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Hall of Fame (including Hall of Shame) (Read 340,168 times)
allegro
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Re: Hall of Fame (including Hall of Shame)
Reply #135 - Sep 17th, 2015 at 7:43am
 
Both fame and shame here. The National Trust is to be commended for scrapping its various 084x numbers and moving to 034x equivalents.

However their halo is rather tarnished by their latest magazine which contains numerous advertisements using 084x numbers. In most cases these don't comply with the requirement to state the cost of using them.

This raises the question: Are the NT, as publishers, flouting the rules by accepting such ads or is it just guilt by association?
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allegro
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Re: Hall of Fame (including Hall of Shame)
Reply #136 - Sep 17th, 2015 at 1:16pm
 
Overlooked that the NT is still using a 0844 number to request a large print version of its Autumn issue of Berks/Bucks etc news sheet.

Also their website hasn't been entirely purged of 0844 numbers:
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/contact-us/
This doesn't comply with the rules on stating charges.

This page is even worse: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/contact-us/contact-details/

Time to withdraw my nomination for hall of fame
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« Last Edit: Sep 17th, 2015 at 1:16pm by allegro »  
 
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CJT-80
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Re: Hall of Fame (including Hall of Shame)
Reply #137 - Sep 17th, 2015 at 3:24pm
 
Would the major offending words be "local rate" by any chance?

This maybe a case of how to completely ruin a change from 084 to 034 numbers.

Clearly someone at NT needs to be informed.  Lips Sealed
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Any comments made are my own and are not those of SayNoTo0870.com
 
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allegro
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Re: Hall of Fame (including Hall of Shame)
Reply #138 - Sep 18th, 2015 at 7:33am
 
There's a whole ragbag of problems (local rate, no declaration of charges, old style declaration of charges) which suggest that they've taken a halfbaked approach to implementing the rules on premium rate numbers.

I have sent the following email to the NT:


Quote:
Dear Sirs

I am surprised that the National Trust is confused about current legislation regarding premiun rate phone numbers. These are defined as those starting 084 and 087, which cost more than a standard number to call. Also 09 and 070 but I haven't seen any of these used by the NT.

I have always been disappointed that the NT had chosen in the past to use 084 numbers for its primary public contact. The benefits to the NT would have been very small while the costs to members are excessive, especially when calling from mobiles. Legislation which came into force in July 2015 outlawed 084 and 087 numbers for most public contact purposes. Where they are still allowed there MUST be a declaration stating that they cost "Xp per minute plus your phone operator's access charge" where X is the actual cost. The access charge varies but is usually in the range 8p to 40p per minute.

This page has a number of problems:
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/contact-us/

The 0844 number should not be shown at all. It is now illegal to do so. The term "local call rates apply" must never be shown as it is meaningless. The statement: "our 0844 numbers are charged at 5p per minute from BT landlines" is both illegal and incorrect. Since there is still some public confusion about 03 numbers it is useful to say that these are charged the same as 01 and 02 numbers, and are included in any call plans.

This page is just as bad:
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/contact-us/contact-details/

With a ragbag of 087 and 084 numbers, now outlawed for these purposes, with incorrect declaration of costs. In theory the NT could still use 084/087 numbers for its press office as this is not a point for public contact but it still looks bad.

I recently received my autumn issue of NT Magazine and NT near you. On the back of NT Near You: "For a large print version pleas call us on 0844 800 1895" This is simply illegal, even if charges were mentioned which they are not. It's also highly unethical as it's aimed at people with a disability.

In the NT Magazine your own contact numbers are OK but there are many advertisers still using 084/087 numbers. Most don't declare the charges at all and are therefore acting illegally. The NT may not be formally guilty in these cases but it looks shoddy and causes guilt by association. While 084/087 numbers are allowed for initial sales contact there must be the correct declaration of charges. However any company that uses 084/087 numbers looks penny pinching and disrespectful to its customers.

To summarise numbers that are allowed for public contact, they are what the legislation terms "basic rate" numbers. They are numbers starting with:

01, 02, 03
080 (free, including from mobiles)
07 (except those starting 070 which are a special case)

The National Trust portrays itself as a responsible and ethical organisation. Its half baked implemtation of the legislation does it no favours.

Yours faithfully
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« Last Edit: Sep 18th, 2015 at 8:06am by allegro »  
 
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Ian01
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Re: Hall of Fame (including Hall of Shame)
Reply #139 - Sep 18th, 2015 at 11:02am
 

Previous messages of a similar nature, from a number of people, seem to have been largely ignored.

A few minor corrections and additional information for next time.

The BIS regulations requiring 01, 02, 03 or 080 numbers for post sales contact came into force in June 2014. The regulations apply to retailers, traders and passenger transport companies.

It is the Ofcom regulations requiring declaration of Service Charge that came into force in July 2015.

For the record, DoH regulations for GP practices came into force in April 2010,  guidelines for government departments and public service were published by the Cabinet Office in December 2013, and FCA regulation for the financial sector comes into force on 26 October 2015.

Access Charges currently range from 2p to 12p per minute from landlines and 5p to 45p from mobiles, with most providers charging near or at the top of those ranges.

You are correct that calls to 084 and 087 numbers must not be described as 'local rate' or 'national rate'. Both Ofcom and ASA issued a note about this in 2005.

While the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 allows mobile numbers to be used, the implication is that this applies only to small traders where the use of a mobile phone might be expected to be the main or only point of contact, e.g. sole traders such as window cleaners, plumbers, etc, and not for a call centre.

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« Last Edit: Sep 19th, 2015 at 10:51am by Ian01 »  
 
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allegro
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Re: Hall of Fame (including Hall of Shame)
Reply #140 - Sep 19th, 2015 at 7:39am
 
Ian, thanks for giving the details of the various rules and regulations. I hope that my email to the NT has put the main arguments correctly, even if some of the details were not strictly accurate.

The NT can't be easily pinned down as a retailer, trader or transport company though in some respects it's all of these.

Quote:
Previous messages of a similar nature, from a number of people, seem to have been largely ignored.


Do you mean to the NT or to organisations/companies in general? I think we can all agree that the enforcement of the various regulations has been pretty abysmal. The worst has probably been the GPs where they have been dragging their feet for years without any apparent sanction.
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Ian01
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Re: Hall of Fame (including Hall of Shame)
Reply #141 - Sep 19th, 2015 at 9:10am
 

I am aware of several people who have advised NT of their errors over the last year or so. They seem most unresponsive.

NT sells gift items, admission tickets and a magazine subscription. Looks like a trader to me, irrespective of whatever else it does. Lines used for those purposes have to comply with the applicable rules. If they choose to publish a long list of numbers (a mix of 03, 084 and 087 numbers), each with a specific purpose, then they are free to do so, but may look greedy and/or foolish.

Your email has conveyed the main issue that they need to change their number(s). Let's hope they act on it.

Now that we have the clarity of the separate Service Charge declaration, one simple question that can be asked of organisations still using 084 and 087 numbers is 'Why do callers have to pay Xp per minute to your telecoms provider in addition to paying their own landline or mobile provider for the call?' This is the nub of issue. This should draw attention to the fact that they are asking callers to subsidise their costs. This has been outlawed for post sales helplines and is inappropriate in many other settings. The related issue is that the use of an 084 or 087 number also exposes callers to Access Charges of up to 45p per minute.

The simplest route to compliance is to swap any 084 or 087 number over to the matching 034 or 037 number. In some cases, organisations have chosen a new 030 or 033 number instead.

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« Last Edit: Sep 19th, 2015 at 6:31pm by Ian01 »  
 
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Kiwi_g
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Re: Hall of Fame (including Hall of Shame)
Reply #142 - Sep 28th, 2015 at 9:04am
 
Regarding companies moving to 0345 phone numbers, I have recently been corresponding to a large software company about their continued use of 0845 phone numbers.  I mentioned the Consumer Contracts (etc) 2013 and their reply was :-

We’ve reviewed the information you’ve provided and confirm that our use of 0845 telephone numbers for our helpline contacts does not contravene the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (the “2013 Regulations”) or the Ofcom rules in relation to non-geographic numbers (the “Ofcom Rules”).

Both the 2013 Regulations and the Ofcom Rules apply to businesses that provide their products and services to consumers.  The definition of a ‘consumer’ within both the 2013 Regulations and the Ofcom Rules only applies to individuals acting outside their trade, craft, business or profession.  We provide our products and services only to businesses so when our customers contact us they are acting in connection with their business which means they are not classified as ‘consumers’, as defined in the 2013 Regulations and the Ofcom Rules. 

Therefore, as we do not provide our products and services to consumers we do not have to comply with the provisions of the 2013 Regulations and the Ofcom Rules.


So much for Ofcon bringing in regulations for the use of premium numbers.
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kasg
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Re: Hall of Fame (including Hall of Shame)
Reply #143 - Sep 28th, 2015 at 9:23am
 
Kiwi_g wrote on Sep 28th, 2015 at 9:04am:
So much for Ofcon bringing in regulations for the use of premium numbers.

Well, this business certainly seems to have done its homework - their defence looks pretty watertight.
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« Last Edit: Sep 28th, 2015 at 9:24am by kasg »  
 
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Ian01
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Re: Hall of Fame (including Hall of Shame)
Reply #144 - Sep 28th, 2015 at 10:06am
 

If any of their customers are 'consumers' rather than 'businesses' then they do need to advertise a number starting 01, 02, 03 or 080. The BIS rules do not apply if every customer is a business.

Irrespective of that, they do need to declare the Service Charge for any 084, 087 or 09 number that they advertise. Where the Ofcom rules talk about businesses, it is in relation to charges made by the caller's telephone provider. If the supply of telephone services is under a business contract, the caller's telephone provider is not obligated to use Access Charge plus Service Charge pricing. Some do, some don't. The business being called cannot know what type of telephone contract the caller has, and must declare the Service Charge for their number everywhere it is advertised.

The question has to be, why are they so fixated on gaining a 2p/5p/7p per minute subsidy from callers at the expense of making callers pay up to 47p/50p/52p per minute?

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« Last Edit: Sep 28th, 2015 at 11:53am by Ian01 »  
 
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Kiwi_g
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Re: Hall of Fame (including Hall of Shame)
Reply #145 - Sep 28th, 2015 at 10:17am
 
The software company is Sage.  Whilst they quote 0845 phone numbers on their letters etc, there is no information about cost.

I am not unsure about the definition of business users.  Sole traders are consumers.  How can they be so positive that none of their software is supplied to personal users? Furthermore, I am able to work remotely at home and if I contact Sage from home, my home phone bill suffers the various additional charges for 0845 phone numbers.
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kasg
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Re: Hall of Fame (including Hall of Shame)
Reply #146 - Sep 28th, 2015 at 11:05am
 
Kiwi_g wrote on Sep 28th, 2015 at 10:17am:
Furthermore, I am able to work remotely at home and if I contact Sage from home, my home phone bill suffers the various additional charges for 0845 phone numbers.

Yes, but that is still a business expense.
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Re: Hall of Fame (including Hall of Shame)
Reply #147 - Sep 28th, 2015 at 5:05pm
 
The situation regarding inclusion of small businesses (those employing no more than 10 people) within the definition of "consumers" is somewhat fraught. A little research shows that general consumer regulation has not taken the step that has been seen in some particular areas.

Ofcom is noted as being a "shining light" in this respect, due to the provisions of the Communications Act 2003
- notably Section 405, General Interpretation, from which I quote:

Quote:
(5)For the purposes of this Act persons are consumers in a market for a service, facility or apparatus, if they are—

     (a)persons to whom the service, facility or apparatus is provided, made available or supplied (whether in their personal capacity
         or for the purposes of, or in connection with, their businesses);
     …

Some more research - perhaps a report to the Citizens Advice "Consumer" service about this particular possible breach of the relevant Consumer regulations - may be valuable to establish exactly where we stand.

Useful background reading includes Small Businesses As Consumers: Are They Sufficiently Well Protected? - a report for the Federation of Small Businesses.
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allegro
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Re: Hall of Fame (including Hall of Shame)
Reply #148 - Oct 10th, 2015 at 7:12pm
 
Got a reply from the National Trust. A pretty dismal one too.

Quote:
Thank you for your email. Please accept my apologies for the delay in getting back to you, we have been extremely busy recently.

I am sorry that you are disappointed with the use of 0844 numbers on The National Trust website. We initially chose the 0844 number for our Supporter Services Centre because it was non-geographic, not because we could raise income from it. We anticipated that we might want to physically move the location of the department and wanted, from a customer service point of view, to avoid having to confuse members with a new number. In November 2004, we did exactly this, moving from Kent to Merseyside, without having to change the number.

In relation to both our 0844 and 0344 numbers being displayed, this is acceptable as an alternative 034 number is given for the main contact number. We state next to the 034 number that local call charges apply, indicative that calls to this number will be the same cost as those to 01 or 02 numbers. The price given to call our 0844 numbers from a BT landline is correct, and doing so meets the legal requirements, as it is standard practice to present the information in this way.

If you were to call the 0844 800 1895 number, there is an automated message informing you of the alternative 0344 number and that it may be cheaper. Both numbers are currently displayed on the website as there are still some leaflets in circulation giving the 0844 version, but the 0344 number should have been used on any recent publications. I am sorry that the 0844 number appeared on the latest version of the Near You that you received. I have fed this back to the region as these are arranged locally. We are introducing a new website towards the end of the year, and only the 0344 number will be included for the Supporter Services Centre as publications containing the 0844 number should now be out of circulation.

As you have stated, there is no legal requirement to give a 034 number for our Press Office as it is not a main contact number. Similarly, for Holiday Cottage enquiries, a 087 number is used, as the small amount of money received helps to offset the very large costs involved with operating the enquiries line.

I am sorry that you are unhappy with the contact numbers used by companies advertising in the National Trust Magazine. Our magazine advertising is arranged externally by Madison Bell. They can be contacted on will.hurrell@madisonbell.com.

I would like to reassure you that we do everything we can to ensure we comply with all relevant legislation, and strive to make any required changes before legislation changes are introduced.

Telephone is not the only way to contact The National Trust. We are currently in the process of improving our Click to Chat service, and welcome emails regarding any subject to be sent to enquiries@nationaltrust.org.uk, where they will be acknowledged and forwarded to the relevant area of the organisation in a timely manner. Members and Supporters are also welcome to contact us by post if they would prefer.

Thank you for taking the time to get in contact with us. It’s fantastic to hear from our supporters, as it helps us to understand how we’re doing and where we might improve in the future. Thank you also for your longstanding support of The National Trust - it is greatly appreciated.


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« Last Edit: Oct 10th, 2015 at 7:14pm by allegro »  
 
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allegro
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Re: Hall of Fame (including Hall of Shame)
Reply #149 - Oct 10th, 2015 at 7:14pm
 
I have written in reply:

Quote:
I'm not sure where to start. It's very sad to see a large charity with an international reputation being so unaware of current legislation.  It seems that the National Trust has no conscience in these matters. As a charity with profoundly ethical and moral aims this is appalling.

1: It is laudable not to confuse members with repeated number changes, hence the use of a non-georaphic number. But you have done just that, by having to move away from an 0844 number. Using an 0844 number meant that members and supporters could be paying up to 40p/minute to contact you, instead of using inclusive minutes. A very poor way to treat those who support you. 03 non-geo numbers have been available since 2007, you have waited 8 years to move away from 08 numbers. It was then and is now also possible to use 01 and 02 numbers in a non-geographic way. Technically a little more complex than using 08 or 03 numbers but well within the scope of any large organisation.

2: Under current legislation it is not acceptable to use an 084 or 087 number for customer service. No exceptions. If such a number is used for other purposes (such as booking) under current legislation the cost MUST be given as a service charge plus access charge. Please see this Ofcom document for full details:
http://www.fairtelecoms.org.uk/ofcom---simplifying-non-geographic-numbers.html
It is no longer legal to give "cost from BT" etc as you claim in your reply. It is also incorrect as BT now have an access charge of something like 10p/minute for 0844 numbers on top of any service charge that you may be taking.

3: The term "local rate" must no longer be used. It no longer has any meaning. It isn't actually necessary to say anything about 03 numbers but organisations may choose to do so. One suitable form of words is "Calls to 03 numbers are charged at the same rate as 01 and 02 numbers and are included in all call plans".

4: It is sad that the National Trust is not taking responsibility in a pro-active way for illegal practices in its publications. You should be taking it up with the advertising agency yourselves.

In view of the above inadequacies in your reply I would like to refer this correspondence to somebody more senior with the National Trust. Please could you advise me of the most appropriate person, or better still forward this corespondence to them, with a copy to me.
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