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Can Phone Companies Reverse Engineer 01/02 Calls? (Read 77,154 times)
SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Can Phone Companies Reverse Engineer 01/02 Calls?
Reply #75 - Sep 23rd, 2011 at 3:06am
 
I have now issued a media release. If any organ of the media wishes to cover the story, they may obtain a statement from Virgin Media.

There is no reason why anyone interested in the technical explanation for this error should not pursue VM about it. How close they would be able to get to the truth is anyone's guess. Ofcom has the powers to dig into this, but it is not obliged to report its findings in full.

The fact that it has been acknowledged as an error that must be corrected is sufficient for me in terms of the reason for the problem.


I am however concerned that many reports of the error were dismissed and covered by wholly spurious invented explanations devised by billing representatives who were acting with no true authority.

I received a message from the Complaints Team Manager including the following comments:

Quote:
... the call was charged at the correct destination rate ...
... Virgin media are unable to cover every eventuality in our terms and conditions ...
... Statements and opinions expressed in this email may not represent those of Virgin Media ...

Although the first quoted statement is now accepted as being false, the latter quoted statement indicated that it was totally meaningless anyway, as it could have simply been the opinion of one person. The contention that if an item is not covered by its published terms then Virgin Media can levy any charge it wishes, and describe it as "correct", is nothing but laughable. It is certainly untrue, but it may not be the view of Virgin Media.

The fact that a Complaints Team Manager is encouraged to make statements and express opinions without the authority of Virgin Media, whilst acting as the key representative of the company dealing with a customer, is disturbing. It implies that any old nonsense that will get rid of a complaint is acceptable, as it can be disowned later if necessary.

Whilst the general case has been resolved, I am still awaiting a resolution of the matter of my own account and a conclusion to the chain of correspondence including the comments quoted above.

I would be interested to see the letters of apology sent to the genuine victims of this overcharge, especially those who had previous complaints dismissed, even if a "goodwill" refund was offered.
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Can Phone Companies Reverse Engineer 01/02 Calls?
Reply #76 - Oct 6th, 2011 at 7:46pm
 
Members may be interested to note that further developments in this saga have been reported and discussed in the parallel thread on MSE - Calling Tesco #19
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rfctabs
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Re: Can Phone Companies Reverse Engineer 01/02 Calls?
Reply #77 - Oct 13th, 2011 at 11:05am
 
Thanks to SCV for taking this up with VM and getting a positive outcome for us all.

As a victim of the error, do I need to do anything with VM to get a refund of my erroneous call costs to Tesco? I haven't heard anything from VM about this and there have been no automatic credits to my bill as yet.
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bigjohn
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Re: Can Phone Companies Reverse Engineer 01/02 Calls?
Reply #78 - Oct 23rd, 2011 at 4:36am
 
It gets worst !

See this new thread on MSE

This time a Tesco 0161 geo number is called from Virgin Media and they are charged for calling a UK Mobile Number belonging to Tesco.

http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?p=47911043#post47911043

See also post 26 in this thread where a poster says the same thing happened to them.

http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=3493027&page=2
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« Last Edit: Oct 23rd, 2011 at 4:47am by bigjohn »  

BJ.
 
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Can Phone Companies Reverse Engineer 01/02 Calls?
Reply #79 - Oct 23rd, 2011 at 12:05pm
 
It is very clear that, contrary to what I have been advised, the problem has not yet been sorted.

For completeness, it may be noted that there are three threads on MSE covering this matter. In addition to the two mentioned above there is also http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?p=45867521.
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Dave
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Re: Can Phone Companies Reverse Engineer 01/02 Calls?
Reply #80 - Oct 23rd, 2011 at 12:12pm
 
bigjohn wrote on Oct 23rd, 2011 at 4:36am:
It gets worst !

See this new thread on MSE

This time a Tesco 0161 geo number is called from Virgin Media and they are charged for calling a UK Mobile Number belonging to Tesco.

The mobile telephone number in question is prefixed with 078228 which is allocated to Tesco's provider, Cable & Wireless UK.
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Re: Can Phone Companies Reverse Engineer 01/02 Calls?
Reply #81 - Oct 27th, 2011 at 2:24pm
 
I would just like to add another story here.

My dad works for Tesco and he was pretty gobsmacked to find his recent Virgin Media Phone bill at £60 for phone calls, of which £48.81 are these Operator Connected Call types.

It appears that every time you call Tesco and are put through to different departments you are eventually put through to a mobile beginning 078228.

The strangest thing on my dads bill, is that there are 12 calls with 0:00 Mins Secs but cost either £3.85 or £4.72.  9 have been billed at £3.85 and 3 have been billed at £4.72.

He rang up Virgin Media and they have said they are investigating.  We have heard nothing back but reading through this thread I believe this has been resolved and he should expect a refund on his next bill for an amount of £48.81?

## QUICK UPDATE ##

He was told today by a Scottish lady from Virgin Media that it is a National Problem that appears to be an issue when phoning Tesco's numbers. I assume this is most likely true for any phone number for departments such as the Opticians or Photoshop. He was told that he will get a refund on his next bill for all of these errors.
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« Last Edit: Oct 27th, 2011 at 2:34pm by byb3 »  
 
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Dave
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Re: Can Phone Companies Reverse Engineer 01/02 Calls?
Reply #82 - Oct 27th, 2011 at 2:30pm
 
byb3 wrote on Oct 27th, 2011 at 2:24pm:
I would just like to add another story here.

I've sent you a private message.  Wink
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Re: Can Phone Companies Reverse Engineer 01/02 Calls?
Reply #83 - Oct 27th, 2011 at 2:42pm
 
Hi Dave,

At the time he was calling in sick so it was a local number for the store that must have been given out to staff.

I think my family quite often call up to speak to my dad as he often works nights, so the other calls must have been to the local 01 number.

Regards,
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Re: Can Phone Companies Reverse Engineer 01/02 Calls?
Reply #84 - Oct 28th, 2011 at 12:02pm
 
byb3 wrote on Oct 27th, 2011 at 2:24pm:
He rang up Virgin Media and they have said they are investigating.  We have heard nothing back but reading through this thread I believe this has been resolved and he should expect a refund on his next bill for an amount of £48.81?

A further update today from one campaigner: Virgin Media STILL overcharging callers trying to avoid Tesco Business Rate numbers | Ofcom does nothing (no news there!)

I totally agree with the comments made on that page.

Ofcom should not be waiting until a certain number of complainants have made representations. It knows that there is an issue and it should act as a matter of principle.

There should be no threshold of number of consumers contacting the regulator before it acts. These people are those who notice that they have been overcharged and then decide to report the fact to the regulator.

By functioning in the way its does, Ofcom is acting to support wrongs that are done by providers, but which aren't noticed by a large enough group of consumers.

Furthermore, those who do report such matters will be less enthused to do so in the future, should they be on the receiving end of another provider that is behaving outside of the rules.
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« Last Edit: Oct 28th, 2011 at 12:26pm by Dave »  
 
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Dave
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Re: Can Phone Companies Reverse Engineer 01/02 Calls?
Reply #85 - Nov 4th, 2011 at 10:19pm
 
Ofcom launched a consultation the other day and having had a quick look at it, it struck a chord with the current status of the issue discussed in this thread.

Draft Enforcement Guidelines - Ofcom’s draft guidelines for the handling of competition complaints and complaints concerning regulatory rules

I'm not sure whether there's anything of any great interest to us within it.  Undecided
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Can Phone Companies Reverse Engineer 01/02 Calls?
Reply #86 - Nov 5th, 2011 at 12:13am
 
Dave wrote on Nov 4th, 2011 at 10:19pm:
Ofcom launched a consultation the other day and having had a quick look at it, it struck a chord with the current status of the issue discussed in this thread.

Draft Enforcement Guidelines - Ofcom’s draft guidelines for the handling of competition complaints and complaints concerning regulatory rules

I'm not sure whether there's anything of any great interest to us within it.  Undecided

Having had a brief look at the Ofcom document, I note that (despite being described as "draft") it is written in the present tense and fails to indicate where the content differs from the procedures being followed currently. This is simply an attempt to consolidate and gain implicit consent for (through having "consulted") the approach that Ofcom has been following for some time.

It is a charter for consumerism. Intervention will only occur when compelled by a weight of pressure from consumers. It is not sufficient for the interests of consumers or citizens to be seen to be damaged. Unless Ofcom itself decides that it wishes to deploy its limited resources to address an issue (to serve its own interests), only a vast number of complaints to its Contact Centre will be likely to trigger an investigation.

This may be an issue of the resources which Ofcom has, or it may be a matter of policy - it is impossible to determine which. The problem is that, as Ofcom is an essentially unaccountable QUANGO, there is no ready mechanism by which to get to know the answer. Ofcom's only accountability is to parliament, through the Culture Media and Sport Committee, which has an annual evidence session with the Chairman and Chief Executive.

All of this touches on other political issues, which I will not expand here, but there is much food for thought.
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Can Phone Companies Reverse Engineer 01/02 Calls?
Reply #87 - Nov 5th, 2011 at 4:50am
 
Further to my unkind comments about Ofcom in the previous posting, perhaps now is a good time to express my thanks for a series of formal statements provided to me earlier this year.

The statements included in the letter published at this link are intended for formal publication and attribution to Ofcom.

Because they reflect a degree of balance and moderation, as must be shown in formal statements, they may not contain all that we may seek to debunk the nonsense that is spouted from certain quarters. I believe that they are however useful. (The final versions of the wording used was the subject of some debate and negotiation.)

Although provided to me, they are intended for public use, with the modest qualifications stated in the letter.

I invite any member who wishes to make proper use of these statements in any context to do so. Mr Sivak will be happy to be named as the source within Ofcom to confirm that they are authentic. When used, they must be attributed to OFCOM as public statements, not to him personally, nor with any reference to myself.

(I have added this posting here, to a current discussion, and as it has some relevance in balancing the view of Ofcom expressed above. Moderators or members may wish to draw attention to this publication in another thread, or perhaps start a new thread to discuss it.)
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Re: Can Phone Companies Reverse Engineer 01/02 Calls?
Reply #88 - Nov 5th, 2011 at 4:43pm
 
SilentCallsVictim wrote on Nov 5th, 2011 at 4:50am:
The statements included in the letter published at this link are intended for formal publication and attribution to Ofcom.


"Only 03 is charged the same as 01 and 02 numbers and generally included in calling plans."

That is a trifle ambiguous. I am hoping that it means that if 01 and 02 are included in a calling plan, then so is 03, not that operators can choose to include 01 and 02 numbers in calling plans but exclude 03 numbers, which I thought was not allowed.
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Can Phone Companies Reverse Engineer 01/02 Calls?
Reply #89 - Nov 5th, 2011 at 7:16pm
 
kasg wrote on Nov 5th, 2011 at 4:43pm:
… That is a trifle ambiguous. I am hoping that it means that if 01 and 02 are included in a calling plan, then so is 03, not that operators can choose to include 01 and 02 numbers in calling plans but exclude 03 numbers, which I thought was not allowed.

You are absolutely correct. It is ambiguous, but it does mean what you suggest (and the author would be ready to confirm this if questioned). Where 01 and 02 are included, 03 must be also. Some calling plans may exclude 01, 02 and 03 under certain conditions.

I will not share the detail of the lengthy and heated correspondence which led to me happily accepting what was offered, after a number of requests for revision had been satisfied. The general thrust of each of the statements is sufficiently positive (from our perspective) to carry these minor (if fully justified) quibbles.

I note and respect the suggestion that quotations should use the full question and answer. I am however prepared to use extracts when they are identified as such (perhaps using an ellipsis - …). There are contexts where the reference to packages is unnecessary and its omission cannot be said to be corrupting the meaning of the statement.

I offer these statements for use by others. They may wish to follow the same approach as myself. Ultimately it is for Ofcom to confirm or deny the authenticity of any statement attributed to it.
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