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0871 forwarding calls without permission (Read 32,635 times)
Rob.S
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0871 forwarding calls without permission
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?
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Shiggaddi
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Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Reply #1 - 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!!
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Dave
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Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Reply #2 - 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.
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JoePublic
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Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Reply #3 - 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.
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a very nice man
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Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Reply #4 - 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.
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Dave
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Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Reply #5 - 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.
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Rob.S
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Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Reply #6 - 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.
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Dave
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Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Reply #7 - 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?
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a very nice man
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Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Reply #8 - 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.
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Rob.S
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Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Reply #9 - 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?
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Rob.S
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Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Reply #10 - Mar 14th, 2006 at 4:59pm
 
Just spoken to Ofcom and apparently what they are doing is illegal and breaches the data protection act!
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JoePublic
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Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Reply #11 - 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. Grin
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Shiggaddi
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Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Reply #12 - 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.
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I realy hait itt wen peeple canot spel proply. Itt getts onn mye nervs sew mutch annd streses mee owt. Knot onley iz itt vary bade speling butt allso bade gramer.
 
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jrawle
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Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Reply #13 - 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.
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trevord
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Re: 0871 forwarding calls without permission
Reply #14 - 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.
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