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Sneaky National Rail Enquiries (Read 183,408 times)
NGMsGhost
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Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Reply #45 - 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. Huh Angry Cry
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Keith
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Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Reply #46 - 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.
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Keith
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Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Reply #47 - 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
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Keith
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Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Reply #48 - 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.
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NGMsGhost
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Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Reply #49 - 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.
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« Last Edit: Feb 7th, 2007 at 10:58am by NGMsGhost »  

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colin37400
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Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Reply #50 - 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

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bill
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Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Reply #51 - 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.
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« Last Edit: Apr 4th, 2007 at 2:31pm by bill »  
 
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Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Reply #52 - 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)
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Keith
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Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Reply #53 - 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!
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Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Reply #54 - 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
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Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Reply #55 - Apr 4th, 2007 at 7:57pm
 
Nice reply Colin.
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After years of ignoring govt. guidelines & RIPPING OFF Council Tax payers using 0845 numbers, Essex County Council changed to 0345 numbers on 2 November 2015
WWW  
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Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Reply #56 - 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.
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Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Reply #57 - 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.
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Keith
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Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Reply #58 - 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?
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Re: Sneaky National Rail Enquiries
Reply #59 - 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 www.nationalrail.co.uk, or if you're out and about, the WAP site at wap.nationalrail.co.uk
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