going to amend their call charge structure, then I guess next best thing is to help people avoid the costs completely.

Break through all the bullshit! with 48 Months

 

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Help, please! – Are you blocked from accessing SayNoTo1890.com from anywhere?

getting help finding numbers on this websiteI recently discovered this comment on the AskAboutMoney.com website, indicating that a customer of TescoMobile had for a time been blocked from accessing this website via their mobile phone.

Tesco Mobile blocking access to the SayNoTo1890 website

Have you had problems accessing the website through any of your internet connections – mobile phone, tablet, or home laptop or computer? If you’ve had any issues, please use the comments below to let me know, or contact me here.

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New parking signs from DCC still showing incorrect LoCall 0818 information

Dublin City Council STILL incorrectly advertising 0818 numbers as LoCallA couple of weeks ago, I started documenting organisations who had websites where 1890, 1850, & 0818 numbers are being falsely advertised. Separately, back in 2013, I highlighted how Dublin City Council were incorrectly advertising 0818 numbers as LoCall on their parking meters all around Dublin.

As I highlighted at the time, this is particularly egregious since I’m assuming pretty much everyone who would be calling that number would be calling from their mobile, and would therefore be whacked with the higher call charge.

Since then, Dublin City Council have been replacing and updating their parking meters, and unfortunately, even though they’ve been made aware of the error in their description of the 0818 number, it’s still wrong.

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What are 076 numbers? What’s the cost implications of calling 076 numbers?

saynoto1890_slider_1_faqIn my recent February 2016 – confirming the Geographic Alternative Numbers Updated Across the SayNoTo1890.com website, I indicated that there would be some follow ups to the issue raised by a number of users of this website regarding 076 numbers. As one correspondent said some time ago:

I have been lately waging my own battles with some government bodies over their use of non-geographic numbers and have come across the latest scam called 076 and 0761 numbers.

I’m not sure it’s a “scam” as such, but 076 numbers are now an issue for mobile phone users in the same way as 1890, 1850 and 0818 numbers are. The costs are upwards on 30c per minute, but more particularly calls to 076 numbers are in most cases not deducted from minute bundles on mobile phone contracts. This is despite the fact that the introduction by such government departments was intended to reduce call costs for customers.

While there are a number of organisations who do provide an 076 contact number, it was likely when the Water Conservation Grant Section provided one last year that most people encountered an 076 number for the first time.

What is an 076 Number?

076 is the prefix originally by designated by COMREG for use when calling VOIP phones. VOIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol is effectively making telephone calls over the internet. You don’t have to be on the internet yourself when you’re calling a VOIP 076 number – you can call from any regular landline or mobile phone. And these days, you don’t necessarily need to be dialling an 076 number to call someone who’s using a VOIP service.

The key thing here is that given the distinction made by COMREG for the 076 numbers, mobile phone companies are using the number as a loophole (similar to 1890, 1850 and 0818 numbers) to boost their earnings.

In most cases, you’ll see companies who use 076 numbers explaining that calling such a number will cost the same as a local call. In the same way that providers of 1890 LoCall numbers will say the same thing.

The key difference here, and what’s being left out, is “from an Eir(com) landline”. That’s how costs for 1890 numbers originated, and it’s now how 076 numbers are being priced.

Mobiles Are Different (as usual)

But as we all know, similar to calling an 1890 number from your mobile, you’re most likely charged the equivalent of a mobile to mobile call. And what’s of more pain and inconvenience, in most cases, calls to 076 numbers are not deducted from your minutes bundles on your mobile phone contract.

The mobile provider 48 is the most expensive for calling an 076 number, at 50c per minute. The cheapest that I can work out is with Meteor (either Pre-Pay or Bill-Pay). In both those cases, the cost is flagged as the same as their normal minute rate, which is 15c per minute. Similarly, Vodafone Pre-Pay and Bill-Pay price plans indicates that it’s the same cost as a normal call on a mobile to call an 076 number. Neither Meteor nor Vodafone deduct 076 minutes from your free minutes bundles.

As I’m sure you’re aware, it’s not always easy to find out this information given the variety of phone packages, and phone costs, and peak and off-peak – you’d almost think that your mobile provider didn’t want you to know. In fact, there is no information anywhere for any of the Three Mobile plans on how much it is to call 076 numbers.

Finally, Tesco Mobile will charge you 30c per minute to call an 076 number – on the more expensive end of the scale. But, but, on a more positive twist, they’re the only company to deduct 076 minutes from their free minutes bundles on Pre-Pay and Bill-Pay contracts.

What to do?

Basically we need to treat 076 numbers the same as 1890, 1850 and 0818 numbers. That is, as much as possible, we need to hunt down and share geographic alternatives for 076 numbers.

But that’s easier said than done. I’ve today contacted these 4 government organisations who provide ONLY 076 numbers on their contact pages on their websites. The don’t provide any geographic alternatives, and they’re the most popular organisations for people to be contacting me here. These are:

  • Money Advice & Budgeting Service
    • MABS Helpline 0761072000
  • Insolvency Service of Ireland
    • Information and General Enquiries 0761064200
    • Case Management Division 0761064200
    • Bankruptcy Division 0761064232
    • Regulation Division 0761064234
  • Citizens Information
    • Phone Service 0761074000
    • Website Team 0761079000
  • Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI)
    • SUSI Support Desk 0761087874

So, if you have geographic alternatives for these numbers already, please let me know and I’ll update the website so others can benefit. Alternatively, if you know of other 076 numbers and other geographic alternatives, please contact me here and I’ll update the website.

 

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LoCall numbers could cost you extra

It was this news article from Paul Kelly in the Irish Examiner that started my work on what eventually became the SayNoTo1890.com website. That’s 9 years ago now, and still nothing much has been done to alleviate the issue for Irish consumers (apart from this site obviously :-))

 

LoCall numbers could cost you extra - The Irish ExaminerLoCall numbers could cost you extra
By Paul Kelly, Consumer Correspondent
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
CONSUMERS are needlessly paying out up to €5 a time to ring “low cost” telephone numbers like those beginning 1890 — even though they could get the calls for next to nothing.

Banks, airlines, Iarnród Éireann and the Revenue encourage consumers to ring their LoCall 1890 telephone numbers at local call rates costing 4.9cent a minute in the daytime and 1.26c off-peak.

But dialling the numbers from a mobile phone could cost up to €4.90 for a 10-minute call while landline customers could similarly find themselves out of pocket. This is because popular landline phone deals like Eircom’s exclude LoCall 1890 numbers, Callsave 1850 and national 0818 calls from the offer of unlimited landline calls while mobiles have higher fees for “low cost” numbers.

Yet consumers can beat the trap if they dial the alternative numbers listed by many organisations on their websites or in phone books alongside their 1890, 1850 and 0818 numbers.

For instance, customers on Eircom’s Talktime Anytime package, would pay 49c for a 10-minute call to the AIB phone banking 1890 242424 hotline as such numbers are not part of the offer of unlimited calls.

But if customers dialled the hotline on AIB’s alternative number of 01 6670024 then the call would be included in their €39.99-a-month fee for unlimited calls.

Similarly, an Eircom customer on the Talktime 15c package pays €25.99 a month for line rental and then 15c per landline call no matter how long they talk for.

But if they have to make a 10-minute call to Ticketmaster’s 0818 719300 number for booking a concert ticket then they will pay 82c for a daytime call or 49c in the evenings.

Had they telephoned the ticket company’s alternative number 01 4569569, then they would pay a standard 15c flat fee.

By dialling the national 0818 number customers are paying up to 81% more for the call than they need to as the Talktime 15c package only covers standard phone numbers.

From a mobile a 10-minute call to a Ticketmaster 0818 line costs up to €4.90 with Vodafone, €2.50 with Meteor and €3.10 with O2.

Subscribers to landline phone firms’ deals pay 6.35c extra every time they call the 1850 Callsave numbers used by the likes of Bord Gáis, ESB and the VHI.

But if they have all-inclusive packages then they can save by dialling standard numbers and avoid paying out extra.

Yesterday, the Consumers’ Association of Ireland (CAI) said that firms with 1850, 1890 and 0818 numbers should do more to make their customers aware of how to make their calls cheaper.

“More organisations are using these numbers as a convenient way for customers to get in touch yet these numbers can cost a fortune,” said CAI chief executive Dermott Jewell.

“Phone companies should include 1890 or 1850 numbers in their deals and should not be charging consumers extra as these are still landline calls,” he said.

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February 2016 – Geographic Alternative Numbers Updated Across the SayNoTo1890.com

First of all, a very big thank you to the many hundreds of people who contact me through this website providing geographic alternatives that they’d found or were already using. In the last couple of weeks, I think I’ve updated and added nearly 300 numbers on the site.

That means, as of today, this website now provides geographic alternative numbers, allowing people save money on their mobile phone calls, broken down as follows:

  • 390 geographic alternative numbers available for 1890 numbers
  • 130 geographic alternative numbers available for 1850 numbers
  • 120 geographic alternative available for 0818 numbers

house keeping imageNew Alternatives for 1800 and 076 Numbers

Based on feedback received from a number of people using the site, it seems like it would be of benefit to start tracking geographic alternatives for 076 numbers (internet phone numbers of which more soon) and 1800 numbers.

With that in mind, there are now about 15 geographic alternatives for 076 numbers, and approximately 30 alternatives for 1800 numbers.

The 1800 number issues is interesting as these numbers are supposed to be free, but I’ve been told by a few people that their particular mobile phone deal actually BLOCKS calls to 1800 numbers. (If you’ve found that, please let me know more below). I’ll come back to this issue later as well.

TINA – There Is No (Geographic) Alternative

Most people using this site will be familiar with the one or two companies (SKY in particular) who will do anything possible to ensure that no one every finds a geographic alternative to their 0818 numbers. In total, since the website started, there are the following stats on where no geographic alternative has yet to be found:

  • 0818 – 30 numbers with no geographic alternatives
  • 1890 – 40 numbers with no geographic alternatives
  • 1850 – 10 numbers with no geographic alternatives
  • 1800 – 1 number with no geographic alternative

Thank you, and Please Share

Thank you again to the hundreds of you who are passing on your geographic alternatives all the time – it’s very much appreciated, and it’s of benefit obviously to everyone using the website. And thank you to the thousands of you using the site, and saving money, every week.

To try to make the site even more useful, it would be great if you could share this site with your friends, family and colleagues. The Facebook page for the site is here, and there’s a Twitter account here, if that helps.

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