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LoCall numbers that don’t add up for consumers

LoCall numbers that don’t add up for consumers

The Irish Times

Monday February 9th, 2015

Donal O’Connor asks whether it would be possible for us to comment on 1890 – so-called LoCall – numbers. He points out that a lot of public utilities use only these numbers, and, depending on your provider, calls to them can cost up to 35 cent a minute. He is not wrong.

Numbers prefixed 1850, 1890 or 0818 are sometimes referred to as Callsave or LoCall numbers. They are not classified as national or local calls, so operators generally do not include calls to these numbers in any free minutes they offer as part of a monthly fee.

Calls to 1850 numbers are charged at a flat rate per call. Calls to 1890 numbers are charged per minute, normally at local call rates for fixed-line providers.

The cost of making the same call using a mobile can be as high as 35 cent a minute. While many large organisations advertise their LoCall numbers as if they were entirely for the consumer’s benefit, they don’t make any mention of the potential cost.

The better companies will point to their regular “geographic” numbers too.

Saynoto1890.com is a website that has a comprehensive list of alternatives to 1890, 1850 and 0818 numbers, as does the app Forget 1850.


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”.


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