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Ofcom consultation on 0870/0871 numbers (Read 56,768 times)
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Ofcom consultation on 0870/0871 numbers
May 2nd, 2008 at 12:57pm
 
From: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/media/news/2008/05/nr_20080502

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Ofcom today set out proposals to provide clarity about the price of calls to 0870 numbers and strengthen consumer protection on calls to 0871 numbers.

0870 numbers are used by many businesses and organisations for a wide range of services including road traffic advice, customer services and financial services. This consultation is part of Ofcom’s wider review of so-called “non-geographic” telephone numbers (those not assigned by location) following consumer concerns over the lack of transparency about the cost of calls.

Today’s consultation proposes that all calls to 0870 numbers should normally cost no more than calls to geographic numbers (01 or 02 numbers) and that 0870 calls should be included in communications providers’ call packages price plans on the same basis as geographic calls. This may significantly reduce the cost of calling these numbers.

Currently 0870 calls are priced at levels that enable businesses and organisations to share the revenue generated by per-minute call charges. Ofcom’s proposals would effectively end revenue sharing on 0870 numbers when combined with other proposed changes to non-geographic call regulation.

Communications providers that want to charge 0870 calls at rates above those for geographic numbers would be bound by strict rules about how prices are publicised and would be responsible for ensuring their customers know what 0870 calls cost. If communications providers do not comply with these rules, they could be subject to penalties including possible fines.

Ofcom aims to have the proposed changes in place by the autumn.

Extension of Premium Rate Services Regulation to other 087 numbers

Separately, Ofcom also published a consultation setting out proposals to improve consumer protection for calls to the most expensive 08 numbers (0871 numbers) by bringing these within the remit of the premium rate services regulator PhonepayPlus (formerly called ICSTIS).

Under PhonepayPlus rules, businesses would be required to publish the price of calls in their advertising and promotional materials and PhonepayPlus would also investigate complaints about excessively long call queuing times only after the complaint has first been referred to the service provider.

PhonepayPlus also has a range of powers that enable it to address scams quickly when they arise. Ofcom is now seeking views on the rules that PhonepayPlus will apply to 0871 numbers.

Ofcom aims to publish a decision in summer 2008 and PhonepayPlus will start to regulate these numbers by the end of the year.

The consultation on 0870 numbers can be found at: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/0870calls/

The consultation on 0871 numbers can be found at: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/087prs/
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Regards
Sunil

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Re: Ofcom consultation on 0870/0871 numbers
Reply #1 - May 2nd, 2008 at 1:49pm
 
http://ukpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5goIiwhJKPJAUfTGOPMKeCdPUjqdg

PA

Ofcom 'to cut prices of 0870 calls'

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Regulator Ofcom has announced plans to cut the price of calls to 0870 numbers and introduce tighter regulations for 0871 lines.

The communications watchdog wants 0870 numbers to cost no more than calls to geographic numbers.

The proposals also improve protection for customers calling 0871 lines - the most expensive of the 08 numbers - by bringing them under the remit of premium rate services regulator PhonepayPlus.

The plans are part of Ofcom's wider review of "non-geographic" telephone numbers, or those not assigned by location, following consumer complaints over the lack of transparency about the cost of calls.

Many businesses and organisations use 0870 numbers to provide information including road traffic advice, customer service and financial advice.

The regulator said companies should provide 0870 lines on the same basis as geographic calls. The proposal is likely to significantly reduce the cost of calling such numbers.

Calls to 0870 numbers are currently priced in a way that allows organisations to share the revenue generated by per-minute call charges. Ofcom's proposals would effectively end this.

Businesses who wanted to charge higher rates for 0870 calls would be bound by strict rules about publicising prices, and would be responsible for making sure their customers knew the costs.

Ofcom said it hoped to have the proposed changes in place by autumn.

Businesses using 0871 numbers would have to publish the price of calls in their advertising under rules set down by PhonepayPlus.
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« Last Edit: May 2nd, 2008 at 1:50pm by idb »  

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Re: Ofcom consultation on 0870/0871 numbers
Reply #2 - May 2nd, 2008 at 1:51pm
 
http://www.computeractive.co.uk/computeractive/news/2215793/ofcom-opens-consulta...

Ofcom opens consultations on new rules for two 08 numbers

Regulator wants clarity on costs and greater protection for consumers

Dinah Greek, Computeract!ve 02 May 2008

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Ofcom has proposed greater protection and clarity on prices for consumers when they use 0870 and 0871 numbers.

The move follows increasing public concern about the lack of transparency over the cost of calls to these so-called non-geographic phone numbers. They are often used by organisations or businesses for services such as customer helplines or traffic advice.

But the different tariffs that companies can charge are bewildering. Anger over the costs has lead to websites, such as Say No to 0870, that give consumers alternative numbers to call.

As part of a wider review of the pricing of all non-geographic telephone numbers (those not assigned by location) Ofcom has proposed ending revenue sharing on 0870 numbers.

At the moment 0870 calls are priced at levels that enable businesses and organisations to share the revenue generated by call charges. The regulator also wants the cost of these calls to be no more than calls to geographic numbers (01 or 02 numbers). If adopted this could significantly reduce the cost of calling these numbers.

It said in a consultation opened today that communications providers that want to charge 0870 calls at rates above those for geographic numbers would be bound by strict rules about how prices are publicised. They would be responsible for ensuring their customers know what 0870 calls cost.

If they do not comply with these rules, they could be subject to penalties including possible fines. Ofcom also said 0870 calls should be included in communications providers' call packages on the same basis as geographic calls.

It has opened a separate consultation on the more expensive 0871 numbers. The regulator said these should be brought under the remit of premium-rate regulator Phonepayplus.

Businesses would be required to publish the price of calls in their advertising and promotional materials and Phonepayplus would also investigate complaints about excessively long call queuing times – but only after the complaint has first been referred to the service provider.

Ofcom aims to publish its decisions this summer and, providing no significant changes are made, Phonepayplus will start to regulate 0871 numbers by the end of the year.
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Re: Ofcom consultation on 0870/0871 numbers
Reply #3 - May 2nd, 2008 at 1:52pm
 
http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=60640&d=254&h=260&f=3

Ofcom to clamp down on 08 numbers

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Media regulator Ofcom has announced plans to tighten the rules on 08 telephone numbers. The regulator wants to provide greater clarity over the price of calls to 0870 numbers. It is also looking to clarify the cost of calls to 0871 numbers.

The consultation is part of a wider review into the cost of phone numbers not assigned to a specific geographical location, which the regulator says will be in place by this autumn.

Ofcom consumer panel chairman Anna Bradley says: "The continued high prices of calling 0870 numbers, particularly from mobile phones, is simply a scandal."

The regulator is proposing that the cost of calling 0870 numbers should be brought in line with 01 and 02 numbers. It also wants tariffs to be better displayed.

Bradley adds: "It is simply unacceptable that consumers are paying up to 25p a minute to call 0870 numbers from mobile phones, or 10p a minute from landlines, when compared to the lower costs of calling geographic numbers."

0870 numbers are currently used by businesses and organisations in sectors such as financial services, as well as for traffic advice.
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Re: Ofcom consultation on 0870/0871 numbers
Reply #4 - May 2nd, 2008 at 3:13pm
 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7380147.stm

Price cut plan for 0870 numbers

<<
The cost of calls to 0870 numbers will be cut under proposals by the regulator after complaints about price clarity.

The number is typically used by consumers when calling customer services departments or seeking advice such as traffic information.

Regulator Ofcom wants prices to come down from a typical daytime tariff of 6p to 10p per minute to 3p to 4p.

More expensive 0871 numbers would also be regulated by the premium-rate watchdog, under Ofcom's proposals.

The plans, which Ofcom wants in place by the autumn, are part of a wider review of so-called "non-geographic" numbers - which are not assigned by location.

Cutting prices

The 0870 numbers are used by a wide range of businesses and organisations offering anything from traffic information to financial services.

Consumers have complained to Ofcom about a lack of transparency in pricing.

On average these calls cost between 6p and 10p per minute in the daytime from a BT landline and 1p to 5p at other times.

Ofcom wants this to be reduced to around 3.5p a minute in the day and 1p to 1.5p a minute at other times - similar to "geographic" telephone numbers.

The proposals would effectively rule out companies or organisations sharing the revenue generated by the calls.

Those which wanted to charge more would have to abide by strict rules on how call charges were advertised.

'Scandal'

"The continued high prices of calling 0870 numbers, particularly from mobile phones, remains a shame and a scandal," said Ofcom Consumer Panel chairwoman Anna Bradley, who welcomed the proposals.

"It is simply unacceptable that consumers are paying up to 25p a minute to call 0870 numbers from mobile phones, or 10p a minute from a landline, when compared to the lower costs of calling geographic numbers."

In a separate decision, Ofcom announced plans to improve consumer protection for calls to more expensive 0871 numbers.

It wants these numbers to come under the remit of PhonepayPlus, the premium-rate regulator.

Under the watchdog's rules, prices would have to be published on any advert or promotional material for an 0871 number and excessively long call queuing times could also be investigated.
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Re: Ofcom consultation on 0870/0871 numbers
Reply #5 - May 2nd, 2008 at 5:10pm
 
Too weak, too late and too narrow. ...  But let us deal with what we have before us ...

The proposal is clearly predicated on BT’s announced intention to drop its rates for calling 0870 to those of geo calls, given that the on-going action in respect of termination charges comes out in its favour. BT must be urged to make a clear public (re-)statement of its position for the benefit of those proposing to respond to the consultation.

If the termination charges dispute comes out in favour of the TCPs, then the Ofcom proposal is dead in the water. Equally, if BT fails to take advantage of a judgement in its favour by treating 0870 in the same way as 03, then Ofcom’s hopes that this proposal will have any significant effect are also dead.


Whilst Ofcom cannot bind users of 0870 numbers (SPs) in any way in respect of how the charge for calling 0870 numbers is described, there is no reason why it cannot make a clear and bold recommendation in this respect.

If its aim relates only to the somewhat nebulous concept of consumer awareness, there is no reason why the final statement could not include such recommendations. Whilst not binding, those with a public reputation who are seen to disregard an Ofcom recommendation could readily be put under pressure to comply.


I look forward to an interesting discussion about how best to deal with the situation we have now. I hope that any fully justifed comments about what a load a rubbish Ofcom is are accompanied by suggestions about how it might be persuaded to improve its act or compelled to do so. If Ofcom is shown to be wholly “unfit for purpose” then suggestions about how it might be replaced or re-formed will move the topic forward.
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Re: Ofcom consultation on 0870/0871 numbers
Reply #6 - May 2nd, 2008 at 7:06pm
 
I knew Ofcom was going to remove the requirement for a pre-call announcement.

I have yet to read the whole consultation before making comments because Ofcom have been known to leave important information out of their brief description, instead burying it within the a very large consultation (over 100 pages in this consultation on 0870 alone).

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Re: Ofcom consultation on 0870/0871 numbers
Reply #7 - May 3rd, 2008 at 12:44pm
 
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/topstories/2008/05/03/rip-off-0870-phone-bills-face...

Rip-off 0870 phone bills face cuts

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Rip-off charges for dialling 0870 numbers are to end, telephone watchdog Ofcom has declared.

They cost 10p a minute from landlines and 40p from mobiles - and companies with the numbers pocket up to 40 per cent.

Ofcom wants to cap costs at 3.5p a minute by autumn.

Firms which refuse, and those with even costlier 0871 prefixes, will have to publicise charges in ads.

Ofcom's Anna Bradley said: "The high price of calling 0870 numbers, particularly from mobiles, is a shame and a scandal."
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« Last Edit: May 3rd, 2008 at 12:49pm by idb »  

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Re: Ofcom consultation on 0870/0871 numbers
Reply #8 - May 3rd, 2008 at 12:46pm
 
http://news.scotsman.com/uk/Watchdog-plans-0870-cost-cuts.4047988.jp

Watchdog plans 0870 cost cuts

<<
OFCOM has announced plans to cut the price of calls to 0870 numbers so they are no more expensive than geographic numbers.

Many firms use 0870 numbers for customer services. They can cost up to 10p a minute to call from a landline, or 25p from a mobile.
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Re: Ofcom consultation on 0870/0871 numbers
Reply #9 - May 3rd, 2008 at 12:48pm
 
http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/news/article.html?in_article_id=441110&in_page_id=2

Watchdog to cut the cost of 0870 numbers

Philip Scott, This is Money
2 May 2008, 5:44pm

<<
The cost of telephoning 0870 numbers is to be slashed under new proposals following gripes from consumers over high costs.

0870 numbers are used by many businesses and organisations for a wide range of services including road traffic advice, customer services and financial services.
This consultation is part of Ofcom's wider review of so-called 'non-geographic' telephone numbers (those not assigned by location) following consumer concerns over the lack of transparency about the cost of calls.

An Ofcom spokesman said: 'Our proposals are designed to protect the consumer. As a starting point we believe that 0870 numbers should normally cost no more than a call to an 01 or 02 number.

'Where they cost more, service providers should clearly advertise this so that consumers are fully aware of the costs.'

Presently 0870 calls are priced at levels that enable businesses and organisations to share the revenue generated by per-minute call charges.

Ofcom's proposals would effectively end revenue sharing on 0870 numbers when combined with other proposed changes to non-geographic call regulation. It is looking to have the plans implemented sometime in the second half of the year.

Typically calling 0870 numbers costs between 6p and 10p per minute during the day and between 1p and 5p during off peak hours.

But Ofcom is looking to have these cut back to circa 3.5p a minute for daytime calls and between 1p to 1.5p a minute at other times - similar to "geographic" telephone numbers.

In addition more expensive 0871 numbers would also be regulated by the premium-rate watchdog, PhonepayPlus, under Ofcom's proposals. Under PhonepayPlus rules, businesses would be required to publish the price of calls in their advertising and promotional materials.

PhonepayPlus would also investigate complaints about excessively long call queuing times only after the complaint has first been referred to the service provider.
>>

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Re: Ofcom consultation on 0870/0871 numbers
Reply #10 - May 19th, 2008 at 7:51pm
 
Four weeks to go until the deadline.
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Re: Ofcom consultation on 0870/0871 numbers
Reply #11 - May 19th, 2008 at 8:04pm
 
Dave wrote on May 19th, 2008 at 7:51pm:
Four weeks to go until the deadline.


And a few responses:

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/0870calls/responses/

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/087prs/responses/


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Re: Ofcom consultation on 0870/0871 numbers
Reply #12 - May 20th, 2008 at 12:53am
 
idb wrote on May 19th, 2008 at 8:04pm:

... which make some good points, but (sadly and predictably - I intend no criticism) do not seriously address the content of the consultation document. It is full of technical detail and requires an understanding of the vital context, in particular the outcome of the ongoing dispute about BT termination fees and the intentions of BT and others in respect of the options presented by Ofcom.

I would suggest that no member of the public is able to offer a meaningful response whilst these items are unknown and their significance unrecognised.
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Re: Ofcom consultation on 0870/0871 numbers
Reply #13 - May 30th, 2008 at 2:02am
 
To avoid accusations that I am trying to make this more confusing than it really is, I am not going to make a long posting explaining exactly why, however ...

... the following Judgement from the Competition Appeals Tribunal means that Ofcom cannot go ahead with the proposals out to consultation: http://www.catribunal.org.uk/documents/Judgment_TRDs_200508.pdf


In lieu of a complete and necessarily lengthy explanation, I can refer readers to paragraph 2.30 of the consultation document and wish them good luck in reaching the understanding that this kills the proposals and renders the current consultation worthless, other than as a means of gauging general opinions.

I hope that someone in the media will be able to pick up on this story and get the following recognition into the public domain -

Ofcom's current attempts to "Say No To 0870" have again failed


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Re: Ofcom consultation on 0870/0871 numbers
Reply #14 - May 30th, 2008 at 8:35am
 
So, nothing's changed, nothing's going to happen, there are now no meaningful proposals on the table and, in reality, all that has happened is the abusers have been given more time to quietly move to 0844, 0871 and 0872 numbers.
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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
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