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“Local rate” - “National rate” deception. (Read 91,091 times)
kk
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“Local rate” - “National rate” deception.
Mar 12th, 2006 at 11:41pm
 
“Local rate” - “National rate” deception.

For all practical purposes and for 99.9% of BT customers, no cost distinction exists between the so called “local rate call” and  “national rate call”.  As members of this site will know, a telephone call made to London, Leeds, Manchester or Glasgow, costs no more than a call made to next door - even from a payphone.   The same is true for the 40% or so subscribers who are not with BT and pay even less for calls.

A comparatively infinitesimal number of customers are on BT’s special rate “low user tariff”. On that tariff a cost difference does exist between local and national calls, they pay the so-called “standard call rate”.   Although the rate is comparatively rare, the “standard rate” is nevertheless quoted by organisations to justify the high cost of 084x and 087x numbers.

We are left with the Orwellian situation:-  99.9% of customers have a rate named “special options rate” and 0.1% of customers have a rate named “standard rate”.  It’s all in the name.

Ofcom now has a consultation on the strategic review of telephone numbering, if you think sanity may be coming, think again.  In that consultation (option 3a), Ofcom come up with the bizarre notion that the proposed “non revenue sharing and non-geographical” class of number beginning with “03", could have a sub range of “034" and “037" for local and national rate numbers respectively.  How daft is that?  The consultation document often refers to local and national rate; aiding and abetting the fiction.  This may well give the reader a clue as to how well thought out the proposals are.

BT should be honest and transparent and name the tariff rate of the 99.9% of customers as the standard rate and rejig the low user scheme.  BT could publicise the fact that all UK call rates are the same, irrespective of location, a fact not fully appreciated by most subscribers. They may be surprised by the money to be made from the extra call volume.
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kk
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Re: “Local rate” - “National rate” deception.
Reply #1 - Mar 23rd, 2006 at 8:47pm
 
Below is an abstract from a letter I received from HSBC Bank, after I complained to head office that my branch number had changed from geographical to non-geographical:

“...... To try and ensure that our customers pay nothing extra to contact us by telephone, regardless of where their call is answered, we have arranged with BT to provide a standard Lo-call number in the 08457 range. We [HSBC] are confident that most telephone companies charge for calls to 08457 numbers at a much lower rate than national rate calls ....  .  On balance we believe that we are making it simpler and cheaper for our customers to call us, wherever they are in the UK.  The cost to the Bank of providing this arrangement is substantial, and HSBC does not receive an income from telephone calls.   ........ ”

I have asked them to name one such telephone company.

Either the Bank is deceiving me or BT are deceiving the Bank.
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« Last Edit: Mar 24th, 2006 at 9:22am by kk »  

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kk
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Re: “Local rate” - “National rate” deception.
Reply #2 - Mar 24th, 2006 at 9:24am
 
The HSBC quote above has now been expanded to include the bit about the cost to the bank.
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bill
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Re: “Local rate” - “National rate” deception.
Reply #3 - Mar 24th, 2006 at 10:36am
 
kk wrote on Mar 23rd, 2006 at 8:47pm:
We [HSBC] are confident that most telephone companies charge for calls to 08457 numbers at a much lower rate than national rate calls ....  .  On balance we believe that we are making it simpler and cheaper for our customers to call us, wherever they are in the UK.  The cost to the Bank of providing this arrangement is substantial, and HSBC does not receive an income from telephone calls.   ........ ”

I have to say the BT salesman who managed to convince the telecoms department of a firm the size of HSBC that the above nonsense is true deserves his commission!

Thankfully, I never deal with HSBC so their customers can carry on contributing to "The cost to the Bank of providing this arrangement is substantial ....."
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trevord
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Re: “Local rate” - “National rate” deception.
Reply #4 - Mar 24th, 2006 at 12:39pm
 
kk wrote on Mar 23rd, 2006 at 8:47pm:
“...... To try and ensure that our customers pay nothing extra to contact us by telephone, regardless of where their call is answered, ...

They mean "customers pay nothing extra to [have] their call ... answered" in India.

kk wrote on Mar 23rd, 2006 at 8:47pm:
On balance we believe that we are making it simpler and cheaper for our customers to call us, wherever they are in the UK.

It's "simpler and cheaper for our customers to call us" on a UK number than calling India directly.

kk wrote on Mar 23rd, 2006 at 8:47pm:
The cost to the Bank of providing this arrangement is substantial, ...

... and our profits would be even more huge if we did not have to bear the cost of stupid customers wanting to speak to us.

kk wrote on Mar 23rd, 2006 at 8:47pm:
and HSBC does not receive an income from telephone calls.   ........ ”

"HSBC does not receive an income from telephone calls" after paying the cost of forwarding the calls to India and paying for all the necessary equipment.

... If only it weren't for these demanding customers who keep wanting access to their money ...

Cheesy
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trevord
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Re: “Local rate” - “National rate” deception.
Reply #5 - Mar 24th, 2006 at 1:10pm
 
kk wrote on Mar 23rd, 2006 at 8:47pm:
We [HSBC] are confident that most telephone companies charge for calls to 08457 numbers at a much lower rate than national rate calls ....

We mean 0845 call rates are "much lower" than 0870 (so-called 'national') call rates!

Cheesy
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juby
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Re: “Local rate” - “National rate” deception.
Reply #6 - Mar 24th, 2006 at 5:57pm
 
A very good view of the BBC's attitude to this question will be derived from "Listen Again" to BBC Feedback on Radio 4 today.

The latter part of the programme.

juby
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« Last Edit: Mar 24th, 2006 at 6:13pm by juby »  
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Tanllan
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Re: “Local rate” - “National rate” deception.
Reply #7 - Mar 27th, 2006 at 1:41pm
 
Tks for the reminder Juby. An interesting set of interviews and quotations.
"and calls to that number will cost no more than 8p per minute".
Now to find out what proportion of calls to 0870 numbers are made from mobiles...
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