Readers e-mail – who’s impacted by these 1890, 1850 & 0818 numbers

which? logoThis e-mail came through from a user of the website in the recent past.

Came across your website after seeing Which? article about My bugbear is Sky customer services 0818 number – I had 4 hours of phone calls to them (trying to fix problem they caused with their new viewing cards!) If I had an ordinary national or local number I wouldn’t have had to pay anything as I have free national (except 0818 of course) and local calls tariff with eircom. The nice Glaswegian girl in Sky did try and find one. She gave me an 0845 number and told me it was only a local call rate(!!), but came up empty for Ireland. Another one is the 1850 373 772 for ESB public lighting section – I do my civic duty and reports light out and get charged for it. The nice Cork girl at the ESB couldn’t find a ‘normal’ number for me.

I didn’t realise the full consequences of the 1890 numbers, which the company I work for use. I don’t think we realise the latest consequences of our locall numbers.

Do businesses (who are the majority users of our locall numbers) suffer as much with the charging structure of 1890 as private customers? If you say they do, then I’ll certainly highlight your website and 1890 consequences with our marketing and customer service departments, as our intention is to provide a local cost service to our business clients and we’re not making any money from offering the 1890 numbers, so it must be the phone companies!

sky logoThere is no distinction between business and personal phone callers when using 1890 phone numbers – what does impact on all users of these numbers is the phone package that they’re on.

If they have a phone package with inclusive minutes, then these 1890, 1850 and 0818 numbers will cost those calling the numbers. In fact, it will cost significantly more than even if they were to call an 01 number without the inclusive minutes – sometimes up to 30c per minute.

0818 numbers being wrongly advertised as 1890

In the past, I’ve written how some unscrupulous companies may try to con potential callers by advertising their 0818 numbers in a way that makes them look harmless – i.e. 081 8. A recent trend I’m seeing these days is for companies to falsely advertise 0818 number as Lo Call numbers. While some people may not get the difference, they’re two completely distinct numbers – as detailed on the FAQ page here. This picture shows such a false advertising sign, though I do apologies it’s hard to make out.

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 Dublin City Council claiming 0818 number is Locall

What is an 1890 number?

An 1890 number is known as a LoCall number. It was devised to allow customers call businesses from all over the country, but for a flat local rate. So, you could call a business in Dublin for the same cost as calling a business around the corner.

What is an 0818 number?

An 0818 number is known as a National Call number. This type of phone number was devised to allow businesses charge an extra small premium above the regular cost of the call.

The different costs associated with 0818 and 1890 numbers are available here on the Costs page – in some cases there’s little difference, but there can be big differences depending on your operator.

I personally have a big problem with 0818 numbers. If a consumer is planning on dealing with a business, why should they have t0o pay a premium cost on their phone call costs just to find out more. I’ll personally stay away from any business that provides an 0818 contact number – particularly for sales, never mind customer support.

Note for those submitting numbers to

saynoto1890 iconJust a note to some people who think that can be used for free advertising. If you think about it, being listed on this site is really a reason for shame rather than self-promotion.

If you’re a company that only provides an 1890, 1850 or 0818 number (or makes it almost impossible to find a geographical alternative), and thereby makes it more expensive for many of your companies to contact you, then you’re pretty much failing at your customer service.

So, if you’re a company that doesn’t actually have an 1890, 1850 or 0818 number, then there’s really no point e-mailing me your phone number to get it listed here – we don’t need it as people can already find it on your website.


Reasons from one company why they only provide 1890 numbers for their customers

imagine_communications_logoThis information come to light in a Google Alert recently. It shows two reasons why Imagine WiMax won’t provide their customers with a geographical alternative for their 1890 customer care numbers.

Their first response to a customer query was:

The reason we have an 1890 number is because this number is charged at a flat rate for everyone in the country. So no matter where in Ireland you are calling from or what call package you have, it is a flat rate price. We feel this is the fairest option for everyone. Thanks.

When further pressed, they then came up with this plainly ridiculous excuse:

Hi Kevin, in the past we have used free phone and geo numbers as our main contact numbers however it leads to a lot of prank and irrelevant calls, basically people dial the number just because its free and block the lines for genuine calls. So the reason we and all other Telecoms provider don’t use geo numbers is to ensure the calls we receive are relevant and can be dealt with effectively.

And they then have the cheek to say “hope this helps”. Yeah, you hope it helps that it costs your customers more money than necessary to call you up. Nice!

Bank of Ireland changing from 1890 to 0818 number for Banking 365

bank of ireland logoJust noticed this on the Bank Of Ireland website

If calling from your mobile, the new number for Bank of Ireland phone banking services is 0818 365 365. If you are calling from a landline, however, you can still use 1890 365 365.

From 8th September 2010, customers will only be able to reach us from a mobile by using this new number – 0818 365 365, while landline users will still be able to use 1890.

Since calls from mobiles to a 1890 number are significantly more expensive to operate, the Bank has followed other major companies and introduced a new ‘telenumber’ to cater for these calls. In most cases there will be no difference in cost to customers calling from their mobile since mobile operators generally charge the same for a 1890 call as a 0818 call. However, you should check with your mobile service provider for more information on your own charges.

To paraphrase Bank Of Ireland here:

We’re using an 0818 number instead of 1890 for customers calling from mobile numbers (the growing majority of our customers since numbers of landlines are falling) so that we can make money off our customers even as they call us for our help.

It costs businesses to provide an 1890 number, but businesses make money for themselves from an 0818 number. So, in theory, the longer you’re held on the phone when they make this change, the more money they’ll make for themselves.

It’d be interesting to see if there’s a longer wait time for Bank Of Ireland clients from September 8th.

Don’t forget though, that the geographical alternative for the 1890 or the 0818 numbers is still 01 404 4000.

Tip of the Week (The Sunday Tribune)

the sunday tribute logoThe Sunday Tribune

Sunday January 25th, 2009

Gareth Naughton

Tip of the Week

Following on from last week’s bad value of the week – Smyth’s Toy Stores 1550 customer service number – the people behind contacted Money Talks with a list of alternative numbers for similarly expensive lines used by various companies. We had no joy using the alternative for Smyth’s but many of the others listed worked and, as they were included in our free minutes, cost nothing.



Tip of the Week (The Sunday Tribune)

the sunday tribute logoThe Sunday Tribune
Sunday May 18th, 2008
Eddie Lennon

Tip of the Week

Phone users are being ripped off when they make calls to government departments and large companies via 1850, 1890 and 0818 numbers. While mobile users who pay by bill have a block of “free” minutes credited to their phone each month, these minutes include standard land line and mobile numbers, but usually not other numbers.

Dialling these numbers can cost up to 49c per minute when calling from a mobile, and up to 8c a minute from a land line. Last week, the consumer awareness website published a useful list of land line numbers which you can contact as a cheaper alternative to the more expensive numbers. The list is available at

Lo-Call comes at a high cost (The Irish Times)


the irish times logoThe Irish Times

Conor Pope

Monday, May 26, 2008

SOUNDING OFF : Ripped off? Stunned by good value? Write, text or blog your experience to us

Stan Conroy in Dublin wrote to ask if we had noticed how many advertisers and service providers are increasingly using 1850 and 1890 “lo-call” contact numbers. “Nearly all government public services now use these numbers,” he says, and while on the surface it might seem like a good deal for consumers, it actually can work against people.

“Many telephone subscribers have Eircom or BT bundles (and there must be tens of thousands) which include ‘free’ local and national calls but with the notable exception of calls to 1850 and 1890, for which there is a charge. So for us 1850 and 1890 calls are anything but ‘lo-call'” he writes.

“1850 calls are charged at the local rate irrespective of duration while 1890 calls continue clicking up cost as the minutes go by.

“As most 1890 calls are to call centres this can build up to be significant cost. By the time you go through all the menus and then hang on for someone to answer, 10 minutes can easily go by, at a cost of about 50c, and that’s before you start to discuss your query. If you could deal with a call centre in 10 minutes that might be ok but experience tells me that it can be much longer and often means a call back to get all the information I require.

“Many of my non-public services are happy to give me a local number when I ask, for example, for AIB, BOI, Hibernian Insurance, Anglo Irish Bank.

“But State services have a reluctance or an inability to give out a local number.”

He accepts that the individual cost per call is not enormous “but the cumulative amount lining the coffers of Eircom etc must be significant”.

10 tips to help you save on your phone bill

rte Money

October 20th, 2008

7. Avoid non-geographic numbers

Most inclusive calls packages (such as BT Talk Plus) include all calls made to fixed (geographic) numbers, and exclude calls made to non-geographic numbers (ie 1890). If you need to call a non-geographic number, try to find out the geographic number for the business you are calling and dial that number instead. This can be obtained directly from the company itself or by visiting websites such as (Republic of Ireland) or (UK).

10 of the Worst Rip Offs – From You And Your Money

YouAndYourMoney-LogoYou And Your Money

September 25th, 2007

This was published recently in the You and Your Money print magazine, and it’s available here online also. This is only a subsection of the whole article – just the bits relevant to this website.

Beat the rip-off merchants! Brenda McNally rounds up the top ten rip-offs to watch out for.

From banking errors and dodgy billing practices to straightforward overcharging, big business has little hesitation about squeezing Irish consumers. Fortunately, industry watchdogs and consumer groups are flexing their muscles on our behalf.

But if you really don’t want to be ripped off in 2008, don’t repeat the mistakes of the past.

Take a look at our list of the top 10 ways consumers were ripped off in 2007 and, if you think you’ve been overcharged, don’t just pay whatever price you’re asked: exercise your vocal chords, query the bill and complain.


Locall and Callsave

Locall (1890) and Callsave (1850) telephone numbers look like a cost-saving option on paper, but that’s not the case for all of us. Irish consumers who are signed up to special telephone and mobile packages are needlessly paying up to €5 a time to ring ‘low cost’ telephone numbers.

This is because these numbers are excluded from the popular mobile and landline phone deals with exclusive minutes. The Consumers’ Association of Ireland (CAI) has highlighted the issue, calling on phone companies to include 1890 or 1850 numbers in their deals.

It has also said that firms with 1850, 1890 and 0818 numbers should do more to make their customers aware of how to make their calls cheaper.

If you’re on a special telephone package, make sure to check how much Locall and Callsave will cost you – if they cost more, try to find out the ordinary number for whatever company you’re looking to call. Why hold…

Alternative LandLine Numbers

You can beat the trap if you dial the ordinary landline numbers of companies: these should be listed on their websites or in telephone books alongside their 1890, 1850 and 0818 numbers. You can take down these numbers for a start:

AIB Phone Banking: 1890 242424 – use 01 6670024

Bank Of Ireland Phone Banking: 1890 365 365 – use 01 4044470

Bord Gais Energy Supply: 1850 632 632 – use 01 8190395

ESB Customer Supply: 1850 372 372 – use 01 8529534

VHI: 1850 44 44 44 – use 056 7753200

Hibernian Health: 1850 71 77 17 – use 056 7753200

Ticketmaster Ireland: 0818 719300 – use 01 4569569.

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