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 RipOff.ie 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.


PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION NO. 80 – Alan Shatter, TD – May 12th, 2009

Irish_Government_LogoMany thanks to the SayNoTo1890.com reader who went so far as to approach their local TD, Alan Shatter, to have a question asked of the Minister for Energy and Natural Resource, Eamonn Ryan, TD.

Unfortunately, as we’re finding out from any organisation that’s being approached about this issue, no one is taking responsibility – instead leaving it down to the telecoms operators, all of whom have too much money to lose by doing anything different.


To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will take the necessary steps to ensure that an area code fixed line number must be provided alongside an 1890 or 1850 telephone number where such numbers are provided for members of the public to contact any organisation or business to enable such calls to be included in a bundle of inclusive minutes as currently offered by various telecom providers; his views on whether the practice of State bodies and businesses to exclusively use 1890 or 1850 numbers is contrary to the public interest and results in consumers incurring unnecessary expense; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


The matters raised by the Deputy are a customer service issue for the organisation or business concerned. The use and display of telephone numbers is an area in which I have no statutory function. In relation to the wider public sector, I will ask my officials to contact the Quality Customer Service Officers Network, which is managed by the Department of the Taoiseach, requesting that they advise Government Departments and State Agencies to display and use both local and lo-call numbers.

My own Department uses both a lo-call number and a standard local number to facilitate a choice for members of the public. These numbers are published on the Department’s website and in telephone directories.

Its interesting to see the referal of the issue to whatever that “Quality Customer Service Officers Network” is. As I wrote about last week, there are still some Departments and government organisations that don’t provide geographical alternative numbers. I wonder will these officers.


Government Departments using 1890 Numbers

esb_logoThis 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.


Contacting companies where the geographical alternative is in Northern Ireland

dialling_048_northern_ireland_numbersThere are a couple of companies listed on the A-Z page where the geographical alternative number is actually an 048 Northern Ireland number.

As suggested by one of our SayNoTo1890.com readers, you should check with your phone provider if calls to (048) are included in your free local calls as part of your phone package. Depending on your phone provider, they may very well be, saving yourself another few quid on call costs.

Another reader commented:

Many packages such as certain eircom or BT Ireland packages include all UK landline calls. So UK landline numbers are always useful in addition to Irish landline numbers, and can cost less (if you have the right tariff) than those dreaded 1890 numbers!


Same number but just different prefixes – the way of the 1890 future?

This interesting e-mail came through from a reader of the SayNoTo1890.com in the past couple of weeks.

I found out the alternative phone no. for Clean Ireland. It says 1890 361 800 on their website. I couldn’t find the alternative online so I decided trying the prefix 061 instead of 1890 and it worked. 061 is for Limerick, I knew that Clean Ireland is based in Limerick so that’s why I tried that. Perhaps this method will work for other 1890 numbers also. Or maybe you already knew that. So there’s another no. to add to your list, it’s 061 361 800 for Clean Ireland.

clean_ireland_logoIt’s an interesting development in the whole 1890 numbering issue when it comes to the geographical alternative numbers.

It’s probably not possible this late in the whole 1890 life of numbers with so many already assigned, but it’d be great if anyone looking for a new 1890 number in the future would just get the same number as their geographical alternative number.


Advertising Standards Authority and misleading information on phone numbers (cont.)

advertising_standards_authority_of_ireland_logoRecently I wrote about a complaint submitted by a SayNoTo1890.com reader to the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) about a florist in Waterford who advertised their 1850 number as a freephone number.

I myself made a complaint to the ASAI about one of the radio adverts for the Jack And Jill Foundation.

This one, voiced by the fake Eddie Hobbs, invites you to call their “cheap” phone number which is a 1890 number.

Obviously, if you’re calling from a mobile, this number is far from cheap – but no qualification to highlight that fact is mentioned in the advertising.

jack_and_jill_foundation_logoThe response from the ASAI was that they’d spoken to the Jack And Jill Foundation who said they wouldn’t use that particular advert again and that the issue was now closed.

Fair enough. Until the Jack And Jill Foundation started using the exact same advert again.


Advertising Standards complaint about misleading information on phone numbers

advertising_standards_authority_of_ireland_logoThis e-mail came through recently from a SayNoTo1890.com reader, the primary recipient of the mail being the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland.

There is a florist on Merchants Quay in Waterford City, the shopfront of which advertises thus…

Flowers by Lucy – FREEPHONE 1850 50 80 80

At 15:06 BST on Saturday 25 July I dialled the number advertised, the call lasted 23 seconds and the operator charged me 30 cent. Where a number advertised as FREEPHONE is dialled from any network licensed within the same jurisdiction (ie. The Republic of Ireland), no charge whatsoever should be incurred by the person initiating that phone call.

Please advise on the procedure for having this matter resolved.

I haven’t been included in any subsequent communications, but I can guess what the response will be from the Advertising Standards people.


When a 1800 (free) number becomes a 1890 number (paid)

upc logoThis is a trick that used to be used by NTL/UPC before they started focusing on their 1906 number. This e-mail from a SayNoTo1890.com reader shows that Dunnes Stores are doing the same thing:

just off the Dunnes Stores helpline. On the website you are directed to 1800-678999 but once as you call it says if you are using a mobile to use 1890-678999. I went on line to see what the difference was in the phone numbers and came accross your website….so just thought it might be of interest to you

dunnes stores logoI’m sure there’s some technical reason in the background as to why a company might do this – because it’s not as if Dunnes Stores make money off the 1890 number.

Anyone have any idea why?


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