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Message started by Rob.S on Mar 14th, 2006 at 2:53pm

Title: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by Rob.S on Mar 14th, 2006 at 2:53pm
Hi. I was wondering if anyone on here could tell the legality of forwarding 0871 numbers to businesses then advertising them without the permission or knowledge of the busines. There is a website called the Mobile Food Guide which lists restaurants with 0871 numbers without mentioning they are routed through the Mobile Food Guide and charged at a premium rate.

After contacting the Mobile Food Guide they denied these numbers were for profit and simply monitoring the volume of calls to particular restaurants. Can anyone tell me if this is allowed?

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by Shiggaddi on Mar 14th, 2006 at 3:13pm
I would certainly make a complaint to the restaurant, stating that their 0871 number is a premium rate number, and calling their normal number might be free (if you have inclusive calls package)

The restaurant might then tell you that you should call their normal number, and ask where the 0871 number came from.

Perhaps if a few people could complain to restaurants featured this way, and say that you're not prepared to pay premium rates, then the restaurants would realise they're being exploited just as much as the public.

Unless of course the restaurants have entered into an agreement to have an 0871 number in exchange for being featured.

This certainly shows that it's not just Jo Public who gets stung by NGN, but businesses as well, who enter into agreements without realising they're helping rip customers off!!

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by Dave on Mar 14th, 2006 at 3:38pm
The Mobile Food Guide can be found here.

I think that your best bet would be to contact some of the restaurants. See what they say. Point out that would probably reflect badly on them if someone rings them and is charged 10p/min to call them. Also mention that rates are much higher from mobile phones. Find out what typical rates are.

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by JoePublic on Mar 14th, 2006 at 3:59pm
One of my local hotels is published on this site.I spoke to the manager who was peed off with what these people had done without permission and intends to pursue the matter with them.

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by a very nice man on Mar 14th, 2006 at 4:06pm
It should be pointed out that if you were to use the site menu to look at a review of a particular restaurant, there is quite often a link to the restaurant's homepage, where you will usually find the true contact details, which are invariably a proper number.
Whilst I do have a level of objection to this site's use of 0871, in this instance I would think objections to be invalid.
They do not hide the restaurant's true details, and it can be viewed that they have done the work in compiling the data and setting up the site, so that if you cannot be bothered to attempt to find the number by other means (a click on the homepage or via BT) then you pay for the priviledge of utilising their efforts.

Michelin and the AA, amongst others, produce restaurant guides. These guides are in book form and must be purchased. Normally at a cost of several pounds. Nobody is objecting to the AA making a couple of quid out doing the same thing except theirs is on paper rather than electronically.

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by Dave on Mar 14th, 2006 at 4:12pm

a very nice man wrote on Mar 14th, 2006 at 4:06pm:
They do not hide the restaurant's true details, and it can be viewed that they have done the work in compiling the data and setting up the site, so that if you cannot be bothered to attempt to find the number by other means (a click on the homepage or via BT) then you pay for the priviledge of utilising their efforts.

But the issue is not one of whether the user can be "bothered" or not to look up a restaurant's geographical number.

It is the fact that those who ring up using the 0871 number may later be disgusted at the excessive calls charges and view it as being the restaurant in question who has imposed this, thus it reflects badly on the restaurant.

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by Rob.S on Mar 14th, 2006 at 4:30pm
We are a restaurant company (sorry I didn't mention that in my first post). The site has listed our outlets like this without permission but it is hard to find infomation on whether or not this is legal. Dialing the number goes straight through without any warning about the charges.

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by Dave on Mar 14th, 2006 at 4:42pm

Rob.S wrote on Mar 14th, 2006 at 4:30pm:
We are a restaurant company (sorry I didn't mention that in my first post). The site has listed our outlets like this without permission but it is hard to find infomation on whether or not this is legal. Dialing the number goes straight through without any warning about the charges.

I don't know whether it's legal or not. I suggest you explain the problem to Ofcom and see what they say, although going by the fact that they don't force service providers to show pricing information on these types of numbers, I wouldn't hold much hope on that.

Perhaps have a word with your local trading standards, see what they say.

How did your restaurant get listed? Did they notify you of their intentions with regards listing it?

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by a very nice man on Mar 14th, 2006 at 4:47pm
"Hello directory enquiries..... this has just cost you 40p for the privilidge of talking to me, and a further charge of ??p per minute while I take my time looking up the number because I'm based in India and can't understand a word you foreigners are saying.
You'd like a restaurant in what town?.... Sorry can you spell that?  Was that a P? OK I understand now. One moment please.
Here you are, the number is 00000000000. Would you like me to connect you? No I don't how much extra it will cost, but obviously it will be a hell of a lot more than if you could be bothered to do it yourself! You would? Sucker!!
Just putting you through now. Have a nice day. By the way, please don't look at your phonebill"

"Hello restaurant, I'd like to book a table. Blah blah blah" and after 5 minutes of conversation, you end the call.

Now how much did that cost overall?
Is anybody getting upset because directory enquiries took you for a lot more than if you rang that 0871 number for 5 minutes? Same service. Similar ripoff. Less complaints.

The restaurant didn't agree for directory enquiries to charge that rate. Heck, I never entered an agreement for my listing to be on every directory service at ridiculous rates. Nothing I can do about it. Who do I have a go at? Directory enquiries? No,  because we know they're expensive. Do you have a go at me because you came through their service? I hope not. It's not my fault. Should I refund your costs? Not lilkely. There are other ways to find what you're after. The easiest way is not always the cheapest. I sympathise but that's it.

The link is clearly there on the web page. Use it to follow through to the homepage and it's OK. Most probably a maximum of 2 clicks from the original page. Perhaps that is too hard for some.
Or read the review, and look up the number on BT.

The only real complaint about the site is the failure to put the cost of using their service in an obvious spot.

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by Rob.S on Mar 14th, 2006 at 4:52pm

a very nice man wrote on Mar 14th, 2006 at 4:47pm:
"Hello directory enquiries..... this has just cost you 40p for the privilidge of talking to me, and a further charge of ??p per minute while I take my time looking up the number because I'm based in India and can't understand a word you foreigners are saying.
You'd like a restaurant in what town?.... Sorry can you spell that?  Was that a P? OK I understand now. One moment please.
Here you are, the number is 00000000000. Would you like me to connect you? No I don't how much extra it will cost, but obviously it will be a hell of a lot more than if you could be bothered to do it yourself! You would? Sucker!!
Just putting you through now. Have a nice day. By the way, please don't look at your phonebill"


Don't all the 118 services tell you that you are going to be charged a higher rate before they put you through?

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by Rob.S on Mar 14th, 2006 at 4:59pm
Just spoken to Ofcom and apparently what they are doing is illegal and breaches the data protection act!

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by JoePublic on Mar 14th, 2006 at 5:36pm

Rob.S wrote on Mar 14th, 2006 at 4:59pm:
Just spoken to Ofcom and apparently what they are doing is illegal and breaches the data protection act!


Exactly.

Very Nice Man are you a shareholder with them. ;D

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by Shiggaddi on Mar 14th, 2006 at 5:53pm
The difference between 118 providers putting you through, and the 0871 number, is that when a customer receives their phone bill, they will look at the 118 entry and associate it with calling for information about a number, rather than a restaurant booking.  Of course it's excessive but seeing the number on the bill, Mr or Mrs average will know that the bill was for looking up a number, rather than have a gripe with a restaurant.

If Mr or Mrs average looks at their bill, and notices a strange 0871 number on the bill, and possibly on a mobile contract bill, where all their other mobile and landlines are part of inclusive minutes but sees a 40p per minute charge for 0871, then Mr or Mrs average will call up and find out where this £2 call came from.  Upon finding out it's the restaurant they ate at last month, they will want answers from the restaurant as to why a premium rate number was used.

And of course, anyone buying the AA or Michelin guide will have knowingly purchased the book, and phoned the restaurant on their geo number.

I assume that each restaurant has a different 0871 number, and what they have is a separate contact number which is advertised without the knowledge of the restaurant.

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by jrawle on Mar 14th, 2006 at 8:01pm
Well, I for one, when I have a few minutes to spare, will look up all my local restaurants on that site and contact any for which I can find an e-mail address to point out what's going on.

Rob.S: in what respect does it breach the Data Protection Act? Did Ofcom explain any further? It would be useful to tell the restaurants this.

As an aside, the first and only restaurant I looked up had a spelling mistake in the address listed in "The Mobile Food Guide". Should we trust them anyway?

I do wonder how they decided to include people. It's far from a comprehensive list of restaurants.

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by trevord on Mar 14th, 2006 at 8:48pm
Personally, I would question how it breaches the Data Protection Act - if they didn't get the information from the restaurant, then presumably they used publicly available information?  Also, OfCom is not the authorative source on the Data Protection Act - you need to refer to the Information Commissioner for that.  Judging by OfCon's other pronouncements, I would personally take their opinion with a pinch of salt.

Two things I do notice:

1. The home page of the site says "A restaurant guide ... FREE to use" - yes, it's free to refer to, but it's not free if you call one of the 0871 numbers - OK, you don't expect a 'phone call to be free, but neither do you expect it to be a premium rate when the guide is meant to be "FREE to use".

2. In the entries for the individual restaurants, the 'phone numbers are presented as if they are the restaurant's regular 'phone number - which reinforces the earlier comments about customers may well blame the restaurant if they get an excessive 'phone bill.

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by trevord on Mar 14th, 2006 at 8:53pm
I've also noticed that the Terms & Conditions on the site imply that the information is there at the restaurant's application (se 3rd para of Condition 1.):


Quote:
The details provided by the restaurant on the application form are important. You must ensure your details are correct and complete and inform us of any changes.

If that is not correct, there could well be some other illegality involved.

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by a very nice man on Mar 14th, 2006 at 9:07pm

wrote on Mar 14th, 2006 at 5:36pm:
Very Nice Man are you a shareholder with them. ;D

Would I have waited this long before promoting them if I was?

If holding their data, to transmit to others is punishable under Data Protection, where does that put Google etc?

Surely the main problem with the site is the failure to post the costs of calling the numbers.


Shiggaddi wrote on Mar 14th, 2006 at 5:53pm:
. . . . where all their other mobile and landlines are part of inclusive minutes but sees a 40p per minute charge for 0871 . . .

Assurances from Orange are that 0871 on their service are 10p per min.  Still cheaper than 118***

It would appear, without digging into the site too much that each restaurant does have it's own number.

~ Readability adjusted by DaveM

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by Rob.S on Mar 14th, 2006 at 11:09pm

trevord wrote on Mar 14th, 2006 at 8:48pm:
Personally, I would question how it breaches the Data Protection Act - if they didn't get the information from the restaurant, then presumably they used publicly available information?  Also, OfCom is not the authorative source on the Data Protection Act - you need to refer to the Information Commissioner for that.  Judging by OfCon's other pronouncements, I would personally take their opinion with a pinch of salt.

I did wonder about this myself but I didn't speak to Ofcom directly, a colleague did. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Ofcom person was just reading a script for “complaints about phone numbers published on websites without permission”. I didn't think the data protection act protected businesses anyway.

It is true that a warning beneath the number stating the cost of the call might be enough but their business model is clearly based on keeping this as quiet as possible.

If this is legal what is there to stop Joe Blogs setting up a premium rate number for say Ofcom complaints and advertise it everywhere he can implying it is the official number? Maybe they would take it a bit more seriously then!  ;)

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by a very nice man on Mar 15th, 2006 at 12:25am
Great idea Rob, I'll start the ball rolling.

OK folks next time your house is on fire, call 0909 999 999.
Dialing this easy to remember number is all you to help save you and your possessions.
Just call this number and a group of trained professionals will speeding their to save YOU!


You have to imagine 20 pages of pure crap info.

And it will only cost you an average of £30 per call (I know it's £30, but what is your house worth to you?) as it is diverted to our slave labour script readers camp in Outer OuterIndia, who'se lack of knowledge and understanding of the home language might make things diffficult. But please do not panic as you talk to them, as it might put them off their cup of tea. And don't bother calling from a mobile because it won't work!!

Or if you're having problems with thugs, thieves, joyriders, arsonists, or the odd murderer, use our Police Call Out Service on 0999 1739412548547663890589 at £10 per min
But why waste time remembering it as they won't do anything anyway.
But keep this number handy, 999, as the next time you see some granny doing 31 mph in a 30 limit at 3am on a Sunday morning, call it and we'll send out, FOR FREE,  helicopters and squad cars to pull the evil and foul wrongdoer.

Anyone looking for a job as salesman for my new service?

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by Dave on Mar 27th, 2006 at 1:06pm
Rob.S, how's this going? Have you raised a complaint with the website or another body? Has your restaurant been removed from the list?

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by Rob.S on Mar 27th, 2006 at 1:49pm
We contacted BT, Ofcom and the web host (Rackspace) regarding the site. We also spoke to the Mobile Food Guide on the telephone a couple of times. In the end they removed all of our restaurants after we sent them an ultimatum threatening a court injunction.

Unfortunately the rest of the site still remains so people are still unknowingly getting ripped off by them  >:(

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by nanstallon on Apr 30th, 2006 at 6:56pm
If the British spent half the energy, that they spend on ripping each other off, on productive work, this country would be unstoppable.

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by Dave on May 7th, 2006 at 5:12pm
Another site which appears to be doing the same thing is Fancy a Pint?

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by jrawle on May 8th, 2006 at 10:27am
http://www.fancyapint.com/main_site/thepubs/help/explain_0871.html


Quote:
We use 0871 numbers to call pubs for two reasons; to find out which pubs are popular and to make a little money.


At least they are open about it, although it still leaves the question about the legality (or morality) or forwarding numbers in this way without the knowledge or permission of the landlord.

Mind you, unlike restaurant reservations, it isn't normally necessary to phone a pub to book, so I wonder how much they actually make.

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by bbb_uk on May 8th, 2006 at 3:42pm
I agree with Jrawle.  At least they admit how much the call costs (well from a BT landline anyhow) and the fact they do make money from the call.

All other companies don't bother with either, or just say that it is 'national' rate.

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by Dave on May 28th, 2006 at 10:25pm
Another example is rightmove.co.uk.

See Google results here. Rightmove thinks 0845 is "Low call rate".  ::)

Just noticed we already have a thread on this here.

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by =CM= on Jul 12th, 2006 at 2:51pm
This use of 0871 to forward to an unknowing business has been used by the (London) Evening Standard in its pubs section. A local near me was reviewed (positively) but didn't know what phone number the ES had printed alongside. They called it and their own phone rang. You get the drift: the ES or allied company/ies had set up a 0871 forward. They might get some measurements of the impact of their review but the result would be callers thinking the pub was profiting - luckily hardly noone actually phones pubs as the publican told me he'd got 0 calls via that review.

Without enforcement, dodgy practices inspire dodgy characters, some of which get elected or put on quangoes!

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by NonGeographicalMan on Jul 18th, 2006 at 9:55pm

=CM= wrote on Jul 12th, 2006 at 2:51pm:
Without enforcement, dodgy practices inspire dodgy characters, some of which get elected or put on quangoes!


What dodgy quangos like Ofcom you mean where the children have been put in charge of the sweet shop. ;) ::) :o

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by Dave on Jul 22nd, 2006 at 9:32pm
ClickAJob takes advantage of those looking for a job by using its own 0870 numbers.

I'm working my way through the database clearing out rubbish, and the number of these entries where the NGN is provided by a third party is unbelievable!  :o

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by jrawle on Jul 22nd, 2006 at 10:52pm

Dave wrote on Jul 22nd, 2006 at 9:32pm:
I'm working my way through the database clearing out rubbish, and the number of these entries where the NGN is provided by a third party is unbelievable!  :o


In some cases, could it be that the companies have abandoned their 0870 numbers due to bad publicity?

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by Dave on Jul 22nd, 2006 at 11:04pm

jrawle wrote on Jul 22nd, 2006 at 10:52pm:
In some cases, could it be that the companies have abandoned their 0870 numbers due to bad publicity?

Possibly, but a Google search of the website in question reveals many different companies with neighbouring NGNs. For example see here.

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by bbb_uk on Jul 23rd, 2006 at 7:31am
Indeed that google search reveals all companies mentioned on ClickAJob has a number beginning 0870 770 xxxx.

Now I went to some of the actual websites mentioned in that google search and found that indeed they do publish this 0870 770 as their contact number on their contact us page.

Now I wonder if there is a deal going on with ClickAJob and these companies where ClickAJob has set these companies up with 0870 770 numbers and the companies concerned have then adopted these numbers as well.  Question is who gets the revenue or maybe they share it between them?

These companies were all round the country so it is more than a coincidence that they all have the same number starting 0870 770 so I believe ClickAJob has setup these numbers and told the company concerned that by adopting these numbers also they can earn revenue.

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by jrawle on Jul 23rd, 2006 at 2:10pm
Where does ClickAJob list 0870 numbers? It seems just to be a meta search engine that searches other job websites (and it looks quite good too!) Are you sure it isn't one/several of the sites it searches that use 0870 numbers? Or is there a section of the site I haven't seen?

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by NonGeographicalMan on Jul 24th, 2006 at 10:50am

jrawle wrote on Jul 22nd, 2006 at 10:52pm:

Dave wrote on Jul 22nd, 2006 at 9:32pm:
I'm working my way through the database clearing out rubbish, and the number of these entries where the NGN is provided by a third party is unbelievable!  :o


In some cases, could it be that the companies have abandoned their 0870 numbers due to bad publicity?


Or may be they have just got an 0871 number instead now? ;)

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by Dave on Mar 28th, 2007 at 2:04pm
Ofcom has opened an "own initiative investigation" into possible misuse of 087 numbers. Details and discussion here.


Quote:
Own-initiative investigation into the possible misuse of 087 numbers

Ofcom has received over 400 complaints about possible scams on the 087 number range, including scams involving:

[…]

b. rogue advertising of 087 numbers as contact numbers for public service organisations, without the knowledge or approval of the organisation affected.  Using the 087 number, calls are still routed to the advertised destination, but a share of the revenue is generated for the rogue advertiser of the 087 number. This is of particular concern to organisations which have identified rogue 087 numbers being wrongly conveyed as legitimate contact numbers, when in fact they have nothing to do with the organisation concerned.

I assume that this covers the points made in this thread. There are quite a few websites giving 0871 numbers for restaurants, and numbers have been submitted on many occasions for inclusion in the Saynoto0870 database of alternative numbers.

Title: Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Post by andy9 on Mar 29th, 2007 at 11:34am

Dave wrote on Mar 28th, 2007 at 2:04pm:
... and numbers have been submitted on many occasions for inclusion in the Saynoto0870 database of alternative numbers.


There are also some submitted 0844 numbers forwarded to foreign landline equivalents, probably earning commission for the person(s) who posted them.

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