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R Teleco's deliberately avoiding new Regulations (Read 31,771 times)
bbb_uk
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R Teleco's deliberately avoiding new Regulations
Aug 24th, 2006 at 5:30pm
 
In April 2006, Ofcom announced their plans (see [url=http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/nts_info/statement/statement]here[/url]) in response to the consultation, "Providing consumers with improved information about NTS and PRS" (see [url=http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/nts_info/]here[/url]).

Amongst their statement they decided that Telecom companies will have to be more upfront (transparent) with their NTS (ie 084x/087x) call charges and provide equal prominence to NTS call charges as they do their geographical call charges on their website and in literature, etc.  They (Ofcom) announced in April that Telecom companies would have until 19th August 2006 in order to comply with these new regulations.

The 19th August has now passed and having checked a lot of communication providers websites to see if any had complied with these new regulations, below is the result:-

[b]Telephone Companies that [highlight]have[/highlight] complied with these new regulations:[/b]
[url=http://shop.vodafone.co.uk/Pay-As-You-Talk-Price-Plans.htm]Vodafone PAYG[/url]
[url=http://shop.vodafone.co.uk/Pay-Monthly-Price-Plans.htm]Vodafone Contract[/url]
[url=http://www.talktalk.co.uk/talktalk/servlet/gben-LLU-PageServer?article=MAIN.UK.TALKTALK.STATIC.TESTHUB2]TalkTalk[/url]
[url=http://www.o2.co.uk/mobilestariffs/tariffs/paygo/talkalot]O2 PAYG (Retail tariff)[/url] - O2 only complied with regulations on their PAYG Retail tariff. All other tariffs by O2 did not fully comply.
[url=http://www.sky.com/portal/site/skycom/skytalk]Sky Talk[/url] (now comply when I checked their website - 4/9/06)
[url=http://www.virginmobile.com/vm/genericContent.do?contentId=payasyougo.tariff.howdoi.sm131]Virgin Mobile PAYG[/url]

[b]Telephone Companies that [highlight]haven't[/highlight] complied with these new regulations:[/b]
[url=http://shop.o2.co.uk/shop/o2uk/jsp/tariffs/viewTariffDetails.jsp?pageMode=sim&prodID=consumer:O2:TALKALOT:SIMONLY:TALKANYTIME:PRE]O2 PAYG (Online)[/url]
[url=http://www.o2.co.uk/assets/O2HybridNav/Static-files/PDFs/PAYMTHLYPLANSFINALJULY20.pdf]O2 CONTRACT (Retail)[/url]
[url=http://shop.o2.co.uk/shop/o2uk/jsp/tariffs/viewTariffDetails.jsp?prodID=consumer:Q3:05:O2:online:100:basic:Texter:18M:mms]O2 Contract (Online)[/url]
[url=http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/Dispatcher?pf=Pay+as+you+go&nmid=pas_pp_plan_payg_details&ppid=26&nmid2=ctl_pas_pp_details&menuid=ctl_pas_pp_change_plan&chosenPricePlan=payg]T-Mobile PAYG[/url] - All T-Mobile have stated is that 08x calls cost between free and £2.50 and to call for more details!
[url=http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/Dispatcher?menuid=pas_pp_paym_landing&chosenPricePlan=pmt]T-Mobile Contract[/url] - All T-Mobile have stated is that 08x calls cost between free and £2.50 and to call for more details!
[url=http://shop.orange.co.uk/shop/payasyougo]Orange PAYG[/url]
[url=http://shop.orange.co.uk/shop/paymonthly]Orange Contract[/url]
[url=http://www.three.co.uk/priceplans/PAYGwepay.omp]Three PAYG[/url]
[url=http://www.three.co.uk/priceplans/paymondetail.omp?cid=1142955341615]Three Contract[/url]
[url=http://www.carphonewarehouse.com/commerce/servlet/gben-server-PageServer?ARTICLE=MAIN.UK.INTERNET.STATIC.TTMOBILE.SIMCARDS.FRESHSIM]Fresh by CPW Group[/url]
[url=http://www.carphonewarehouse.com/commerce/servlet/gben-server-PageServer?ARTICLE=MAIN.UK.INTERNET.STATIC.TTMOBILE.SIMCARDS.MBWLDSIM]Mobile by CPW Group[/url]
[url=http://www.virginmobile.com/vm/genericContent.do?contentId=pay.monthly.whychooseus.sm074]Virgin Contract[/url]
[url=http://www.tescomobile.com/simCards.aspx]Tesco Mobile[/url] - All their tariffs.
[url=http://www.bt.com/Choices/calls.jsp]BT[/url] (& their other tariffs)
[url=http://www.euphony.co.uk/land_2.htm]Euphony[/url]
[url=http://www.planet-talk.co.uk/]Primus' Planet Talk[/url]
[url=http://www.telewest.co.uk/websales/service.do?id=3]Telewest[/url]
[url=http://www.home.ntl.com/icat/telephonepackages]NTL[/url]
[url=http://www.tiscali.co.uk/products/talk/?code=NN-HB-0282]Tiscali Talk[/url]
[url=http://www.postoffice.co.uk/portal/po/content2?mediaId=19800178&catId=19300217]HomePhone by Post Office Group[/url]

There is obviously other telephone providers that I haven't included but I believe I've highlighted the main/most popular companies.

None of the landline providers, with the exception of TalkTalk, have complied with Ofcom's new guidelines and I noticed even BT themselves haven't.

[highlight][b]I do believe this illustrates just how far telephone companies will go to maintain the deception of these 084x/087x numbers - by ignoring Ofcom's new regulations![/b][/highlight]

Continued on the next post, is a relevant quote of the new regulations taken from Ofcom's statement [url=http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/nts_info/statement/statement]here[/url] (specifically PDF page 50 but Ofcom page 47).......


[b]Updates:[/b]
04/09/06 - upon rechecking the above, I noticed that Sky Talk now partly comply!
14/09/06 - since last update, no other OCP I list is complying with Ofcom's new regulation.
03/10/06 - since last update, only Virgin Mobile PAYG complies with new regulation.
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« Last Edit: Oct 3rd, 2006 at 8:16pm by bbb_uk »  
 
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bbb_uk
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Re: R Teleco's deliberately avoiding new Regulatio
Reply #1 - Aug 24th, 2006 at 6:12pm
 
Below is a relevant quote of the new regulations taken from Ofcom's statement here (specifically PDF page 50 but Ofcom page 47):-

============================================================
Annex 2

Guidelines for codes of practice for the publication of prices of calls to Number Translation Services

1.1  The key objective of these Guidelines is to ensure that Originating Communications Providers provide their Domestic and Small Business Customers with readily accessible and accurate information relating to the usage charges for NTS Calls on their networks.

1.2  These Guidelines seek to ensure that there is a clear framework within which Originating Communications Providers should be operating in relation to the publication and provision of information to domestic and small business customers about usage charges for NTS Calls.

2.  Status of code

2.1  All Originating Communications Providers who provide NTS Calls are required under General Condition 14.2 to establish a Code of Practice for NTS Calls for their domestic and small business customers (the Code), which conforms with these Guidelines and to comply with the provisions of the Code.

2.2  Compliance with the Code does not guarantee compliance with any other legal requirements.

2.3  Non-compliance with the Code does not affect the validity of any contract between the company and the consumer, unless otherwise provided by law.

3.  Customer information and advice: published price lists and websites

3.1  The Originating Communications Provider that is responsible for the retail billing of NTS Calls to the end-user shall publish the usage charges required to be published under General Condition 10.2(d)(ii) for NTS Calls on its website and in published price lists in a way that gives those charges the same prominence in terms of location and format given to charges for geographic calls, calls to mobiles and call packages, including bundles.

3.2  Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph 3.1, Originating Communications Providers shall give prominence to the following, in particular:

(i) any usage charges that apply for calls to freephone numbers including details of when those charges will apply;

(ii) usage charges for NTS Calls which include variations by time of day. For example, 08xx calls are charged at x pence per minute or per call during weekday evenings inclusive of value added tax;

(iii) whether or not any special offers, discount schemes or call bundling arrangements apply to NTS Calls, including details of which of those arrangements apply to which number range;

Providing citizens and consumers with improved information about Number Translation Services and Premium Rate Services

4.  Customer information and advice: advertising, promotional material and new customers

4.1  Originating Communications providers shall publish in their advertising and promotional material which refer to call pricing, alongside maximum prices applying to NTS Calls, a clear reference as to where on websites and published price lists the complete set of NTS Call charges, as specified in paragraph 3.2, can be found.

4.2  When a new customer signs up for the provider’s service, Originating Communications Providers shall provide, alongside maximum prices applying to NTS Calls in the relevant correspondence, a clear reference as to where on websites and published price lists the complete set of NTS Call charges, as specified in paragraph 3.2, can be found.
============================================================
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« Last Edit: Aug 24th, 2006 at 6:20pm by bbb_uk »  
 
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Re: R Teleco's deliberately avoiding new Regulatio
Reply #2 - Aug 25th, 2006 at 7:53am
 
bbb_uk wrote on Aug 24th, 2006 at 6:12pm:
2.3  Non-compliance with the Code does not affect the validity of any contract between the company and the consumer, unless otherwise provided by law.

I notice this clause that protects those telcos that don't comply from customers claiming a breach of contract should there be any nasty suprises.  Roll Eyes
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Re: R Teleco's deliberately avoiding new Regulatio
Reply #3 - Aug 25th, 2006 at 6:46pm
 
Dave wrote on Aug 25th, 2006 at 7:53am:
bbb_uk wrote on Aug 24th, 2006 at 6:12pm:
2.3  Non-compliance with the Code does not affect the validity of any contract between the company and the consumer, unless otherwise provided by law.

I notice this clause that protects those telcos that don't comply from customers claiming a breach of contract should there be any nasty suprises.  Roll Eyes
I noticed that as well.  Can't say I'm surprised knowing how Ofcom are towards the telecom companies and how they generally treat us citizens!  I'm not even talking about the whole NTS issue but just in general as well!!
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Re: R Teleco's deliberately avoiding new Regulatio
Reply #4 - Aug 27th, 2006 at 3:59pm
 
I found this on T-Mobile's site about prices for 08 numbers: http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/Dispatcher?menuid=pas_pp_special_number_charges

Just seems they forgot to update all the different price plan pages.
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Re: R Teleco's deliberately avoiding new Regulatio
Reply #5 - Aug 27th, 2006 at 5:07pm
 
LeeUK wrote on Aug 27th, 2006 at 3:59pm:
I found this on T-Mobile's site about prices for 08 numbers: http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/Dispatcher?menuid=pas_pp_special_number_charges

Just seems they forgot to update all the different price plan pages.
T-Mobile like BT and most other teleco's display the prices of these numbers in hard-to-find places in most cases or not even mention the prices at all.

T-Mobile have had the price list hidden away for sometime just like BT have their price list hidden away for these numbers.  These new regulations require the teleco's to actually display the cost of 08x numbers on the same page as their geographical numbers and specifically mention the cost and the fact whether they are included in inclusive minutes or not.

T-Mobile, I believe, haven't forgotten just like BT and all the other companies haven't forgotten to follow Ofcom's regulations.  They don't want to publish the cost of these numbers on the same page as their normal geographical call costs because then us consumers would be made more aware of the cost of these numbers.  Telco's make a fortune from these numbers because they're not included (in most cases) in inclusive plans and cost a small fortune hance why the teleco's go out their way to hide the cost of these numbers in hard-to-find areas of their website, or as mentioned before, not even display the cost of them at all.
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Re: R Teleco's deliberately avoiding new Regulatio
Reply #6 - Aug 31st, 2006 at 12:52am
 
For what it's worth, I sent an email or form message to all the companies in the second list, except Sky, and asked them whether they intend to comply.
Undecided
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Re: R Teleco's deliberately avoiding new Regulatio
Reply #7 - Aug 31st, 2006 at 10:09am
 
http://www.euphony.co.uk/land_2.htm

The euphony page does mention 08x tariffs at the bottom. Does this seem adequate to you or not?
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Re: R Teleco's deliberately avoiding new Regulatio
Reply #8 - Aug 31st, 2006 at 10:37am
 
longusername wrote on Aug 31st, 2006 at 10:09am:
http://www.euphony.co.uk/land_2.htm

The euphony page does mention 08x tariffs at the bottom. Does this seem adequate to you or not?


It would be better if they quoted their residential 0845/0870 rates which are

0845 peak 4p,weekends,1.50p evenings, 1.00 weekends.
0870 peak 8.79 weekends,4.64 evenings and weekends.

As they are only a CPS provider users of their residential services have the option of using the likes of 18185 to place their NGN/Mobile calls,or ovveride back to BT for their cheaper 0845/0870 rates.
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Re: R Teleco's deliberately avoiding new Regulatio
Reply #9 - Aug 31st, 2006 at 11:59am
 
longusername wrote on Aug 31st, 2006 at 10:09am:
http://www.euphony.co.uk/land_2.htm

The euphony page does mention 08x tariffs at the bottom. Does this seem adequate to you or not?
No.  Euphony and the others mentioned are not complying with the new regulations except Euphony (and Sky) have gone one further by not even listing the cost of 084x/087x numbers at all so until their customers get the bills they have no idea.  The other companies do list their prices but have hidden them in hard-to-find places to avoid us customers knowing just how expensive they cost and the fact they are excluded from inclusive tariffs in most cases.
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Re: R Teleco's deliberately avoiding new Regulatio
Reply #10 - Sep 4th, 2006 at 3:47pm
 
It seems that after my rechecking the above teleco's websites, that Sky Talk now (partly) comply and have updated their website with a link to their geographical call charges and other call charges (inc t&c) - all of which were not present when I initially checked their website.

For those on Sky Talk, you can view their prices here (downloadable .pdf file).  They don't mention 0844, 0871 or other numbers like 09x numbers - just basic 0845 and 0870.

I'm actually uncertain whether providing just this would mean they now comply or not!
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Re: R Teleco's deliberately avoiding new Regulatio
Reply #11 - Sep 14th, 2006 at 9:27am
 
To date, no other OCP (Teleco) has complied with Ofcom's new regulation
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Re: R Teleco's deliberately avoiding new Regulatio
Reply #12 - Sep 16th, 2006 at 7:41pm
 
I have only just come across this thread and haven't fully read the Ofcom documentation.

However, I suspect you are confusing 'guidelines' with 'regulations' (good guidelines obviously - people are entitled to know how much a call costs before they make it)

Also, I imagine that BT have always met these guidelines - even before they were published, as the cost of NTS calls is specified in the Price List on their website and also in their Specialised Numbers booklet

Regards
Sunil
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Re: R Teleco's deliberately avoiding new Regulatio
Reply #13 - Sep 17th, 2006 at 5:25am
 
gt94sss2 wrote on Sep 16th, 2006 at 7:41pm:
I suspect you are confusing 'guidelines' with 'regulations'
I'm not, it's actually a regulation now (Ofcom's own words)

gt94sss2 wrote on Sep 16th, 2006 at 7:41pm:
I imagine that BT have always met these guidelines - even before they were published, as the cost of NTS calls is specified in the Price List on their website and also in their Specialised Numbers booklet
I'm afraid that BT still don't comply with this regulation.

The new regulation states that the cost of NTS calls have to be on the same page and given equal prominence to that of ordinary geographical calls.  They also state that if the calls are excluded from price plans (which is the case on most tariff plans) then this has to be mentioned.  In other words, teleco's can't hide these call costs in hard-to-find places on their website.

The reason for this is that calls to NTS numbers (specifically 0845/0870) are just as common as geographical calls now and are still confused as 'local' and 'national' rate (in fact a lot of Teleco's still state 0845 is local and 0870 is national) but are obviously charged (in most cases) a lot more than geographical.

Nearly all teleco's use these numbers as an extra source of revenue because most consumers aren't really aware of the cost of these numbers and that they are excluded (in most cases) from any inclusive price plans we have and because they are still referred to in most cases as 'local' or 'national' rate.  This can be confirmed by NTL (and most likely Telewest) charging 10p/min daytime for calls to so-called and misleading 'national rate' 0870 numbers.

So therefore it's in the teleco's interest to try and hide or not even display the true cost of these numbers so they can continue fleecing their customers without their knowledge of how much these calls are.  This is why some mobile companies charge upto 40p/min and as further proof o2 recently reduced their NTS call costs from upto 35p/min (daytime) to 15p/min all the time and that these prices changes came into force a few days before this regulation.  In other words, o2 didn't want their customers knowing that they charged upto 35p/min to call these numbers so (in some cases) reduced them before the new regulation came into force.

This, I believe, is why many teleco's aren't complying with these regulations because they don't want their customers to know the true cost of these numbers and openly highlight that they are not included (in most cases) in inclusive tariff plans.

Going back to BT, why do you think that BT have hidden the costs of NTS numbers in hard to find places where many consumers wouldn't think to look simply because their main price plan page mentions geographical call costs but doesn't mention NTS call costs or even have a link to NTS call costs.  Instead, you have to know where to look for these numbers but as many consumers don't know the difference between a geographical number and a NTS number then why would they even think to go searching around a website for the costs to NTS numbers?  Also, why should they have to?

Basically, NTS call charges are a nice little earner for teleco's at the expense of most consumers not knowing or understanding the true cost of these calls so that is why they aren't complying.

I've been informed by Ofcom that teleco's are aware of this and in fact will have been reminded of their obligation because Ofcom have given notice to the teleco's that they are looking into this non-compliance and that a full investigation may be forthcoming.

Even putting to one side teleco's lack of complying with this new regulation then many still don't comply with an existing regulation that states that all* call costs have to be displayed on their websites and made available on request.

* The only exception to this is bespoke price plans/costs which would really only apply to business customers where teleco's have agreed, depending on how much they spend, etc, special offer type costs.
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« Last Edit: Sep 17th, 2006 at 5:32am by bbb_uk »  
 
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Re: R Teleco's deliberately avoiding new Regulatio
Reply #14 - Sep 18th, 2006 at 12:15pm
 
I just noticed today that Ofcom announced on 15th September an Own-initiative enforcement programme into compliance with General Condition 14.2.

Quote:
Complainant: Ofcom own-initiative
Complaint against: Originating Communications Providers (“OCPs”) who provide access to Premium Rate Services (“ PRS ”) and/or Number Translation Services (”NTS”)
Case opened: 15 September 2006
Relevant instrument: General Condition 14 of the General Conditions of Entitlement (“GC 14”)

On 19 April 2006 and following public consultation, Ofcom issued a statement and notification requiring telephone companies and other communications providers to provide their customers with improved information about calls to NTS and PRS numbers.

Ofcom made modifications to GC 14 which imposed requirements on OCPs from 19 August 2006. GC14.2 now requires all OCPs who bill domestic and small business customers for calls to NTS and PRS to establish, maintain and comply with a Code of Practice for the provision of information relating to PRS and a Code of Practice for NTS calls (See here).

This investigation will be a program to actively monitor compliance in the industry with amended GC14.2 and respond swiftly and effectively to any failure to comply.

Background on NTS and PRS

NTS and PRS numbers are examples of non-geographic numbers (most start with 08 or 09) that do not relate to a specific geographic location, but instead relate to a particular service.

NTS services include information services, some technical helplines, access to telephone banking, sales and customer service lines and dial-up pay-as-you- go Internet services.

PRS services include TV voting lines, competitions, scratchcards, adult entertainment, chat lines, business information services, technical helplines, mobile phone ringtones and game downloads, horoscopes and interactive TV games. Directory enquiry services (on 118xxx) also fall within the definition of premium rate services for the purposes of the Act.

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« Last Edit: Sep 18th, 2006 at 12:16pm by bbb_uk »  
 
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