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Message started by derrick on Nov 11th, 2006 at 12:07pm

Title: CONSUMER DIRECT
Post by derrick on Nov 11th, 2006 at 12:07pm
I had to call Consumer Direct this morning,(on a geo number), on an unrelated phone issue, however towards the end of the conversation I was asked where I got the number from, they where not asking about me calling on the geo number, just a general enquiry, I told them I had rung a geo number and that I would not ring the 0845 number,I was then adamantly informed that the 0845 4040506 is "local rate"  >:( I informed the person that it was not and that she was breaking ASA,Ofcon and COI guidleines also Consumer Protection Act 1987 (partIII), she was still adamant,she eventually transfered me to a supervisor,after I told her I was going to report her and C D, and he said the same thing,it is "local rate".
How the hell do we get the message accross when Consumer Direct are giving out wrong info??

I have complained to them on their website feed back page, but feel we are banging our heads against a brick wall.

Title: Re: CONSUMER DIRECT
Post by kk on Nov 12th, 2006 at 12:21am
Derrick, you have hit on the basic problem, the mantra:-   “.. 0845 is only a local rate number .. It saves you paying for a long distance call ....”  

Another basic problem is convincing people that for all BT residential customer (except the tiny minority on the special low user rate) that  no cost difference exists between ringing London, Leeds or Lancaster to ringing next door.   Most people I speak to say they avoid making  “long distance calls” because of the cost.  They don’t realise that all UK calls cost the same, regardless of distance.

BT should print in large font on all bills and adverts that all “normal” UK calls cost the same.  They would see revenue rise with the increase in the volume of calls made.

Title: Re: CONSUMER DIRECT
Post by Shiggaddi on Nov 12th, 2006 at 11:41am

kk wrote on Nov 12th, 2006 at 12:21am:
BT should print in large font on all bills and adverts that all “normal” UK calls cost the same.  They would see revenue rise with the increase in the volume of calls made.


It is mainly those who don't understand the telecoms system, and still believe there's a huge difference between ringing next door, and the other end of the country, who have stayed loyal to BT, so it will be mainly BT that will pick up the extra revenue.

However, once it becomes common knowledge that there's no local or national rate, then providers of 0870 and 0845 numbers, of which BT is one, will get questioned more about their expensive rate numbers, as more people will realise that 0870 is a con.

This in turn will force bad publicity on BT who collect this revenue via the phone bill, even though most of it is passed on to the other telecoms companies (of which BT is sometimes one anyway)

In some cases, companies will revert back to geographic calls.  Now instead of calls being made to 0870 numbers, they will be made to geographic numbers, by people on option 3, where no additional profit will be made on the call.

Title: Re: CONSUMER DIRECT
Post by Dave on Nov 12th, 2006 at 1:05pm

Shiggaddi wrote on Nov 12th, 2006 at 11:41am:
However, once it becomes common knowledge that there's no local or national rate, then providers of 0870 and 0845 numbers, of which BT is one, will get questioned more about their expensive rate numbers, as more people will realise that 0870 is a con.

But even when the penny drops and they realise that all geographical calls cost the same, they will probably believe that 0870 and 0845 are now the same, or at least 0845 isn't the covert rip-off it currently is.

Title: Re: CONSUMER DIRECT
Post by mikeinnc on Nov 12th, 2006 at 9:30pm

Quote:
This in turn will force bad publicity on BT who collect this revenue via the phone bill, even though most of it is passed on to the other telecoms companies (of which BT is sometimes one anyway)


Excuse me? Do BT ever get GOOD publicity? I am convinced they are the main instigators of this scam, and will fight a rearguard action to maintain it, whatever they say in public.  I am confident that they see it as a surreptitious method of maintaining their voice traffic monopoly for as long as they can get away with it. Of course, the Directors know it is totally unethical, but so are they, so why should they care? Hey, this is business, right? Stuff the consumer! Remember, this is the company that just introduced an effective 20% increase in call fees across the board, and told the public it was a price cut. Yeah, right!

And - are you sure that BT don't get by far the largest slice of the 08** call fee?

BT could probably stop the scam tomorrow ....... but they never will. Given the totally incestuous relationship between Ofcom and BT, Ofcom will never take any meaningful action, either.

Title: Re: CONSUMER DIRECT
Post by derrick on Nov 25th, 2006 at 4:43pm
Have received 2 e-mail responses, and hopefully staff will be re-educated, 1st one on 17th November:-

17/11/2006

Dear Mr *****

Thank you for your correspondence.  Consumer Direct (South West) is the Government OFT Helpline dealing with calls and emails to Trading Standards departments in the South West.

The complaint you have sent to us has been forwarded to the Office of Fair Trading - Consumer Direct central team, and an official response will be forwarded to yourself regarding this complaint.

I trust this information is helpful to you and hope the matter is resolved shortly.


Best Wishes

Susan Russell

Senior Advisor

Consumer Direct


2nd one, received  23rd November:-

Dear Mr *****

Thank you for taking the time to email us regarding the information given out by our advisors.  

The correct information should have been as below:

"Calls to the Consumer Direct 0845 numbers are charged at no more than four pence per minute from a BT landline. Call charges from other landline providers or mobile phones may vary. Please check the rate with your phone provider."

This information is clearly displayed on the home page of our website and I will remind all advisors of this, as you rightly suggested.

Kind regards.

Karen Chilvers
Marketing & Communications Manager
Consumer Direct

www.consumerdirect.gov.uk
08454 04 05 06
clear, practical consumer advice

Fleetbank House
2-6 Salisbury Square
London EC4Y 8JX.





Title: Re: CONSUMER DIRECT
Post by bbb_uk on Nov 25th, 2006 at 5:01pm
You should point those staff that weren't aware of this to their own website here.


Title: Re: CONSUMER DIRECT
Post by NGMsGhost on Nov 29th, 2006 at 3:04pm
But we should ask why they of all people are using 0845 numbers and when they plan to get an 03 number instead so consumers are not overcharge for the calls.

Its just all so much effort to achieve something that the greedy careerist self serving executives who run Ofcom could have mandated overnight and also imposed large fines for continuing to claim that 0845 and 0870 are local/national rate

Title: Re: CONSUMER DIRECT
Post by NGMsGhost on Nov 29th, 2006 at 3:16pm
From http://www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/about.shtml#1


Quote:
What is Consumer Direct?

Consumer Direct is a telephone and online consumer advice service, supported by the Office of Fair Trading.

We provide clear, practical, impartial advice to help you sort out problems and disagreements you may be having with suppliers of goods or services.

From overcharging to faulty goods, from dodgy workmanship to reporting dishonest traders and scams, our advisers are ready to offer solutions for individual problems.

We offer help and advice to every single consumer in Great Britain (regardless of age, gender, social background or ethnic group) who is buying or has bought goods or services. Consumers in Northern Ireland should contact ConsumerLine for advice and information.

The advice and information we give is free and you can call as many times as you need to. Telephone calls are charged for via the 0845 number, which will cost no more than 4p per minute for BT customers (other networks may vary).


So an agency of the Office of Fair Trading uses an 0845 number for the public to call it.  Ye Gods is there no hope at all.  Its as bad as the Parliamentary Ombudsman using one. >:( :'(

I suggest you need to email the senior OFT staff to point out that it is outrageous for them of all people to use an 0845 number and that they must get an 03 number  as soon as possible.  Also if they need call stats why didn't they use a 1p per minute at all times 0844 number? :-/

Email the following at the OFT as they run Consumer Direct and there are no named senior staff on the Consumer Direct website (probably because like Freeview it is only a brand rather than an actual organisation):-

Chief Operating Officer -         bart.smith@oft.gov.uk

Senior Director Competition    vincent.smith@oft.gov.uk

Director of Policy & Strategy   jonathan.may@oft.gov.uk

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