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Message started by Olly on May 20th, 2005 at 7:23pm

Title: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Olly on May 20th, 2005 at 7:23pm
Hola

It seems National Rail Enquiries have cottoned on to the fact people are circumventing their 0845 number.

When ringing the London number, the system detects you're calling from the UK and you just get a depressed-sounding woman advising you of the "proper" number.

It sucks, however it seems that the 0191 number still works. For now!

Olly :)

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by lompos on May 20th, 2005 at 8:45pm
Suggest you try:

a)
if using BT putting 141 before the geographical number;

b)
using a service provider other than BT.

it is likely that with a) or b) the called party cannot automatically detect the origin of the call.

You did not make clear if the depressed sounding woman was real or just a tape recording.

If you were talking to a real person I suggest you to tell a fib by saying that you are calling from abroad.  It is all in a good cause!!!!!


Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by bigjohn on May 21st, 2005 at 6:51am
They appear to have a bit of kit on the 0207 2785240 number that detects if the call originates from the uk ,whether or not you dial 141,or use an alternative carrier 18866 in my case.Then it diverts you to the boring ladies recording.

However not to be put off by them i found a way round it.
Call it from your mobile as follows +44207 2785240 and it thinks you are phoning from abroad and puts you through to a live operator.. Better still ring the other alternative no.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by DSA on May 21st, 2005 at 1:09pm
No, as far as I can see (and I just checked it), a lady comes on advising of an automated service via 0871, but if you wish to speak to a real person just hold.  After about 30s you get put through.

It is the same as is on the 0845 number, as I had to call it last week (not knowing about the geographic one!).

Best Wishes,
David

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by bigjohn on May 21st, 2005 at 1:49pm
David. Welcome to the site.
I live i Hants and when i ring the London Geographical No, it most definitely gives me the recorded announcement that it is only for overseas callers,then it gives me the 0845 number,then it cuts me straight off!!!Was you definitely ringing 0207 2785240? I ask because you talk about an 0871 number?

If we are calling the same no, this is probaly occuring due to the fact that they have several call centres answering there traffic, and the one that Lompos and i are hitting does not give us the opportunity of waiting,and yours does.

I get straight through on the 0191 no.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by bbb_uk on May 21st, 2005 at 3:10pm
I too also get told this number (0207 2785240) is for international calls as well and don't get an option to hold or speak to anyone else!

However, ringing the 0191 218 8004 is ok.  I live in Liverpool!

UPDATE:  Ringing from my o2 mobile (with or without the international dialling code +44), I can get through to the 0207 number without any problems.  Just when ringing from our landline!!  My number was withheld at all times whether from mobile or landline.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by bigjohn on May 21st, 2005 at 3:36pm
Thanks i am glad i wasnt imagining things!!!

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by DSA on May 21st, 2005 at 4:17pm
Ah now that would explain it, as I was ringing from my 3 mobile.  Seems to be a problem from landlines.

It seems like the alternative number needs to be used from landlines then.  Anyhow I have changed the number in my phonebook to the free one!  I wonder how many more I can find....

Best Wishes,
David

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by bigjohn on May 21st, 2005 at 5:12pm
Calls from mobiles are probaly routed to the Northern Call Centre.

Happy Hunting!!!

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by lompos on May 21st, 2005 at 9:17pm
from London:

the 0191 218 5004 number does work - a live agent answers

the 0207 278 5240 number does not work - a recorded message advises to call the 0845 number

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by bill on May 21st, 2005 at 11:04pm

wrote on May 21st, 2005 at 9:17pm:
[u]the 0191 218 5004 number does work - a live agent answers

Good grief.  Don't you just love their terminology!

What are they involved in - some sort of espionage?

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by andy9 on May 22nd, 2005 at 6:24pm
I get exactly as DSA describes - the announcement of 08712004950 number for automated info , then hold to speak to someone.

I was ringing from Orange.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by lompos on May 22nd, 2005 at 7:32pm
Hello Bill

Here are all the definitions for agent (Chambers Dictionary):

person or thing that acts or exerts power;

any natural force acting on matter;

one authorised or delegated to transact business for another;

formerly a bank manager;

formerly the representative of the government in a group of Indian states;

a paid political party worker;

a secret agent, spy

You see, the chap in National Rail Enquiries does not have to be James Bond ......

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Heinz on May 22nd, 2005 at 7:37pm

wrote on May 22nd, 2005 at 7:32pm:
Hello Bill

Here are all the definitions for agent (Chambers Dictionary):

person or thing that acts or exerts power;

any natural force acting on matter;

one authorised or delegated to transact business for another;

formerly a bank manager;

formerly the representative of the government in a group of Indian states;

a paid political party worker;

a secret agent, spy

You see, the chap in National Rail Enquiries does not have to be James Bond ......

He he.

Presumably, they think the first one applies in this case!

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by nanstallon on Apr 30th, 2006 at 6:14pm
Isn't it amazing?  Rip off numbers are so important to these organisations that they go to the trouble of installing detection equipment to 'catch' people who try to avoid the rip off.  As if the consumer is in the wrong for daring to try to evade this 'tax'!

John

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by wacs on Jul 3rd, 2006 at 7:19pm

bbb_uk wrote on May 21st, 2005 at 3:10pm:
I too also get told this number (0207 2785240) is for international calls as well and don't get an option to hold or speak to anyone else!

However, ringing the 0191 218 8004 is ok.  I live in Liverpool!

UPDATE:  Ringing from my o2 mobile (with or without the international dialling code +44), I can get through to the 0207 number without any problems.  Just when ringing from our landline!!  My number was withheld at all times whether from mobile or landline.


I don't have any problems with this number, but I use my (BT line) onetel override service (free geographical calls for me) and I think Onetel from what they told me years ago route the calls through all different providers - poss overseas (don't know how this works)- which may account for not having any problems getting through.  So another solution is, if you have onetel - use onetel automatic override service, or the 'onetel phone pal' would probably work as well (do they still do them?) :)

Title: Re: National Rail Enquiries
Post by colin37400 on Dec 23rd, 2006 at 10:25pm
Recently I found that the 0191 number no longer works. I have therefore been emailing National Rail Enquiries ... abridged correspondence is below for anyone interested:

***
me:
Until recently I was able to call rail enquiries on an 0191 number. (Although I don't think this was ever advertised). This was useful for calling from a mobile phone, as 0845 numbers are not included in the "free" minutes which are included in most peoples phone tarifs. Calling the 0845 number becomes expensive from a mobile phone, especially if one is on hold for a while before the call is actually answered. Why do you not have a number mobile users can call within their "free" minutes?

NRE:
Thank you for your eMail.
The only number that is available is the 08457 48 49 50 number, with a separate from for calling from abroad.
We will pass on your comments to the relevant team for consideration in the future.
Once again thank you for your eMail.

me:
Thank you for your prompt reply but it does not answer my query about why the situation is as it is.
Are you able to explain why the 0191 number previously available can no longer be used?
Also, I would appreciate a response to my comments from "the relevant team" so that I can be confident that they have been taken seriously.

NRE:
Once again thank you for your eMail.
We have had now confirmation that the 0845 number will be the only number for the forseable future, and that they are not considering altering it as the 0845 number is only a local rate call.
Once again thank you for your eMail.

me:
Your explanation that "they are not considering altering it as the 0845 number is only a local rate call" is not satisfactory because (as stated in my original email):
- The 0845 number may be a local rate call from landlines but from mobiles it is expensive. This is because it is excluded from the numbers which can be called using the inclusive minutes which are part of nearly all mobile phone contracts.
- If an alternative standard (ie geographical) number were provided, this could be used by people calling from mobiles. This option is provided by other helpline/customer service operators.
- The issue of making it easy to call from a mobile is an important one because most frequently it is when one is out and about that it is useful to be able to check train times.
- Until recently an 0191 number was available. You have not explained why this no longer works.
- I don't see why it should be difficult or expensive to simply provide an alternative number which would then connect through to the main one.
Could you please respond to these points.

NRE:
Once again thank you for your eMail.
We do apologise for any inconvenience that may have been caused.
Unfortunately as previously advised the 0845 number is the only one available, we have no plans to include another number for mobile users.
The 0191 number you refer to was to a Customer Relations Department who answered queries for you, this has now been withdrawn.
You can of course access our Online Journey Planner on our website, where you can obtain the information the same as by calling us.
Once again thank you for your eMail.

me:
I would be grateful if you could actually answer my queries, instead of sending me stock replies.
- "Unfortunately as previously advised the 0845 number is the only one available, we have no plans to include another number for mobile users." - you've already told me this; my question was why you have no plans to include another number, given the points that I made in my last email.
- "The 0191 number you refer to was to a Customer Relations Department who answered queries for you," - no, it was this number: 0191 2188004 and it took me through to a customer adviser just like the 0845 number does.
- "this has now been withdrawn" - why?
- "You can of course access our Online Journey Planner on our website, where you can obtain the information the same as by calling us." - no, I can't if I'm standing in the street or on a station platform, which is when I would be calling from a mobile.

NRE:
Thank you for your eMail.
The 0845 number is charged at your operators Lo-Call rate.
This charge is set by your mobile operator and you should contact them regarding the cost of calls.
The 0845 number is well known and advertised. Other services for mobile users are now available.
TrainTracker Text will give information on direct services.
Journey information from the Journey Planner can be sent as a text message to your mobile phone.
A WAP service is also available to mobile users.
The 0191 number was a back-door access into our Newcastle call centre and this has been closed. This number was never made available to the public.
Once again, we thank you for your eMail.

(continued in my next post)

Title: Re: National Rail Enquiries
Post by colin37400 on Dec 23rd, 2006 at 10:35pm
A continuation of my correspondence with National Rail Enquiries from my previous post:


NRE:
Thank you for your eMail.
The 0845 number is charged at your operators Lo-Call rate.
This charge is set by your mobile operator and you should contact them regarding the cost of calls.
The 0845 number is well known and advertised. Other services for mobile users are now available.TrainTracker Text will give information on direct services.
Journey information from the Journey Planner can be sent as a text message to your mobile phone.A WAP service is also available to mobile users.The 0191 number was a back-door access into our Newcastle call centre and this has been closed. This number was never made available to the public.
Once again, we thank you for your eMail.

me:
I'm sorry but I do not feel that this is a satisfactory response.
My main question is why you do not provide an alternative to the 0845 number.
Yes, the charge is set by my mobile operator, and it is higher than that for a standard geographical number. This is true for all mobile operators, as far as I am aware. The point is that you are aware that this charge is higher but you are not willing to provide an alternative, for reasons which you seem reluctant to disclose.
I originally found the 0191 number on this website: www.saynoto0870.com. You will see from the number of users of this website that I am not alone in being frustrated by the use of non-geoographical numbers.
The 0191 worked fine but it seems you have proactively shut it down, again for reasons you seem unwilling to disclose.
There is also an 020 number for callers from abroad but it seems I am actively blocked from using this too. Why?
The other mobile services you mention are not equivalent to the telephone enquiry service, particularly when a complicated journey is involved, and they are all chargeable.
Once again my main question is why you do not provide an alternative to the 0845 number. Is there a technical or financial difficulty in doing so? Do mobile calls to the 0845 number generate revenue for you?
I intend to refer this matter on to Passenger Focus if I do not recieve a proper response.

NRE:
Thank you for your eMail.
Please accept my sincere apologies for any incorrect information you feel you have received and for any inconvenience caused.
To address the issues you have raised you will need to contact National Rail Enquiries Customer Relations. I have taken the liberty of forwarding your details direct to them, and requested they contact you with a more specific response.

Next I recieve the following email from NRE Customer relations:


Re: Your complaint/comments involving National Rail Enquiries
Thank you for your eMail, the details of which have been passed for my attention by our Online Team.
Having fully reviewed your correspondence I feel I can only reiterate the points raised by our Online Team.
During the privatisation of National Rail Enquiries we received a high volume of feedback from customers saying that they would like one central number to call. From this feedback National Rail Enquiries came up with the low-call number 08457 48 49 50.
National Rail Enquiries have no intention of changing the 0845 number, as this is one central non-geographical number that covers four different locations internationally. It is however charged at a low call rate.
The 0191 telephone number should never have been made available to the public and has now been withdrawn. The 020 number you are referring to is for international callers only and only accepts calls from outside the UK.
If you are not happy with the cost of calling our service you will need to contact your service provider who may be able to change your tariff to include non-geographical numbers.
National Rail Enquiries are constantly striving to provide an efficient information service and I would like to thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. I am sorry I can not be of any further assistance and I trust we will serve you well in the future.


Title: Re: National Rail Enquiries
Post by colin37400 on Dec 23rd, 2006 at 10:37pm
(carrying on from my previous two posts)

here is my latest email to National Rail Enquiries. I don't expect to hear back for a while due to christmas holidays etc but when I do, I'll post their response, if anyone's interested:

*************

Thank you for getting back to me.

However, as you say you merely reiterate the points made by your "online team", and do not provide a satisfactory explanation as to why an alternative, standard 01- or 02- number cannot be provided.

I understand your reasons for wanting to have one centralised number that is easy for people to remember, and do not doubt that you recieved positive feedback from users when this was originally suggested, presumably some years ago.

You describe the 0845 number as "low-call", but the simple point I am trying to make is that for many people, an 01- or 02- number is significantly cheaper to call than an 0845 number. These people include the vast majority of mobile phone users, as well as those who use companies other than BT for their home phone lines. Ten minutes of research on the internet will demonstrate to you that this is an issue that frustrates many people.

I feel that, if your role is to provide rail information to the public, it should be your duty to take into account the needs of all of your users (ie. not just those calling from BT landlines) by providing them with a cost effective way of obtaining this information.

It may be that when the service was originally set up, an 0845 number provided this, because the majority of calls were made from BT landlines but this is no longer true.

You seem to suggest that I should be contacting my phone service provider to try and somehow persuade them to change their tariff. This does not seem reasonable. It is their right to charge me the rates they set out in their terms which I agreed to when I signed a contract with them. My service provider is not unusual in charging more for non-geographical numbers. By implication, you are suggesting that a large proportion of your customers should be complaining to their phone service providers that calling your number costs too much. Why should it be their problem that you have chosen to offer an expensive number, and deliberately bar usage of a cheaper alternative?

My suggestion is that you could provide an alternative, 01- or 02- number that would connect through to the same system as the 0845 number. This seems to me a very simple thing to do; indeed, certain other companies already provide this option.

You have failed to give any reason why this cannot be done. I do not understand why you seem so unwilling to consider this, especially given the fact that there is already an 020 number for international callers. If I am mistaken in thinking that this is not a complicated or expensive thing to do, then please explain to me why.

If you can not provide me with a proper response then I will take this issue up with Passenger Focus.

Thank you for your time.

Title: Re: National Rail Enquiries
Post by Dave on Dec 24th, 2006 at 8:06pm

colin37400 wrote on Dec 23rd, 2006 at 10:37pm:
You describe the 0845 number as "low-call", but the simple point I am trying to make is that for many people, an 01- or 02- number is significantly cheaper to call than an 0845 number. These people include the vast majority of mobile phone users, as well as those who use companies other than BT for their home phone lines. Ten minutes of research on the internet will demonstrate to you that this is an issue that frustrates many people.

You must be applauded for replying back to these people. I must point out the above error in your reply which implies that BT subscribers are charged the "local rate" for 0845 numbers. This is not the case for the majority who are now on BT Together Option 1.

The only BT packages where rates are linked are so-called non-discounted ones. This included BT Standard and Light User Scheme, amongst others. In July 2004 BT scrapped BT Standard and forced some nine-million on it onto BT Together Option 1. Calls to 0845 numbers cost 3p/min in the daytime, 1p/min in the evening and 0.5p/min during the weekend on all BT Together Options. Compare that to a 01/02 number on Option 1: daytime: 3p/min evening & weekend 5.5p for upto 1 hour.

Have a read of some of threads on here.  ;)

Title: Re: National Rail Enquiries
Post by NGMsGhost on Dec 25th, 2006 at 7:24pm

colin37400 wrote on Dec 23rd, 2006 at 10:37pm:
(carrying on from my previous two posts)

here is my latest email to National Rail Enquiries. I don't expect to hear back for a while due to christmas holidays etc but when I do, I'll post their response, if anyone's interested:


Suggest that to get anywhere you need to write to George Muir (george.muir@atoc.org), Director General of ATOC (who run National Rail enquiries), directing him to the three ASA (Advertising Stanards Authority) guidances indicating that 0845 calls are not Local Rate/Lo-Call and to trading standards opinions on this matter that have previously been given.

See www.atoc-comms.org/bios.asp for more information on Mr Muir.  You also ought to copy in the CEO of your own local train operating company and your Member of Parliament (see www.writetothem.com) as only MPs can force the imbeciles at Ofcom to regulate to make it a serious offence punishable by a large fine to go on claiming that 0845 is Lo-Call/Local Rate.

You might also like to refer to ATOC's current infringement of the EU Misleading Advertising Directive and possibly refer the matter to your MEP via www.writetothem.com

You could ask your MP to refer Ofcom's failure to take action to stop continued lieing that 0845 is Lo-Call/Local Rate to the Parliamentary Ombudsman for further investigation as Ofcom are accountable only to Parliament for their actions.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by colin37400 on Dec 30th, 2006 at 6:47pm
Thanks for the various comments. I note the point that this issue affects some BT users as well.

Below is the fairly pathetic response from NRE, implying that they just can't be bothered to even give me any reasons for their decision, let alone consider doing anything about it. So I will pass the matter on to Passenger Focus, and may write to the head of ATOC and others depending on the response. I'll post replies here.

From NRE:

Re: Your complaint/comments involving National Rail Enquiries
Thank you for your response.
I am sorry to hear that you found my response unsatisfactory and you feel this matter is still unresolved.
As your complaint can not be resolved I feel the only way forward would be to contact Passenger Focus. Should you decide to contact them their details are:
Passenger Focus
Freepost WA1521
Warrington
WA4 6GP
Telephone: 08453 022 022
hello@passengerfocus.org.uk
National Rail Enquiries are constantly striving to provide an efficient information service and I trust that we will serve you well in the future.
Yours Sincerely
Bev Coleman
Customer Relations
National Rail Enquiries

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by IAVOID0870 on Jan 1st, 2007 at 12:47am
Happy New Year People...... :) ;)

Sorry to interupt your letters / replies but I have just found this page below and not sure of it is of any use (or indeed still in date), but I post the link for others to use / see / try.....

I found it on:

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/cgi-bin/viewnews.cgi?newsid1154104247,31062,

and it reads:

The easiest way to do this is by getting a Timetable online or simply calling National Rail Enquiries on 01912 188 004.



colin37400 wrote on Jan 1st, 2007 at 12:58pm:
Yes, that 0191 number used to work, but has recently been closed down, as you'll see from reading previous messages in this thread. That's what initially prompted my writing to NRE.



Yeah, sorry  - Just noticed that !  :-[ :-[ :-[


Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by colin37400 on Jan 1st, 2007 at 12:58pm
Yes, that 0191 number used to work, but has recently been closed down, as you'll see from reading previous messages in this thread. That's what initially prompted my writing to NRE.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by David0845 on Jan 3rd, 2007 at 2:02pm
Having arrived at this thread after finding the 0191 number no longer works, I have emailed Nat Rail Enqs but expect only the same robotic response.  This looks to me like something a few newspapers would be interested in...

David

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by colin37400 on Jan 3rd, 2007 at 4:49pm
I'd encourage anyone who's arrived at this thread in frustration at being barred from the 0191 / 020 numbers to email National Rail Enquiries.

You can do it easily from their website here:

http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/feedback/index.html?a=displayFeedbackForm&category=Complaints

The more complaints they get, thet more likely they are to start taking it seriously.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by NGMsGhost on Jan 3rd, 2007 at 6:54pm

David0845 wrote on Jan 3rd, 2007 at 2:02pm:
This looks to me like something a few newspapers would be interested in...

David


Suggest that to get anywhere you need to write to George Muir (george.muir@atoc.org), Director General of ATOC (who run National Rail enquiries), directing him to the three ASA (Advertising Stanards Authority) guidances indicating that 0845 calls are not Local Rate/Lo-Call and to trading standards opinions on this matter that have previously been given.

See www.atoc-comms.org/bios.asp for more information on Mr Muir.  You also ought to copy in the CEO of your own local train operating company and your Member of Parliament (see www.writetothem.com) as only MPs can force the imbeciles at Ofcom to regulate to make it a serious offence punishable by a large fine to go on claiming that 0845 is Lo-Call/Local Rate.

You might also like to refer to ATOC's current infringement of the EU Misleading Advertising Directive and possibly refer the matter to your MEP via www.writetothem.com

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by IAVOID0870 on Jan 4th, 2007 at 12:46am
It wont achieve anything, but hey! Another complaint registered !






FEEDBACK CONFIRMATION
Thank you for your email. The information you provided was submitted as follows:



From: N/A N/A

Subject: I have a complaint about: Other

From: N/A N/A at 04/01/2007 00:42:05

Have you seen the www.saynoto0870.com website ? if so, why are you insistent in using a RIP OFF number 0845 ? It is about time you provided an alternative GEOGRAPHICAL NUMBER for people to call you on, instead of using a NON GEOGRAPHICAL NUMBER of which is not included in most (if not all) peoples call plans provided and paid for, so why should we PAY EVEN MORE JUST TO CALL YOU CLOWNS? NO, D1CK TURPIN HIGHWAY ROBBERS are the best words for you. In case you are not sure, Im not happy by being ripped off......





The email address used was: <<DELETED>> . If necessary replies will be sent to this address.

We endeavour to respond to all queries within 24 hours. Your email address will not be used for any purpose other than acknowledging your feedback and sending you a further reply if required.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by James0870 on Jan 4th, 2007 at 2:27pm
So, I'd got very used to the 0191 number, and have been dismayed by its withdrawal. I sent a polite complaint this morning:

Dear National Rail Enquiries,

I am unhappy at having to use your 0845 number to receive information about
railway timetables. Please could you supply me with your geographical number
that I could use as an alternative,

Many thanks,

XXXXX


I got a very prompt reply back a few hours later:


Dear XXXX

Thank you for your eMail.

We have no geographical number you can use, the only number is the 08457 48 49
50 a local rate number, or the new text service.

As an alternative you can always send us and eMail, and we will be happy to
answer your queries.

Once again thank you for your eMail.

Regards,

Customer Services Team
National Rail Enquiries Online


I am working on a reply, will keep you all posted,

James

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Keith on Jan 4th, 2007 at 2:41pm
Here are my communications with them in REVERSE chronological order (read from end!). I await their next reply. This has been going on now for sometime now.
_______________

Dear

Thank you for your eMail.

Please accept my sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused.

As you do not seem to be be able to get a response from the Association of Train
Operating Companies on this matter, we have passed your details on to National
Rail Enquiries Customer Relations and requested they contact you with a more
specific response.

Should you need to contact them, their details are:

National Rail Enquiries
Selectapost 31
Rotherham
S97 3ZX

Telephone: 0870 243 3335

Email: nationalrailenquiriescustomerrelations@ventura-uk.com

I trust you will receive a satisfactory response in due course.

Regards,

Customer Services Team
National Rail Enquiries Online
___________________________________

Yes but for this specific issue it directs me back to you. You send me to them, they
send me to you!

Can I escalate this please?

Thanks Keith.

________________________________________

>Dear
>
>Thank you for your eMail.
>
>The contact us section of the Association of Train Operating Companies
>website contains a number of contacts not just for us.
>
>The address you need to send to is enquiry@atoc.org
>
>We trust that this information is of help to you.
>
>Regards,
>
>Customer Services Team
>National Rail Enquiries Online
___________________________________
>
>Thank you.
>
>I went to the web site you gave me and it directs me back to you. It
>specifically says for comments and complaints complete the form on your
>web site (they give a link to it) or email you at your email address
>(which they also give).
>
>Now what do I do?
>
>Keith.
__________________________________
>
>>Dear
>>
>>Thank you for your eMail.
>>
>>Contact details for the Association of Train Operating Companies can be
>>found on their own website at www.atoc.org in their contact us section.
>>
>>We trust that this information is of use to you.
>>
>>Regards,
>>
>>Customer Services Team
>>National Rail Enquiries Online
____________________________________________

>>Thank you for your reply it is appreciated.
>>
>>Can you put me in contact with them please as this is bizarre. I would
>>like to escalate this with someone in senior management as this is such
>>bad customer relations.
>>
>>To the best of my knowledge you are the only organisation that does
>>this.
>>
>>Why on earth did you spend time and resources to block and therefore
>>disadvantage your customers and cost them extra money and for which
>>there is absolutely no benefit to yourselves. It is a bit like running
>>trains with no doors! As I said no other organisation I know does this.
>>
>>This would seem to be a perverse thing to do.
>>
>>Since sending this email I did a search on the internet and found I'm
>>not the only one complaining about this. This is featured on Martin
>>Lewis's web site www.moneysavingexpert.com. Martin is a very influential
>>campaigner appearing on many news and business  programmes. I also found
>>that there is a whole thread on this on saynoto0870.com and the comments
>>about this service there are very damning.
>>
>>Do you really want this sort of publicity, especially when it is
>>completely unnecessary and surely can't involve any cost to you.
>>
>>Regards Keith.
>>
_______________________________________
>>
>>>Dear ,
>>>
>>>Thank you for your eMail.
>>>
>>>National Rail Enquiries is a service operated on behalf on the
>>>Association Of Train Operating Companies and decisions on the telephone
>>>services and the numbers they are provided on are their responsibility.
>>>
>>>They have no plans to unblock the international number or provide any
>>>geographic numbers.
>>>
>>>Again we thank you for your eMail.
>>>
>>>Regards,
>>>
>>>Customer Services Team
>>>National Rail Enquiries Online
__________________________________

>>>Thank you for your reply. I appreciate the reply but you haven't
>>>answered my question.
>>>
>>>I did put a little time into asking the question so if possible it would
>>>be appreciated if you could spend a little time in answering the
>>>question. It would be appreciated as it is a reasonable question and a
>>>request that all other organisation I am aware of do offer.

>>>It would save me money as it would many many thousands of others and it
>>>would be at no cost to yourself and it is what most other organisations
>>>do. As I said in the original email I know of no other organisation who
>>>blocks the use of the International number.
>>>
>>>Please find the time to make a considered response.
>>>
>>>Thank you, Keith.
________________________________________

>>>>Dear ,
>>>>
>>>>Thank you for your eMail.
>>>>
>>>>We are sorry for any inconvenience that may have been caused.
>>>>
>>>>The number +44(0)20 7278 5240 is only available for calls from
>>>>outside the UK.
>>>>
>>>>National Rail Enquiries only has one number 08457 48 49 50 which is
>>>>available 24 hours a day for callers to make an enquiry.

>>>>Once again we thank you for your eMail.
>>>>
>>>>Regards,
>>>>
>>>>Customer Services Team
>>>>National Rail Enquiries Online
__________

CONTINUED:

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Keith on Jan 4th, 2007 at 2:41pm
Contiuned from previous post:

I wanted to call re a train enquiry but noted the numbers were 0845
>>>>numbers. As I have an inclusive call package with BT these are
>>>>expensive calls for me and effectively mean I pay for the call twice.
>>>>It is normal practise for organisations to provide a geographic number
>>>>for overseas calls which I was pleased to see you do and it is is
>>>>normal practise for people on inclusive plans to use these numbers if
>>>>an alternative geographic number is not given so as to avoid the double
>>>>charge.
>>>>
>>>>I tried your number for overseas calls and it was blocked. Why would
>>>>you do this? I do not know of any other organisation that does so and I
>>>>can't think of any rationale for doing so.
>>>>
>>>>This is frustrating as an 0845 number is no longer a 'Local' call these
>>>>having been replaced 2 years ago so for everyone the call costs at
>>>>least as much as a call to anywhere in the UK and for the large number
>>>>of people on inclusive plans like myself they are extremely bad value
>>>>as I should be able to make such a call free having paid a premium
>>>>already to do so. In fact I can call the USA and Australia for less!
>>>>
>>>>Can this block be taken off the International number please as it can
>>>>not benefit anyone by it being there.
>>>>
>>>>Many Thanks Keith.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by NGMsGhost on Jan 4th, 2007 at 3:14pm
Keith,

National Rail Enquiries is actually operated by ATOC on behalf of all the train operating companies.  National Rail Enquiries is merely therefore an operating unit of ATOC.

Therefore to get a sensible reply on a policy based question you will need to email ATOC's CEO george.muir@atoc.org as I originally suggested.

Trying to getting an intelligent reply from the robotic life forms who usually work for customer services is unfortunately simply never going to happen.  I always remain baffled that some of you feel it is more productive to continue dealing with the customer service monkeys in an organisation rather than taking your question direct to the company's main organ grinder. ;) ::)

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Keith on Jan 4th, 2007 at 3:19pm
NGMsGhost: Thanks. I normally do escalate to the top and will do so. The reason I didn't go to ATOC was that their web site specifically said they were not responsible for this.

One has to go thru' CS to start with as an escalation isn't fair. However I do despair as to how now a days questions are often just completely ignored. In other words the service is ABSOLUTELY NIL!

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by NGMsGhost on Jan 4th, 2007 at 3:49pm

Keith wrote on Jan 4th, 2007 at 3:19pm:
NGMsGhost: Thanks. I normally do escalate to the top and will do so. The reason I didn't go to ATOC was that their web site specifically said they were not responsible for this.

One has to go thru' CS to start with as an escalation isn't fair. However I do despair as to how now a days questions are often just completely ignored. In other words the service is ABSOLUTELY NIL!


In my experience in 70% of the UK's companies dealing with customer services/relations at all is a complete waste of time for someone like me since customer relations departments are designed only to deal with morons who only ring up with moronic questions I would always know the answer to.  My questions are always policy based and I have found always only able to be answered satisfactorily by a company's senior executives.  As my father was an MP for 25 years it became increasingly obvious to me that his constituents never got anywhere dealing only with customer service persons of various different organisations and action was usually only forthcoming when correspondence to the chief executive was involved (admittedly correspondence from an MP gets rather more attention but all correspondence to a CEO gets more attention than correspondence to customer services persons).

Hidden away on National Rail Enquiries website are a number of links to contact them for more information on their services.  These all produce the email address nationalrailenquiries@atoc.org  In other words Ventura operate the call centre and are responsible for perpetrating the 0845 number ripoff.  But ATOC and Mr Muir and his board colleagues at ATOC are responsible for taking the policy decisions which gave the contract for the 0845 call centre to Ventura in the first place.

Therefore it is Mr Muir and the Board Members of ATOC who are responsible for answering questions about the description and use of the 0845 number.

I missed seeing This Life+10 on Tuesday night on BBC Two and contacted BBC Information run by Capita in Belfast on their 0870 number (staff at BBC Broadcasting House in Belfast are now under instructions not to forward on calls to the 028 Belfast number I added to this website a while back) to be told they had not a clue when it might be shown again and knew nothing about any BBC programs beyond the next week.  I therefore emailed the show's Producer and the Controllers of BBC Two and BBC Three.  I now have an offer from the company that made This Life+10 to send me a DVD of the show free of charge and the Controller of BBC Three, Julian Bellamy, has replied personally to my email to say that BBC Three will not be reshowing This Life+10 but that repeat showings will be taking place on both BBC Two (where it aired on Tuesday night) and BBC Four in the Spring/Summer.  So once again no success at all with the monkeys where I am supposed to go but total satisfaction with the organ grinders.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by colin37400 on Jan 5th, 2007 at 3:25pm

NGMsGhost wrote on Jan 4th, 2007 at 3:49pm:
 So once again no success at all with the monkeys where I am supposed to go but total satisfaction with the organ grinders.


Point taken and essentially I agree, but as a general principle, it's a bit unfair to bombard board members etc. with emails without first trying the official route (as, indeed, you did by calling the info centre first).

Also, I think that an email or letter to a director will have a bit more impact if it's backed up with a chain of unsatisfactory responses from the relevant "customer services" departments or whatever. This lets them see that:
1. You're serious about resolving the issue,
2. You have tried the official route so aren't pestering them uneccessarily,
3. Their customer services are hopeless,
4. You're probably getting a bit p***ed off by the amount of time you've wasted so far.
I would imagine these factors would combine to make a productive response more likely.

That said I will certainly be emailing George Muir as you suggest, if it seems that taking the matter up with Passenger Focus isn't getting anywhere.

In the meantime I'm glad to see that a few others have registered their dissatisfaction with NRE... the more the merrier ...

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Hutch on Jan 8th, 2007 at 7:01pm
Hi

Please note that the 0191 218 8004 number is now not available as when used says not recognised! Great  >:(

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by NGMsGhost on Jan 8th, 2007 at 7:50pm

Hutch wrote on Jan 8th, 2007 at 7:01pm:
Hi

Please note that the 0191 218 8004 number is now not available as when used says not recognised! Great  >:(


Its not the fault of this site its because nasty ATOC (Association of Train Operating Companies) who run National Rail enquiries have allowed the 0191 number to be closed down.

Email the CEO of ATOC to express your displeasure on this matter - george.muir@atoc.org

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by colin37400 on Jan 11th, 2007 at 4:51pm
Interim response from Passenger Focus:

(http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/, they are the UK Rail consumer watchdog)


Dear ++++++

Thank you for writing to us about the difficulties you’ve had with National Rail Enquiries.

I’m sorry to hear that you’re unhappy with their response to your complaint and have felt it necessary to ask for our help.

We will look into your complaint carefully and will be in touch to let you know whether we can help you further.  We always try to respond in full within 35 working days – this is to allow us time to investigate your complaint and allow NRES time to respond to us.  If for any reason we need longer, we will keep you up to date.

Thank you for your patience while we look into things for you.  Please feel free to contact me if you need my help in the meantime – my details are above.

                       

Yours sincerely

                       

Sharon Rattigan

Passenger Contact Advisor

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Keith on Jan 11th, 2007 at 10:45pm
I rec'd the following email following the previous fruitless attemps at a sensible response. I have to say that although I didn't get the answers I wanted to hear at least (much to my surprise) the points in my email were actually read and responded to intelligently. Here is the first response. In the next post is my reply and the third post the reply to that. I haven't responded to that email yet.


Dear Keith

I've been asked to look at an email conversation that has been taking place
between you and our Online Team.

It appears that there is some confusion within our Online Team about how
comments of this nature should be dealt with - they should be forwarded on your
behalf to our Customer Relations team. I'm sorry that this wasn't done, and can
appreciate how frustrating this must have been to you. I will ensure that this is fed back to our contact centre management team. However, I hope that I can address the concerns that you've raised:

We are regulated by the Department for Transport (DfT). They require us to offer a local rate telephone number for everyone in the UK. BT's 0845 numbers are the only way that we can offer this fixed local cost to everyone across the UK. These
numbers are not associated with a particular location in the country, and so
therefore are have a fixed cost to the caller that is not distance-dependant. In
addition, 0845 numbers provide us with the ability to route our calls more flexibly.
 
Messages about service disruption can also be played to callers before connecting
them to our advisers, which reduces queuing time if information can be given as
soon as possible. This helps us to run our call centres effectively. Additionally the
following facilities are also important:
 
* They are non-geographic - which means they cost the same to call from anywhere; this makes them equivalent for all callers
* They offer resiliency and business continuity - in the event of overload or disaster calls can seamlessly be routed to another location without the caller needing to know or re-dial
* They allow for "load balancing" - i.e. distributing calls across multiple locations, in order to improve answer times.

We appreciate that people calling from outside the UK may not be able to access
0845 numbers from abroad, and therefore offer a geographic number to
international callers. You will only be connected if you are calling from outside the
UK to this number.  Some countries will not connect callers to 0845 or 0870
numbers, as they classify these calls as premium rate, the cost of which they will
have to absorb.  If the country does allow calls to non-geographic numbers, they
may charge an additional fee. By offering a UK geographic number, we are trying to keep the cost of calling us as low as possible for International Callers.

The reason that we have taken the step to block those calls made from within the
UK to the 020 7278 5240 number is that BT does not allow us to offer the facilities
I've mentioned above. It would have a significant impact on the business and our
customers if we were to allow people to use the 0207 number - customer who call
on the International Line may find that they are waiting longer for their call to be
answered than those who call the 08457 484950 number.

I appreciate that you can't benefit from BT's inclusive offer by calling 0845 numbers, but I'd like to put this into context. When you call us, the introduction announcement takes an average of 27.5 seconds (16 seconds if you call from a land line and 39 seconds if you call from a mobile). This is because we offer different added value services if you call from a mobile phone (for example, 'text my journey').  Once these announcements are made, you join the queue - from this point over the four weeks 20 November to 17 December, it has taken an average of 20.3 seconds to answer calls.  For the same period, the 'average handling time' (the time you spend speaking to an adviser) was 1 min and 45 seconds. So, the average call length was approximately 2mins 33 seconds. At BT's call rates (see BT's website - http://www.downloads.bt.com/pricing/SpecialisedNos.pdf) the average call to National Rail Enquiries' 0845 number is 7.5p during the daytime, 2.5p during the evening and 1.25p at the weekend.
 
As I explained earlier, we are regulated by the Department for Transport (DfT), who requires us to offer the 0845 number. If you wish to escalate your complaint further, you may wish to speak to the DfT's directly. If so, you can send a letter to them at the address below. The DfT aim to respond to all letters and faxes within 20 working days of receipt.

Department for Transport
Great Minster House
76 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DR

Telephone: 020 7944 8300
Fax: 020 7944 9643

Thank you taking the time to contact us. I hope this helps explain why we don't offer geographical telephone numbers to access our service.

Have a nice weekend.
 
Kind regards


Ben Payne
Information Content Manager
National Rail Enquiries

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Keith on Jan 11th, 2007 at 10:46pm

Ben,

Thank you for your email. It is encouraging to get a detailed and comprehensive
response that specifically deals with the issues that I raised. I appreciate that.

Can I respond to a couple of points you raise that I would question:

a) You state that the Dept of Transport require you to offer a Local Rate telephone number and you refer to 0845 as low cost.

0845 used to be the same cost as local rate calls, but it isn't now and hasn't been
for sometime. Firstly Local Rate calls ceased to exist in 2004 I think and for most
people 0845 numbers cost  more than any call they could make to anywhere in the UK. So although you may have been meeting the Department of Transport
requirements when this was set up you can not be any longer. To give you an
example I am on a pretty typical BT tariff and I can call the USA and Australia for
less  than I can call an 0845 number during a weekday. That to me sounds
unreasonable. Recently I had to take part in an international conference call and it was cheaper for me to phone the Swedish number for participants than the UK
0845 number which was based in Wiltshire!

b) You say that because 0845 numbers cost the same from anywhere in the UK
(with which I agree) this makes them equivalent for all callers.

This is not the case because everyone these days has some sort of package from
their telephone supplier. So again taking me for instance I have paid for an all
inclusive package. This means I would like to think I have already paid for this call and I do not expect to pay for it again. I am paying more than someone who is not on an inclusive package because I still have to pay for the call and I'm paying more so I can get so called foc calls!

c) You put the cost to me in context to demonstrate how little it is.

I agree it is - it is just pennies. But this is just one 0845/0870 call I have to make.
Until I became more careful of these numbers I notched up around £200 on these
numbers in a single quarter on my business line. That is not trivial.

d) You argue that the cost would be greater for those International callers who use 0845 from abroad because they are treated as premium numbers or attract an additional charge.

I agree, but that is exactly what is happening to me and most others because just
about everyone is on some sort of tariff which bars these numbers from the tariff
discounts and hence we are all therefore paying a 'premium' to call them.

If it is a good enough reason for doing it for them then it should be a good enough for the rest of us.

e) You state I might have to wait if I use the international number.

Surely that is my decision. I can put my telephone on speaker phone and carry on working while waiting for someone to answer. As mentioned I know of no other organisation who bars their International number and I use an awful lot of them.

Thank you again for your response. Hopefully my reply encourage you change your policy on the international number. Ideally I would prefer that the dreaded 0845 number was done away with, but I appreciate that is unlikely in the short term, but hopefully you will move across to the new 03 numbers when they are available.

Regards Keith.


Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Keith on Jan 11th, 2007 at 10:47pm
Keith

Thank you for your email.  I do appreciate that you have raised some very valid
points - as you mention, the arrangement we have with the DfT was indeed made
before the change to the tariffs and other charged made by BT in 2004.

As I said in my last email, we won't be unblocking the international number to UK
callers, but will certainly make sure that you comments are taken forward to our
Operation Manager for consideration in future business decisions.

I appreciate that this may not be the response you were hoping for, but there is little that the National Rail Enquiries team can do to remedy your complaint further. You may of course raise your concerns with the DfT, using the contact details I provided previously.

You may also wish to escalate your concerns about the way BT and other phone
companies charge for calling non-geographical telephone number. You are
probably aware that Ofcom is the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industry. There contact details are:

     Ofcom,
     Riverside House,
     2a Southwark Bridge Road,
     London,
     SE1 9HA
     Tel 020 7981 3000 (Switchboard)
     Fax: 020 7981 3333

Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact us.

Kind regards



Ben Payne
Information Content Manager
National Rail Enquiries


Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Dave on Jan 12th, 2007 at 9:12pm
BT's website markets these numbers (and other 08 and 09 numbers). BT 0845 is here.

Notice no mention of 'local rate' now, just a monetary amount.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by NGMsGhost on Jan 13th, 2007 at 12:08am

Keith wrote on Jan 11th, 2007 at 10:45pm:
* They are non-geographic - which means they cost the same to call from anywhere; this makes them equivalent for all callers
* They offer resiliency and business continuity - in the event of overload or disaster calls can seamlessly be routed to another location without the caller needing to know or re-dial
* They allow for "load balancing" - i.e. distributing calls across multiple locations, in order to improve answer times.

Ben Payne
Information Content Manager
National Rail Enquiries


Can't believe they are still trying on this 4/5 year old and totally inaccurate line given to them years ago by their telco supplier's sales person.

Just point them to the following.  Tell them they are wrong and to get it changed.  Threaten to go to the ASA with your complaint if they do not comply with your request.

See the following:-

The view of a county council trading standards department

Para 1.3 Page 1 of www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/oftel_0845/responses/leicester_cc.pdf

and

the view of the CEO of BT Retail, Ian Livingston

http://business.scotsman.com/banking.cfm?id=764772005

and

two recent guidances from the Advertising Standards Authority

www.asa.org.uk/cap/news_events/news/2005/Hanging+on+the+telephone+on+and+on+and+on.htm

www.asa.org.uk/cap/news_events/news/2005/Stop+the+call+confusion.htm

and
the Parliamentary Early Day motion deploring the use of 0870 telephone numbers by government departments

http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=28872%09%09%09%09%09%09%09&; amp;SESSION=875

and

Another guidance from the Committee of Advertising Practice of the Advertising Standards Authority

www.cap.org.uk/cap/news_events/news/2005/CAP+rings+the+changes+for+telecoms+providers.htm

and Pages 5 and 6 of the below minutes from my own district council where we agreed policy to stop the future use of 0845 and 0870 numbers.

www.molevalley.gov.uk/media/pdf/1/s/Council_Minutes_190705.pdf

And the most recent ASA guidance saying that Inclusive call packages must not fail to disclose in marketing that 084/7 calls are excluded from them because they are not charged at geographic call rates and cost more.

www.cap.org.uk/cap/news_events/news/2006/Ringing+the+Changes.htm

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Tanllan on Jan 13th, 2007 at 6:40pm
And BT (etc) can route calls in the event of a disaster. I used to keep such standing instructions set up in a (very) senior BT Manager's office in case of need - and instant implementation.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by bettyboop on Jan 17th, 2007 at 9:27pm
I phoned National Express some time back on their land line number and while we were talking about timetables etc. I told the call centre operator about the rip-off of the 0870 and 0845 prefixes and the www.saynoto0870.com site.

This operator told me they were unaware that these prefixes were so expensive for some users and said that they will promote the site to everyone they knows.   It seems many people are unaware or just apathetic about the rip-off problem that has infested out telecoms structure for years.

As for Ofcom: this org. is as much use as a chocolate fireguard. It is heaving with overpaid committees consisting of Lords and Ladies etc who have no conception whatsoever of everyday life on the street, sit at their shiny desks, go home to their mansions and London bolt-holes and dont give a toss, quite frankly! Plus callcentre ops that are liken to robots dishing out the same crap the BBC dish out to complainants. Their standard replies to emails and written enquiries are pathetic.

I have dealt with Ofcom on a different matter and they are a useless as a regulator for my concerns as they are with telecommunications.  

I have had success with obtaining geo numbers and Box Clever ex Granada TVrental always phone me back immediately when they are asked by me to do this. Maybe this is just my local branch but I try this tack and succeed sometimes.  

Betty

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by NGMsGhost on Jan 17th, 2007 at 10:15pm

bettyboop wrote on Jan 17th, 2007 at 9:27pm:
As for Ofcom: this org. is as much use as a chocolate fireguard. It is heaving with overpaid committees consisting of Lords and Ladies etc who have no conception whatsoever of everyday life on the street, sit at their shiny desks, go home to their mansions and London bolt-holes and dont give a toss, quite frankly! Plus callcentre ops that are liken to robots dishing out the same crap the BBC dish out to complainants. Their standard replies to emails and written enquiries are pathetic.

I have dealt with Ofcom on a different matter and they are a useless as a regulator for my concerns as they are with telecommunications.


You totally have Ofcom's number bettyboop.

All that their senior staff are interested in is getting as much salary and as much pension scheme funding as they possibly can while keeping their chums on the boards of the telecoms and broadcasting companies happy so they can get an even better paid cushy six figure salary job back there in due course.  Their primary duty is supposed to be look out for the UK citizen consumer but the only people they ever look out for are their own staff and any important friends of New Labour in the telecoms companies who look as though they might make a six figure donation to the Labour party for a peerage.  Keeping in with New Labour is very important to the CEO of Ofcom so they can be guaranteed a knighthood and then a peerage in due course

Ofcom's priorities are not the priorites of the citizen consumer but of its New Labour masters.  And as for Colette Bowe and her colleagues on the www.ofcomconsumerpanel.org.uk we never hear a peep out of them all year long to complain about the injustices of 084/7 numbers. :-? >:( :'(

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Keith on Jan 24th, 2007 at 6:50pm

I have finally sent my latest reply (see last posting on 11 January)


Ben,

Sorry it has taken me so long to reply and thank you for your email and thank you for acknowledging that my email included valid points which you would be forwarding for future consideration - that is appreciated.

A couple of points:

1) You suggest I raise the issue with the DfT, but you also previously stated that they require you to provide a low cost or local rate number. Doesn't that mean that my complaint is not with them. Although you may have been meeting their requirements initially as agreed you aren't now. Doesn't that put the ball in your court and not theirs.

2) You suggest I raise the way BT charge for 0845 number with them and/or Ofcom. Although the 0845 number has been generally discredited by misuse and mis-description and therefore should be done away with the principle behind it is not invalid. Contrary to what you may think I have no objection to these numbers if used properly nor premium rate numbers come to that. They have many valid uses. Many ISPs use 0845 numbers to generate revenue for dial up internet use, which is a perfectly valid use. It would seem grossly unfair that they should be penalised by telcoms companies changing the way they charge for 0845 numbers. Surely the onus is on organisations like yourself that are using them inappropriately to change.

3) You didn't say whether you will be moving to the 03 number when it is introduced

4) Can you explain why you won't make a geographic number available like many
other organisations or remove the bar to the International number. It would be such a simple thing to do, you would meet the DfT requirement on you and help your customers and as far as I can see there is little cost implication.

Regards Keith.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Keith on Feb 7th, 2007 at 10:46am

I have a reply to my last email. It just about says it all. Failed to answer my questions and note the story on the DfT has changed. Initially (see previous correspondance) I was told that DfT requied a low cost number. Now I'm told that the number is specified in the agreement.

                                           _________________


Dear Keith

Thank you for your further email about the availability of a geographical number to
call National Rail Enquiries.  As explained previous, the Department for Transport
(DfT) require us to offer a telephone number for the public to call to access rail
related information and that number is specified in the agreement with the DfT.

As we are unable to help you any further, we will not enter into any further c
orrespondence with you and this is the final email you will receive from National
Rail Enquiries regarding this matter.

Kind regards


Ben Payne

Information Content Manager

National Rail Enquiries

Best Outsourced Call Centre - Contact Centre Association Excellence Awards
2005

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Keith on Feb 7th, 2007 at 10:53am
My reply which wont be answered!


Ben,

I'm very disappointed you couldn't answer any of my questions. I don't see
why not as they are not unreasonable.

In particular an 03 number is being set up for public services (0345 I
believe) like yourself and I have asked several times if you will use it when
it become available and you have never replied to that.

Also you previously said the DfT required you to use a low cost number.
On no occasion did you say it required you to use a number specifically
specified in the agreement.

Keith.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by NGMsGhost on Feb 7th, 2007 at 10:56am

Keith wrote on Feb 7th, 2007 at 10:53am:
My reply which wont be answered!


I should now email the CEO of ATOCS and ask if their is an ombudsman that you can take the matter on to for adjudication as to the reasonableness of your information requests that have not been answered.

At least you have made progress in getting them to admit that all the local call garbage that these liars and cheats always try to bamboozle the public with is totally untrue and the real motivation for the 0845 number is revenue share by their call centre operator.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by colin37400 on Apr 4th, 2007 at 11:15am
I've just received a reply from "Passenger Focus" (rail industry watchdog) to an email I sent them some time ago (please see further up the thread for my previous posts).

It doesn't seem to really answer any of the points at all. I'll reply to them shortly. If anyone has got any comments/suggestions for the reply I'd be grateful.

Here's their email:

*************************************

Dear xxxxxx

Thank you for your email received 27 March 2007.

After further investigation it appears Catherine Lee from our appeals department responded to you on the 31 January by email.  I can see no explanation to why you may not have received this email but I have included a copy below.

Dear xxxxxxxxx

Thank you for your recent emails to Passenger Focus. I am sorry for the delay in responding to your complaint.

I understand that you are unhappy that National Rail enquiries only provide an 0845 number for passenger contact. I can appreciate why you would like them to provide you with a geographical number and I do take on board your comments about the pricing of calls to 0845 numbers.

I do understand that some telephone providers now offer their customers a variety of packages, discount rates or free calls, some of which make provision for calls to 0845 numbers and some which do not. However, the provision of 0845 local rate numbers has been long standing good business practice for organisations offering services to members of the public and is certainly recognised as acceptable practice in the call centre industry. Indeed, when compared to the standard national rate (not taking into account packages and discounts) 0845 numbers do still provide value for money. Therefore, I do feel that this is an issue which telephone service providers need to consider when producing package deals, discounts or loyalty products for their customers.

National Rail Enquiries currently operate call centres at four locations one of which is in India, having one number to contact means you would pay the same regardless of the location you are calling. We believe this it ensures passengers will get a better service as there will be more advisors available. The national rail enquiries service is also available on the internet at www.nationalrail.co.uk

We believe that use of 0845 numbers does offer benefits to the majority of callers as it is a local rate service rather than the national rate service which would apply for people calling from most locations in Great Britain. However, we are aware of the potential disadvantages experienced by those who are on non-BT tariffs or who have packages with ‘free minutes’ or special deals and we will keep this matter under review.

Yours sincerely

Laura Groves
Passenger Contact Advisor


Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by bill on Apr 4th, 2007 at 11:44am
That final paragraph 'local rate' / 'national rate' garbage has been irrelevant since 1/7/2004 - when BT eliminated the differentiation between local and national calls for all residential customers except, I believe, the tiny minority on the Light User Scheme.

Dragging up the 'We're doing you a favour because 0845 calls are local rate even if you're calling from a long way away' nonsense argument after nearly 3 years during which it hasn't applied is worthy only of our political spin-masters.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Tanllan on Apr 4th, 2007 at 11:46am

colin37400 wrote on Apr 4th, 2007 at 11:15am:
"We believe that use of 0845 numbers does offer benefits to the majority of callers as it is a local rate service rather than the national rate service which would apply for people calling from most locations in Great Britain. However, we are aware of the potential disadvantages experienced by those who are on non-BT tariffs or who have packages with ‘free minutes’ or special deals and we will keep this matter under review.
Yours sincerely   Laura Groves   Passenger Contact Advisor"
Ye gods. Wrong, wrong, wrong (and, no, Laura Groves, three wrongs do not make a right)

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Keith on Apr 4th, 2007 at 2:22pm
And why does she say non-BT tariffs. I'm on a BT tariff, BT Together 3 and an 0845 costs me whereas a Geo number is free because of the premium I am paying for free calls. So I pay for the 0845 number twice!!!! nearly eveyone is on some sort of package.

And the fact that she doesn't know that 0845 is no longer local and hasn't been for years beggers belief. Of course OFCOM thinks everyone understands this!!!! This is another example of someone who doesn't.

A call to an 0845 number costs as much if not more than a non Geo national call for nearly everyone. In my case I can call Australia or the USA for less than an 0845 number during the day. Aggghhhh!

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by colin37400 on Apr 4th, 2007 at 4:50pm
Thanks for the comments. I have just sent a reply as follows:

*********************

Dear Ms Groves

I'm not sure why the 31 Jan email never got to me. Anyway, thank you for forwarding it now.

I'm afraid that the response is not really satisfactory, largely because it betrays a lack of understanding of the issues here.

The main points are as follows:

"I do understand that some telephone providers now offer their customers a variety of packages, discount rates or free calls, some of which make provision for calls to 0845 numbers and some which do not."

It is not "some" providers. It is the vast majority of providers, including BT. Also, very few, if any, include 0845 numbers within their "free minutes" allowances. Therefore it is the vast majority of NRE's customers who are affected by this issue, and NRE should be seeking to make their services as accessible as possible to these people.

I would also point out that due to its nature - ie. a transport information service - NRE is likely to be called by people on the move and therefore in many cases from mobiles.

"However, the provision of 0845 local rate numbers has been long standing good business practice for organisations offering services to members of the public and is certainly recognised as acceptable practice in the call centre industry."

Firstly, it would seem that you are unaware that 0845 is not "local rate" any more and OFCOM have stated that it should not be described as such.

Secondly, I'm not sure what you mean by "acceptable practice in the call centre industry" and why this means it should be seen as acceptable practice by anyone else. There is a website (www.saynoto0870.com) dedicated to challenging the use of these premium-rate numbers and its popularity should indicate to you that there is a widespread dissatisfaction with this approach. The use of 0845 numbers may well have represented good value some years ago when they were set up but the changes in telephone pricing structures since then have changed this.

"National Rail Enquiries currently operate call centres at four locations one of which is in India, having one number to contact means you would pay the same regardless of the location you are calling. We believe this it ensures passengers will get a better service as there will be more advisors available."

I can see the value in having one contact number. However, I do not see why this one contact number needs to be an 0845 number. Why is it not possible to have an 01 or 02 number which would divert to the same system? I repeatedly asked NRE this question but they seemed unwilling to answer.

"We believe that use of 0845 numbers does offer benefits to the majority of callers as it is a local rate service rather than the national rate service which would apply for people calling from most locations in Great Britain."

Again, this statement is simply not accurate. Could I request that you have a look at the reality of telephone pricing (there is a good summary here: http://www.saynoto0870.com/cgi-bin/forum/YaBB.cgi?num=1116376037 and here: http://www.saynoto0870.com/cgi-bin/forum/YaBB.cgi?num=1168434954) so that you are up to date with the current situation. I feel that this may change your views on whether or not NRE's stance is one you should support.

"However, we are aware of the potential disadvantages experienced by those who are on non-BT tariffs or who have packages with ‘free minutes’ or special deals and we will keep this matter under review."

I would point out that the disadvantages are experienced by most of those who are on BT tariffs as well.

Please would you clarify what "keeping this matter under review" will involve?

Could I suggest that it would be appropriate for NRE to transfer to the new "03.." numbers scheme as soon as possible. These numbers, as I understand it, will function in a similar way to 0845 numbers (ie. single point of contact, ability to route calls to different locations, etc) but will be charged at "geographical" rates. More information is here:  http://www.saynoto0870.com/cgi-bin/forum/YaBB.cgi?num=1173396748.

I hope that, having looked into this issue a bit further, you will be more supportive of my point and will be willing to take the matter up with NRE. Could I specifically request that you respond with regards to the suggestion that NRE should adopt an "03..." number as soon as practicable?

Regards,

xxxxxxx

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Heinz on Apr 4th, 2007 at 7:57pm
Nice reply Colin.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Keith on Sep 29th, 2007 at 11:11pm
For all our efforts nothing seems to have changed on this one has it. The fact that they block their International number to my mind makes them one of the worst culprits, together with their appalling responses to correspondance and of course our inability to take our custom elsewhere.

Is there anything else we can do?

It is worth noting that in all the correspondance they always failed to even attenpt to respond to the questions on using the 03 code.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Dave on Sep 30th, 2007 at 3:05pm

Keith wrote on Sep 29th, 2007 at 11:11pm:
Is there anything else we can do?

Yes, use the geographical number for Central Trains (0121 6342040) and select option 1 for NRE.


Keith wrote on Sep 29th, 2007 at 11:11pm:
It is worth noting that in all the correspondance they always failed to even attenpt to respond to the questions on using the 03 code.

I do not expect them to change. They now have a 10p/min 0871 for train information, along with premium rate SMS for the same purpose ("TrainTracker"). Whilst 08457 (formally 0345) may have been introduced to give callers a "local rate" number, now things have changed, they appear to be going down the Traveline route of charging callers for information.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Keith on Sep 30th, 2007 at 4:29pm
Thanks Dave. I missed the Central trains link. When did we find out about that? No doubt it will get stopped in due course, but a brilliant coup in the meantime! Shame about all the people who won't know about it.

Re pricing: If they do what you suggest it will mean they lied to me in my correspondence with them (see earlier in thread). They said the agreement they entered into required them to provided a low cost number. I pointed out to them that in that case they were now in breach of that agreement as the 0845 number was no longer low cost. Later they said they were required to use an 0845 number.

Why would anyone use the 0871 number when there is an 0845 number? Does it provide something different?

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Dave on Sep 30th, 2007 at 7:53pm

Keith wrote on Sep 30th, 2007 at 4:29pm:
Thanks Dave. I missed the Central trains link. When did we find out about that?

Back in December 2005, see here. I added it to the database in March 2007.


Keith wrote on Sep 30th, 2007 at 4:29pm:
Why would anyone use the 0871 number when there is an 0845 number? Does it provide something different?

I believe the 0871 is live train info. But you can get all this and timetable enquiries from the website at [url=www.nationalrail.co.uk[/url]]www.nationalrail.co.uk[/url], or if you're out and about, the WAP site at wap.nationalrail.co.uk

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by ahai1 on May 23rd, 2010 at 7:28pm
Hi I am new here. I have tried to call the first 020 number for national rail enquirers but it played music and I had to phone the 08o45 number. Which number works?

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Dave on May 23rd, 2010 at 7:46pm

ahai1 wrote on May 23rd, 2010 at 7:28pm:
Hi I am new here. I have tried to call the first 020 number for national rail enquirers but it played music and I had to phone the 08o45 number. Which number works?

I presume that the number you elude to is 020 7068 0500. It goes to music, hold music. So how long did you hang on for?  :-? :-?

I tried both the 0845 number and this 020 number and the hold music is the same track, so either it's a coincidence or it's the same queue.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by ahai1 on May 23rd, 2010 at 7:57pm
That is the number I tried it was on music and there was no warning about a queue or anything. However when I rang the 0845 number it connected me to an automated system. I did not hang on for much after waiting about 30 seconds or so for announcement.

It's a shame that happens as we get free 020s on the landline.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Dave on May 23rd, 2010 at 8:06pm

ahai1 wrote on May 23rd, 2010 at 7:57pm:
It's a shame that happens as we get free 020s on the landline.

I don't see what you're moaning at.

The 0845 number has two options; 1. TrainTracker 2. Speak to an advisor.

It would appear that the alternatives go straight to the respective options. Perhaps there is no announcement within the hold music because normally the call would be answered with the IVR (automated menu) on the 0845 number which identifies the organisation.

If you don't like it, then go ahead and pay for the 0845 call. You're the horse and I'm bringing you to the water, but you don't want to drink it! ::)

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by ahai1 on May 24th, 2010 at 9:39pm
Dave I am not moaning but just raising a point. I did try it last night and I counted up to 100 but the music was still on.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Dave on May 25th, 2010 at 12:33pm
The 020 7068 0500 number goes straight into a queue, as the note beside it in the database says. I have just tried it and got through to someone in about one minute 40 seconds.

I tried the 0845 number a couple of times and selected option 2, to speak to an advisor and it was answered after a couple of secondary (further) rings. As I said on Sunday evening (the post I made on 23rd May), there was hold music on option 2 of the 0845 number then and that was the same track as on the 020 number.

I think that selecting option 2 on the 0845 number puts the caller through to one of a number of lines/numbers. Perhaps the 020 number we have is but one of those which it puts callers through to.

It is quite possible that option 2 of the 0845 number puts each subsequent caller through to the number with the shortest waiting time. Thus, you could say that it has some degree of intelligence which balances the load on each of National Rail's call centres to minimise overall waiting times.


For timetable information, I usually use the National Rail website www.nationalrail.co.uk or the WAP site wap.nationalrail.co.uk from my mobile, if I'm out and about. These can give train time within 10 or 20 seconds or so, as well as live departure information.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Dave on May 25th, 2010 at 2:11pm
Further to my earier posting, other numbers after 020 7068 0500 are also for National Rail Enquiries and 0501 goes straight through to an operator as do 0502, 0503, 0504 and 0507. They go through to the same call centre as I found the same operators answered different numbers.  ;)

I've updated the database entry with this 0501 number.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by ahai1 on May 25th, 2010 at 2:31pm
Thank you Dave you are a star.

The 020 number for Heathrow Express is the right one as well.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Dave on May 25th, 2010 at 2:46pm

ahai1 wrote on May 25th, 2010 at 2:31pm:
The 020 number for Heathrow Express is the right one as well.

Thanks. I've verified this one. Please let me know of any other entries you find that need updating. :)

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by mc661 on Sep 2nd, 2010 at 4:45pm
.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by CJT-80 on Sep 2nd, 2010 at 7:07pm
Dave in quick reference to NRE and an 020 access number, you posted numbers for LORL (London Overground): here one of which includes direct access to NRE's menu which is identical to the 0845 number.

I have used it 3 times with NO issues.

:)

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by CJT-80 on Sep 23rd, 2010 at 11:31am
Just a quick update re NRE I sent them this feedback today:

Why does National Rail Enquiries (NRE) continue to use an 0845 number? Most people wish to access Train info on the move, using a Mobile Phone, which will cost them on average 20p + per minute to contact you. Whilst I appreciate a landline call "maybe" cheaper per minute, in this day and age you cannot justify the use of an 0845 number solely on this basis. Why won't NRE switch to an 0345 number? These are charged at a lower rate, and are mostly included in calling plan minutes from mobiles.

I think it's time NRE made that change.

----------------------------------------------------

I await their reponse.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Dave on Sep 23rd, 2010 at 11:42am
Thanks to the FOI to East Coast, we now have an alternative for NRE: 020 7383 5564  ;)

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by NGMsGhost on Sep 23rd, 2010 at 11:47am

Dave wrote on Sep 23rd, 2010 at 11:42am:
Thanks to the FOI to East Coast, we now have an alternative for NRE: 020 7383 5564  ;)


Since the stupid TrainTracker service (that also usually never works due to constantly giving you stations other than the ones you are travelling between) they try to sell on an 0871 number can also be accessed via a choice from the 0845 National Rail Enquiries menu does this mean TrainTracker can also be accessed for the price of a geographic call?  Or does the geographic number resulting from the FOI request bypass the normal menus and go straight through to an adviser based in India?

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by CJT-80 on Sep 23rd, 2010 at 11:47am
Thanks Dave, I will note that along with the number from LORL -

Btw I have sent you a private message.

I am going to be contacting Traveline next over their continued use of their 0871 number.

:)

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by CJT-80 on Sep 23rd, 2010 at 11:49am

NGMsGhost wrote on Sep 23rd, 2010 at 11:47am:

Dave wrote on Sep 23rd, 2010 at 11:42am:
Thanks to the FOI to East Coast, we now have an alternative for NRE: 020 7383 5564  ;)


Since the stupid TrainTracker service (that also usually never works due to constantly giving you stations other than the ones you are travelling between) they try to sell on an 0871 number can also be accessed via a choice from the 0845 National Rail Enquiries menu does this mean TrainTracker can also be accessed for the price of a geographic call?  Or does the geographic number resulting from the FOI request bypass the normal menus and go straight through to an adviser based in India?


I dialled : 020 3031 9338 and it gave the SAME options as 08457 48 49 50 - inc the option to use TrainTracker, avoiding calling the 0871 number for it.

Dave also posted a number provided from an FOI request to East Coast.

:)

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by NGMsGhost on Sep 23rd, 2010 at 12:06pm

CJT-80 wrote on Sep 23rd, 2010 at 11:47am:
I am going to be contacting Traveline next over their continued use of their 0871 number. :)


Traveline's continued use of an 0871 number is especially disgusting when one of their main target audiences is financially impoverished bus customers and they are mainly likely to be called from mobiles or BT Payphones. >:( >:( >:(

BT Payphones charge £1 per minute to call an 0871 number and the price of  Traveline's 0871 number from most mobile phones is not far short of this.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Dave on Sep 23rd, 2010 at 12:08pm

NGMsGhost wrote on Sep 23rd, 2010 at 11:47am:

Dave wrote on Sep 23rd, 2010 at 11:42am:
Thanks to the FOI to East Coast, we now have an alternative for NRE: 020 7383 5564  ;)


Since the stupid TrainTracker service (that also usually never works due to constantly giving you stations other than the ones you are travelling between) they try to sell on an 0871 number can also be accessed via a choice from the 0845 National Rail Enquiries menu does this mean TrainTracker can also be accessed for the price of a geographic call? …

For a while now (a year or two), there has been a working geographic number for TrainTracker listed on this site. Currently, 020 1104 8060 answers the same as the 0871 number.

Each TrainTracker station has its own alternative. For example, 020 1104 0151 is the TrainTracker service for Wolverhampton.

Why do you use it anyway? The National Rail WAP site works just as well. Other similar services are available. Orange's own Orange World service allows favourite journeys and stations to be stored.



NGMsGhost wrote on Sep 23rd, 2010 at 11:47am:
… Or does the geographic number resulting from the FOI request bypass the normal menus and go straight through to an adviser based in India?

We have both! Although those that we publish that go through to the call centre seem to have long queues on after a while. Changing the last digit seems to work.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by NGMsGhost on Sep 23rd, 2010 at 12:08pm

CJT-80 wrote on Sep 23rd, 2010 at 11:49am:
I dialled : 020 3031 9338 and it gave the SAME options as 08457 48 49 50 - inc the option to use TrainTracker, avoiding calling the 0871 number for it. :)


I now find that 020 1104 8060 is already listed as a verified alternative for TrainTracker in our database.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by CJT-80 on Sep 23rd, 2010 at 10:31pm
and here is my VERY interesting response from National Rail Enquiries:

"Thank you for your email about the telephone number used for contacting National Rail Enquiries.

National Rail Enquiries has offered the same number, 08457 48 49 50 to passengers since the service began in 1996. There is high awareness of the number amongst the public and so it would not make sense to change it as it would create problems for regular users of the service.

0845 numbers are now included in some telecoms providers’ packages. However these do change from time to time. If you are unhappy about the costs incurred when calling 0845 numbers under your current service provider agreement, this is an issue that you would have to take up with them directly.

We do not offer multiple numbers because of issues around the queue handling system National Rail Enquiries uses to minimise the call waiting time and to optimise the capacity of our contact centres to service customer needs.

I would like to thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention. Customers play a vital role in enabling us to improve the service we offer and feedback is very much appreciated.

I hope we can serve you well in future.

Thank you for contacting National Rail Enquiries. If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Regards"

I would be interested on any comments on this.

:)

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Dave on Sep 23rd, 2010 at 11:33pm

CJT-80 wrote on Sep 23rd, 2010 at 10:31pm:
and here is my VERY interesting response from National Rail Enquiries:

"Thank you for your email about the telephone number used for contacting National Rail Enquiries.

National Rail Enquiries has offered the same number, 08457 48 49 50 to passengers since the service began in 1996. There is high awareness of the number amongst the public and so it would not make sense to change it as it would create problems for regular users of the service.

0845 numbers are now included in some telecoms providers’ packages. However these do change from time to time. If you are unhappy about the costs incurred when calling 0845 numbers under your current service provider agreement, this is an issue that you would have to take up with them directly. …

It's the same old crap, ducking the issue of the fact that NRE's 0845 number takes a subsidy from callers and passing the buck about call charges to originating telcos...  ::)

Clearly, we are dealing with a body that has no morals and will not simply come out and say that they need to charge a premium through use of a 0845 number!  >:(

The fact that the number has existed since 1996 is clearly of much greater importance than the fact that it imposes a premium charge on callers, or for that matter, NRE talking about the fact that it uses a premium number.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by NGMsGhost on Sep 24th, 2010 at 1:48am

CJT-80 wrote on Sep 23rd, 2010 at 10:31pm:
National Rail Enquiries has offered the same number, 08457 48 49 50 to passengers since the service began in 1996. There is high awareness of the number amongst the public and so it would not make sense to change it as it would create problems for regular users of the service.


What stops them running a parallel 03456 number alongside it for anyone calling from a mobile phone (i.e. the majority of their callers given the application for which the number is used).  Answer absolutely nothing other than their service provider charging them more to run the call centre if calls are not an 084 number.


Quote:
If you are unhappy about the costs incurred when calling 0845 numbers under your current service provider agreement, this is an issue that you would have to take up with them directly.


Stock response long used by all hardened 084/7 scammers who have no intention whatsoever of mending their ways.  They totally avoid the fact that it is their wish to run their call centre at a lower cost cross subsidised by their callers that is responsible for all mobile companies excluding them from their call packages because they are more costly (in the real world rather than BT landline's cross subsidised one) to connect calls to.


Quote:
We do not offer multiple numbers because of issues around the queue handling system National Rail Enquiries uses to minimise the call waiting time and to optimise the capacity of our contact centres to service customer needs.


Completely dishonest lies that are totally untrue and that prove what an unrepentant bunch of scammers they quite clearly are.


Quote:
I would like to thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention. Customers play a vital role in enabling us to improve the service we offer and feedback is very much appreciated.


Translation - "please go away as we enjoy a near monopoly in this business and can do exactly what we like regardless of what our customers tell us and have no intention of taking any notice of them" :o >:( >:( >:(

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by CJT-80 on Sep 25th, 2010 at 3:18pm
Here is my reply to NRE's Customer Relations Dept, sent today:

"Thank you for your reply, I feel that it’s necessary to give you some feedback about the information and advice you have provided, and also request the details of how to take this matter further.

National Rail Enquires (NRE) only had the 08457 number since around April 2000, before this including in 1996 when you advise the service started it was 0345 48 49 50, ( here is a link from a South West Trains leaflet advertising the number - http://www.crowsnest.co.uk/north/swt_1.htm).  Ofcom currently has a range of 03 Numbers specifically available to organisations who have 08457 numbers such as NRE, which allows them to migrate/move their existing number over, therefore NRE’s number would be: 03457 48 49 50, a change of 1 digit, 8 to 3.

As NRE introduced the 0871 number along with Train Text it proves it IS possible for NRE to introduce new numbers when it suits them, and NOT it’s users. I also noted that NRE has an overseas 020 number which it blocked from being dialled in the UK, so it IS possible to have more than one number as you already display 2!

On a final note, regarding being “unhappy” with the charges my service provider makes for calling this number, it is NOT an option to discuss it with them, they are a business who provide means of communication, NRE is a National Information service and therefore it is up to NRE to change its number NOT the service provider to include these calls.

I request that these comments are passed to Chris Scoggins who is your Chief Exec. Alternatively please provide me with HIS e-mail address, and I will e-mail him personally."

Lets see what reply I get back,


Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by CJT-80 on Sep 28th, 2010 at 3:18pm
This is the reply I got from the Customer Relations Manager :

" I write following your communication with the National Rail Enquiries Customer Relations team about the National Rail Enquiries telephone number, 08457 48 49 50.

National Rail Enquiries  uses a single number to help control the load/call volumes in our call centres and to ensure customers receive an answer to their call in the fastest possible time. Creating multiple numbers reduces our ability to do that and would result in a poorer service for customers. The current number is well known and well established and is included in a large number of promotions, including those managed  by the train companies and other 3rd party organisations. A new number for NRE would require huge investment in  promoting it to achieve the current level of recognition with little or no added value for customers.

In response to your query about 0871; this  number which was created for Train Tracker is a separate service from the call centres.

Thank you for contacting National Rail Enquiries and I  trust that I have addressed the issues that you raised. "

However as part of her response she CC'd another person who works for: http://www.intelenetglobal.com/index.html and on this page: http://intelenetglobal.com/case_study_travel.html# under the 2nd Travel tab, they appear to mention NRE as one of their clients!

Still not happy with the reponse.. what to do now?

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Dave on Sep 28th, 2010 at 3:32pm

CJT-80 wrote on Sep 28th, 2010 at 3:18pm:
National Rail Enquiries  uses a single number to help control the load/call volumes in our call centres and to ensure customers receive an answer to their call in the fastest possible time. Creating multiple numbers reduces our ability to do that and would result in a poorer service for customers. …

So what they're saying is that their telecoms provider is unable to run two numbers in parallel, where calls are dealt with irrespective of which number was dialled?  :-?

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Sep 28th, 2010 at 5:18pm

Dave wrote on Sep 28th, 2010 at 3:32pm:

CJT-80 wrote on Sep 28th, 2010 at 3:18pm:
National Rail Enquiries  uses a single number to help control the load/call volumes in our call centres and to ensure customers receive an answer to their call in the fastest possible time. Creating multiple numbers reduces our ability to do that and would result in a poorer service for customers. …

So what they're saying is that their telecoms provider is unable to run two numbers in parallel, where calls are dealt with irrespective of which number was dialled?  :-?

I don't think so, I suspect that there is either deliberate or inadvertent confusion about the point at issue.

The first point to establish is whether one is asking for a complete number change to the 03 equivalent, as was probably implied, or for the less desirable, but much cheaper option of having the two run in parallel, with limited publicity of the 03 version. I am now strongly commending the latter as being suitable for the current economic climate, although not a satisfactory long term solution.

Any possible confusion about requests for separate geographic regional numbers needs to be put out of the picture (unless that is what is wanted).

A strong case can be made for the 034/084 double running option, given that one does not demand that too much money be spent on publicising the 03 number. It is far from perfect, but if we can get a number of bodies to do it then the snowball effect could work wonders as callers start demanding the 0345 alternative from everyone. (We must also remember that the future of revenue sharing on 0845 is not certain.)

Title: National Rail Enquiries disables our alternative!
Post by Dave on Oct 17th, 2010 at 9:37pm
The alternative number for National Rail Enquiries we published last month, 020 7383 5564, is now not recognised.

It was given out in a FOI response from East Coast, and was answered with the same menu for NRE as the published covert-premium number, 0845 748 4950.

As if travelling by rail is not expensive enough, we have rip-off phone numbers for getting information on timetables and the prospect of more fare rises of 30 to 40 per cent within the next four to five years!

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by CJT-80 on Oct 17th, 2010 at 9:50pm
The number via LORL has also been disabled.

Looks like we need to work on a way to push this one further!

>:( :( >:(

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Dave on Oct 17th, 2010 at 9:57pm
The Enquirer, Spring 2010 Edition (NRE's newsletter) has published the direct phone numbers and e-mail addresses of its management.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by CJT-80 on Oct 17th, 2010 at 10:00pm
Or feel free to e-mail

Shiona Naylor - Customer Relations Manager - National Rail Enquiries : shiona.naylor@atoc.org

or call her: +44 (0)20 7841 8029

I am sure she'd love to hear from us.

>:(

Title: National Rail Enq., switch on your 0345 number!
Post by Dave on Oct 18th, 2010 at 12:48am
National Rail Enquiries, switch on your 0345 number!

Bring 03457 48 49 50 into service and this will allow the public to avoid the expensive call charges associated with calling the 08457 48 49 50 number.

03457 48 49 50 would run in parallel with the 0845 number and not replace it. Anyone looking up an alternative for National Rail Enquiries on SAYNOTO0870.COM will find it.

My message to National Rail Enquiries is that if the 0845 number wasn't an issue to people, then they wouldn't be visiting our site for alternatives. Thus, if you bring the 0345 number into service (with minimum or even no publicity), it would act as a gauge as to how many people are hacked off at your use of rip-off 0845 number.

If everyone's happy with the 0845 number, then you will get no calls via the 0345 number.

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by mc661 on Oct 31st, 2010 at 12:30am
They even rip off their own Clients.

DB Schenker, National Business Centre, Lakeside, Carolina Way, Doncaster, DN4 5PN

National Rail Communication Centre (NRCC) is an integral part of the flow of information from the railway industry to the travelling public. The NRCC supports the National Rail Enquiries (NRE) Contact Centres, updates the NRE website (www.nationalrail.co.uk) and maintains the data integrity of most “off-station” information channels.

[edit]Private information removed. The reference above about them ripping off their own clients relates to the NRCC Duty Manager's phone number being a 0845 one![/edit]

Title: Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Post by Dave on Oct 31st, 2010 at 5:23pm
I have removed the private information in the previous posting. For those interested in learning more about NRCC, there is a case study on the provider's website:

http://www.transeoalliance.com/case_study3.html


National Rail's own website also describes how it works:

http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/contact/about_national_rail_enquiries.html

Title: Re: National Rail Enq., switch on your 0345 number
Post by sherbert on Dec 1st, 2010 at 5:00pm

Dave wrote on Oct 18th, 2010 at 12:48am:
National Rail Enquiries, switch on your 0345 number!

Bring 03457 48 49 50 into service and this will allow the public to avoid the expensive call charges associated with calling the 08457 48 49 50 number.

03457 48 49 50 would run in parallel with the 0845 number and not replace it. Anyone looking up an alternative for National Rail Enquiries on SAYNOTO0870.COM will find it.

My message to National Rail Enquiries is that if the 0845 number wasn't an issue to people, then they wouldn't be visiting our site for alternatives. Thus, if you bring the 0345 number into service (with minimum or even no publicity), it would act as a gauge as to how many people are hacked off at your use of rip-off 0845 number.

If everyone's happy with the 0845 number, then you will get no calls via the 0345 number.




Sorry Dave, they have ignored your appeal as National Rail Enquiries (NRE) has set up a phone hotline to information about snow-related disruption, on 08453 017 641,  :(

Title: Re: National Rail Enq., switch on your 0345 number
Post by Dave on Dec 1st, 2010 at 5:36pm

sherbert wrote on Dec 1st, 2010 at 5:00pm:
Sorry Dave, they have ignored your appeal as National Rail Enquiries (NRE) has set up a phone hotline to information about snow-related disruption, on 08453 017 641,  :(

I have seen this number on the news and Googled it and found that it was issued last winter, at the beginning of the year. Nonetheless, National Rail Enquiries shows its contempt for the travelling public with another phone number which carries a premium.

Title: National Rail Enquiries charges for information
Post by Dave on Jan 6th, 2011 at 4:46pm
Members may be interested to listen to today's You & Yours which has a feature about National Rail Enquiries which prevents app developers and the like from using the live arrival and departure data unless the pay it for the privilege:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00d4n2l

The piece on NRE starts at 15 minutes 20 seconds into the programme.


The point made is that developers will come up with solutions that NRE and other similar organisations wouldn't. TfL is commended for making this raw data available and one program someone has written gives a map showing where Underground trains are in real time.

NRE is, to coin the word used in the You & Yours, a dinosaur. The information should be publically available for developers to come up with commercial solutions.

Title: Re: National Rail Enquiries charges for informatio
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jan 6th, 2011 at 5:07pm

Dave wrote on Jan 6th, 2011 at 4:46pm:
The information should be publically available for developers to come up with commercial solutions.

I disagree.

Public bodies should make their information available to the public without constraint, but possibly with a charge if that is deemed to be the best way of funding the services that deliver the information. Any charge must be clearly advertised and fairly levied. The present regime covering Business Rate telephone numbers does neither. The proposals presented by Ofcom could present an opportunity for Business Rate telephone numbers to be used in this way.

I see no reason why public bodies should not take a fair share of the income that may be derived from selling their information in the market. I would suggest that they have a duty to do so, to ease the burden on the taxpayer and service user. Revenue from licensing use of NRE data could help pay for the simple telephone enquiry service.

Title: Re: National Rail Enquiries charges for informatio
Post by NGMsGhost on Jan 25th, 2011 at 12:53pm

SilentCallsVictim wrote on Jan 6th, 2011 at 5:07pm:
I see no reason why public bodies should not take a fair share of the income that may be derived from selling their information in the market. I would suggest that they have a duty to do so, to ease the burden on the taxpayer and service user. Revenue from licensing use of NRE data could help pay for the simple telephone enquiry service.


I suggest then that your Guardian reading credentials are now completely and totally busted and that you must in fact believe in unbridled capitalism.

The point is that if NRE charge for this data its availability is consequently greatly restricted to the travelling public (as its charges for the data are excessive).  And the wider dissemination of this data on the web is actually a huge costs saver because it eliminates calls to its call centre.

NRE's whole strategy on this is completely screwed up when they try to market their automated service that saves them employing human labour on an 0871 number but then also make it available on their 0845 number for anyone in the know.  Clearly they should be marketing it on the 0845 number because every automated call saves the costs of employing an Indian call centre worker to take the call.

Title: Re: National Rail Enquiries charges for informatio
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jan 25th, 2011 at 2:27pm

NGMsGhost wrote on Jan 25th, 2011 at 12:53pm:
... I suggest then that your Guardian reading credentials are now completely and totally busted and that you must in fact believe in unbridled capitalism. ...

I see no good reason why public bodies should not engage in proper partnerships with commercial organisations.

Taking a "fair share" of the income derived from systems based on public data places a reasonable and acceptable bridle on such capitalist activity if it relies on a public asset. It is neither correct that there should be no charge, nor that the charge should be "excessive" so as to stifle worthwhile development. The trick is in getting the balance right. This is the middle ground which Guardian readers tend to seek out!

Title: Re: National Rail Enquiries charges for informatio
Post by NGMsGhost on Jan 25th, 2011 at 2:50pm

SilentCallsVictim wrote on Jan 25th, 2011 at 2:27pm:
The trick is in getting the balance right. This is the middle ground which Guardian readers tend to seek out!


So you do not deny being a Guardian reader then. ;) :D

Title: Re: National Rail Enquiries charges for informatio
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jan 25th, 2011 at 3:53pm

NGMsGhost wrote on Jan 25th, 2011 at 2:50pm:
So you do not deny being a Guardian reader then.

I do not offer subscription to any newspaper, nor any other indicator of general opinion to justify or support any of the views that I offer in the forum. I hope for my expressed views to be judged on their respective merits and to be of greater interest in discussion than their author.

The likely views of a Guardian reader were brought into the discussion - I referred to them in my response. The issues raised in this forum are covered by many news media, with a general thread of agreement with the views expressed here.

Title: Re: National Rail Enquiries charges for informatio
Post by NGMsGhost on Jan 25th, 2011 at 3:56pm

SilentCallsVictim wrote on Jan 25th, 2011 at 3:53pm:
I do not offer subscription to any newspaper, nor any other indicator of general opinion to justify or support any of the views that I offer in the forum. I hope for my expressed views to be judged on their respective merits and to be of greater interest in discussion than their author.

The likely views of a Guardian reader were brought into the discussion - I referred to them in my response. The issues raised in this forum are covered by many news media, with a general thread of agreement with the views expressed here.

A reply worthy of a career politician as we still don't know what daily newspaper you most frequently purchase or read. :-X

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