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FOI response - TfL (Read 107,428 times)
loddon
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Re: FOI response - TfL
Reply #15 - Feb 9th, 2011 at 4:05pm
 
Dave wrote on Oct 25th, 6080 at 10:58pm:

It would appear to be distinguishment of "income" and offset costs.


Playing with words.  Call it income, (which Tfl wrongly deny), revenue, defrayment of costs or cost offset -- they are still receiving a 1.5ppm benefit of revenue in kind from callers.   They might claim rightly that they make no profit or surplus revenue.

Dave wrote on Oct 25th, 6080 at 10:58pm:

Still not sure why you're treating the 1.5ppm they receive in payments and the 4.5ppm they receive as services in kind though.  Undecided.

Don't understand your question or your point.

Dave wrote on Oct 25th, 6080 at 10:58pm:

This merely continues to fuel the misunderstanding of these things, much like talking about local and national rate does with call charges.

I don't understand this point.  What is wrong with discussing the rights and wrongs of charging callers a premium to call 08 numbers?
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Re: FOI response - TfL
Reply #16 - Feb 9th, 2011 at 4:10pm
 
Dave wrote on Feb 9th, 2011 at 11:29am:
The fact that there are many numbers listed in our database which answer with IVRs (often the same as their 08 couterparts) rather nullifies such claims.

A good point and thanks for your support on this Dave.  Smiley
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Re: FOI response - TfL
Reply #17 - Feb 9th, 2011 at 4:17pm
 
loddon wrote on Feb 9th, 2011 at 4:05pm:
Dave wrote on Oct 25th, 6080 at 10:58pm:

Still not sure why you're treating the 1.5ppm they receive in payments and the 4.5ppm they receive as services in kind though.  Undecided.

Don't understand your question or your point.

Sorry. I'll write it again with a few more words in:  Embarrassed

Still not sure why you're distinguishing between the 1.5ppm they receive in direct payments and the 4.5ppm they receive as services in kind though.
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Re: FOI response - TfL
Reply #18 - Feb 9th, 2011 at 5:37pm
 
loddon wrote on Feb 9th, 2011 at 4:05pm:
... they are still receiving a 1.5ppm benefit of revenue in kind from callers ...

Does it matter what they are "receiving"? By choosing this 0843 number they impose a charge of 5p per minute on callers.

loddon wrote on Feb 9th, 2011 at 4:05pm:
What is wrong with discussing the rights and wrongs of charging callers a premium to call 08 numbers?

It is wrong that the charge is not declared for what it is. That is what is wrong with 084 and PRS numbers at present. I cannot see how the fact that it is used, in part or in full, to fund telephone services, in part or in full, makes it any different from any other charge.

Would it make any difference if TfL paid its telephone service provider in full for the number and the associated network telephone services and used all of the 5p per minute towards the cost of the actual information services?

Should companies be allowed to recover the cost of their telephones through their retail prices? It is those who may call them who pay these prices. Or does the suggested rule that it is the receiver who should pay only apply to 08 numbers, where there may not be a need to recover the cost through retail prices because callers may be meeting some or all of the cost?


I believe that far too much energy gets used up in looking at the internal finances of NGCS users and allowing ourselves to get drawn into semantic arguments about accounting terms. I see the issue of "profit" as a red herring. Now that 03 is available, the question of the (alleged) features available on non-geographic numbers is also irrelevant.

The only point at issue is whether or not a charge for the service is appropriate and the fact that if a charge is levied through use of a Business or Premium Rate number then it should be declared for what it is - even though this is presently not easy to do in a simple manner.
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« Last Edit: Feb 9th, 2011 at 5:46pm by SilentCallsVictim »  
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loddon
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Re: FOI response - TfL
Reply #19 - Feb 9th, 2011 at 6:20pm
 
Dave wrote on Feb 9th, 2011 at 4:17pm:
Still not sure why you're distinguishing between the 1.5ppm they receive in direct payments and the 4.5ppm they receive as services in kind though.


It follows from what I said in Post#7 above.  I was using this to make the general point (with the current Ofcom Consultation in mind) that charges for calls to 08 numbers are fundamentrally wrong, unethical if you prefer, because the "owner" of the 08 wants a certain service from their Telco and I say passing the charge for this service to callers is wrong in principle and is a great incentive to inefficiency, and in some cases leads to exploitation of callers.   Many people resent the charges incurred in calling these numbers as evidenced by the existence of this website.  

Tfl should pay the service costs levied by their Telco instead of imposing them on their callers.   If this was the situation then Tfl would have a considerable incentive to get the best service possible for their purposes at the best available price and to keep both service level and costs (currently 3.5ppm) under review.  As it is now set up Tfl do not have the incentive of managing the phone service charges and appear to be shamelessly uncaring about the excess costs imposed on their callers.  By insisting on using 0843 and a number of other 08 numbers they are imposing a massive surcharge on their mobile and callbox callers, who I would suggest are the majority, as most callers will be out and travelling, because Tfl are depriving them of the opportunity to phone Tfl within their inclusive minutes within their call packages.   There is probably a lesser cost imposition on their landline callers but it is no less unethical.   These criticisms apply equally to all "owners" of 08 numbers.

The remaining 1.5ppm is the so-called micro-payment and the shared revenue part of the 5ppm surcharge.   I am against the concept of these micro-payments and feel there must be a better way.   As has been said many times before on this Forum using 08 numbers is a very inefficient way of collecting revenue and results in massively increased costs for callers.

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Re: FOI response - TfL
Reply #20 - Feb 9th, 2011 at 6:25pm
 
loddon,

I wish I had the ability on here to "like" your post.

It's explains in much better detail, why NGN's ONLY benefit the owners and users, NEVER the caller!

The only small exception to this is 03 numbers.

I am sure others in other countries would be up in arms about our use of 084/087 numbers, especially for Transport services, such as TfL, National Rail, and Traveline!

Sad
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« Last Edit: Feb 9th, 2011 at 6:26pm by CJT-80 »  

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CJT-80

Any comments made are my own and are not those of SayNoTo0870.com
 
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Re: FOI response - TfL
Reply #21 - Feb 9th, 2011 at 10:47pm
 
loddon wrote on Feb 9th, 2011 at 6:20pm:
It follows from what I said in Post#7 above.  I was using this to make the general point (with the current Ofcom Consultation in mind) that charges for calls to 08 numbers are fundamentrally wrong, unethical if you prefer, because the "owner" of the 08 wants a certain service from their Telco and I say passing the charge for this service to callers is wrong in principle and is a great incentive to inefficiency, and in some cases leads to exploitation of callers.   Many people resent the charges incurred in calling these numbers as evidenced by the existence of this website.

The comment about a charge of 1.5p per minute in post #7 was incorrect. In terms of the proposal in the Ofcom consultation, and in reality, the charge levied by TfL is 5p per minute.

I have always opposed the idea of trying to conceal what is happening by considering the way in which the 5p is used, i.e. pretending that it is only 1.5p or nothing at all. I regard the question of whether some or all of this money is used to pay the NGCS user's telco, to save money for the taxpayer, to boost the profits of a highly efficient organisation or wasted on an inefficiently run call centre, as totally irrelevant to the truly fundamental issue - the caller is paying a premium charge to access a particular service by telephone.


The present situation with 084 numbers is a complete mess, because callers are unaware of how much of what they paying is down to their telco and how much the "Service Provider". This is further confused by the fact that the largest single (although minority) telephone service provider is in a wholly unique position and therefore unsuitable for use as an example if suggesting likely call charges. Furthermore, the way in which mobile telcos group together many different types of NGCS numbers into a common aggregate charge rate means that their Access Charges differ widely, making more when the Service Provider is making less. This latter approach makes it easier for callers to determine the call cost, but is hardly fair.

This has to change.

The unbundled proposal offers a serious way forward to address the transparency issue. As I suggest above, I see no reason why the essence of this proposal could not be adopted by TfL and others immediately. The suggestion that Telcos should not be allowed to vary their Access Charge to give grouped aggregate charge rates addresses one of the inefficiency issues. The removal of the special regulations on BT will help with clarity, even though BT customers would be expected to incur higher charges for calling NGCS numbers.


Total opposition to third parties collecting money through phone bills would be a coherent position to take. It is not clear as to whether this is opposed in respect of Premium Rate (09) numbers, or only 084 and perhaps 087. If so restricted, then suggesting that there must be a minimum level (over 10p per minute, 5p if just 084) at which this should be allowed is a position that needs to be justified against the proposed clearer future for all NGCS numbers, not simply by reference to the current unsatisfactory mess. A proposal for what to do with the presently used numbers is also required to complete a coherent position.


As a London taxpayer with access to the internet, where I use the TfL services without charge, I have an interest in this. What I pay to run TfL is offset by the 5p per minute paid by callers to its newly enhanced telephone enquiry service. Personally, I would rather that we London taxpayers footed the bill in full, although I accept that others may feel differently. If TfL wishes to help us by imposing a charge for a service that may be used more by visitors than London residents, then I believe that it should declare this charge openly. It is not acceptable to quote (out of date) BT call charge rates. I do not believe that TfL should be compelled to charge either over 10p per minute (on a 09 number) or nothing at all for access to this service. I have no reason to suppose that TfL is any more or less diligent in how it manages its finances and negotiates with its suppliers over this service than in any other aspect of its operations.
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Re: FOI response - TfL
Reply #22 - Feb 10th, 2011 at 6:59pm
 
SilentCallsVictim wrote on Feb 9th, 2011 at 5:37pm:
Should companies be allowed to recover the cost of their telephones through their retail prices? It is those who may call them who pay these prices. Or does the suggested rule that it is the receiver who should pay only apply to 08 numbers, where there may not be a need to recover the cost through retail prices because callers may be meeting some or all of the cost?.

Do you mean -- "Should companies be allowed to recover the cost of their telephones through 08 telephone charges (using revenue sharing)?  

I think not because there is still too much wrong with the system under the new system as proposed by Ofcom.   The main problem is that Tfl, for example, cause their mobile callers (which group I have already said are probably the majority) to pay between 20 and 40 million pounds extra for every 1.5 million pounds in revenue which they collect from using the 0843 number.   This is because Tfl are denying callers the opportunity to use minutes from their pre-paid allowance within their contracted package with their Telco.  

0843 numbers are excluded from all packages so callers are forced to pay through the nose in order to access the Tfl service by phone.   Even landline callers with inclusive packages must pay 5 to 10 million pounds for every 1.5 million which Tfl collect.   I am not getting at Tfl, they are just the example which has come to hand this time, but this consideration applies to all users of these numbers which are excluded from call packages.  

It is not just a case that Tfl would be declaring a charge of 5ppm on top of "your Telcos access charge."    No --( for all callers with a package) they should be declaring a 5ppm charge on top of "the premium charge which your Telco charges instead of the normal charge of zero pence which would apply to calls made within your package".   Hence 20 to 40 million for every 1.5 million which Tfl collect.   In any other case this sort of excessive charge would be totally unacceptable but the Telco industry get away with it because few people see the whole picture, (other than the annoyed and angry frustrated users) and the few who use this website and this Forum.   Wink  

This is why I say transparency is not the whole answer to this problem.   Now if a system could be found which would allow Tfl to apply their charge of 1.5 ppm on top of the callers "normal" call cost then we may have a more acceptable solution where an organisation is genuinely offering a real service not just charging the customers every time they need to call them for everyday reasons like complaining about a product, or resolving a problem or misunderstanding.


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« Last Edit: Feb 10th, 2011 at 8:00pm by loddon »  
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Re: FOI response - TfL
Reply #23 - Feb 10th, 2011 at 8:02pm
 
loddon wrote on Feb 10th, 2011 at 6:59pm:
Do you mean -- "Should companies be allowed to recover the cost of their telephones through 08 telephone charges (using revenue sharing)?

I was actually addressing a different issue, however the response goes on to raise another important point, which has not been discussed at any length - the level of the "Access Charge". This same point applies equally to 084, 087 and 09 call charges.

Because of the present bundled situation, along with special conditions relating to BT, we currently have a complete mess. The status quo is indefensible. Ofcom admits this, although rather than beating itself up with guilt over its responsibility for it, Ofcom tries to move on by proposing radical measures.

We may get some idea about how telcos will deal with the "Access Charge" issue in their responses to the consultation. I am reluctant to guess, however there is an interesting possibility, which is linked in with another situation that will be changing over the coming years.

It is not impossible that telcos will be taking all of their income through packages covering calls to geographic rate numbers, mobile numbers and the access charge element of calls to Business and Premium Rate numbers. This will leave the only call charges on the telephone bill as the Service Charges associated with calls to Business and Premium Rate numbers.

There is a strong preference for packages, as many telcos have indicated that mobile call inclusive packages will be offered when the excess termination rates disappear. I am not an expert on PAYG deals, however top-up packages and bundles, rather than simply a cash credit against fixed charges, seem to be increasing as a feature in this market.

The situation has to change; TfL has taken a bad decision given the current realities. I cannot say whether failing to upgrade the telephone service or getting taxpayers to pay for it would have been worse decisions.
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Re: FOI response - TfL
Reply #24 - Feb 11th, 2011 at 11:06pm
 
SilentCallsVictim wrote on Feb 10th, 2011 at 8:02pm:
Because of the present bundled situation, along with special conditions relating to BT, we currently have a complete mess. The status quo is indefensible. Ofcom admits this, although rather than beating itself up with guilt over its responsibility for it, Ofcom tries to move on by proposing radical measures.


The current situation is a complete mess and is indefensible !!   Very strong criticism indeed SCV.   I am not going to argue against your assessment ..... and I am not convinced that Ofcom is "proposing (sufficiently) radical measures" to clear up the mess and gain popular support.  

I don't think the Ofcom proposals will address the two main problems of excessive cost to callers and cynical exploitation by "owners" of 08 numbers.   Just look at this thread http://www.saynoto0870.com/cgi-bin/forum/YaBB.cgi?num=1297424740/4#4  which started today where an airline, BmiBaby, in similar action to their industry competitors, insist on using a rip-off 0844 number while offering toll-free and benign normal numbers to their customers in other countries.  

Their representative has had the audacity to start a thread on this site and yet will not respond to reasonable questions nor explain or attempt to justify BmiBaby's rationale in insisting on using 08 numbers.   Do BmiBaby have no confidence at all in their position such that they are not prepared to explain and justify their position?  This intransigence by Companies only fuels the public perception that they are only interested in ripping-off the British public, while they would never dare in other countries.   This is an issue which Ofcom should address.

The other big issue which I have aluded to is the ludicrous and exploitative design of the system which forces callers to pay excessive call costs while the companies are claiming to be making fair charges for services but in fact are receiving a mere 10% or less of the charges.  This charging structure will be no different under the proposed regime.


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« Last Edit: Feb 11th, 2011 at 11:09pm by loddon »  
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Re: FOI response - TfL
Reply #25 - Feb 12th, 2011 at 2:48am
 
loddon wrote on Feb 11th, 2011 at 11:06pm:
... (no reference to TfL) ...

Perhaps for the sake of good order in the forum, we should keep our comments in the appropriate threads.

I reply Re: Ofcom consultation: ... and Re: bmibaby.
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Re: FOI response - TfL
Reply #26 - Mar 14th, 2011 at 1:37pm
 
I AM TOTALLY APPOSED TO 0845 NUMBERS BUT THE REASON THEY ARE USED IS BECAUSE OF THE TELCOS PROMOTING THEM

On one hand I understand why companies prefer 0845 numbers rather than 03 numbers, the reason being is that companies have to pay 1p per minute to receive the call.

03 numbers should be more user friendly and becuase they are included in call packages the call recipient should not have to pay to recieve the call. Companies will always find a way to reduce costs and increase revenue where possible. The sad thing is that many smaller companies do not benefit because they do not receive revenue from the Telcos until they have received significant calls. I know this because I had an 0845 number some years ago.

So Ofcom should get their act togeather and develope a plan that works for both the caller and the recipient
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Re: FOI response - TfL
Reply #27 - Mar 14th, 2011 at 3:48pm
 
bazzerfewi wrote on Mar 14th, 2011 at 1:37pm:
I AM TOTALLY APPOSED TO 0845 NUMBERS BUT THE REASON THEY ARE USED IS BECAUSE OF THE TELCOS PROMOTING THEM
...
So Ofcom should get their act togeather and develope a plan that works for both the caller and the recipient  

This is all a hang-over from the days when BT was the dominant provider and could not pass on the premium cost to callers. This meant that users had the benefit of non-geographic numbers and the associated advanced features at no cost to themselves, or those who actually called them. As BT continued to make a profit, the cost was (indeed still is so far as BT is concerned) met by telephone users in general.

It is natural that telcos would promote them under those circumstances, but they still do so, failing to advise that the situation has changed substantially. BT is still subject to this regulation, but it now originates only around 40% of non-business calls from landlines, which account for only around 60% of all non-business calls. This makes the BT share of the non-business calls market around 24%.


When a non-geographic number is selected, the user (known as the Service Provider - SP) can pick it from a price band which determines the amount their telephone service provider (the TCP) receives for each call minute. Essentially, this is the rate that BT must charge for the call, it cannot add its own charge. Other providers are free to add their own charge to give whatever rate they advertise. We therefore have the Service Charge (to the benefit of the recipient) and the Access Charge (to the benefit of the originating telephone company) bundled together.


The Service Charge which callers pay (except with 03) first subsidises the cost of the advanced features on non-geographic numbers, so it is only any residue that gets passed on as "revenue share". (If call volumes fall well short, the user may actually get a bill.)

Because this is the way that non-geographic numbers have always been financed, operators generally apply the same model with 03 numbers, charging by the call, rather than as a simple rental charge. I am not sure whether Ofcom should intervene to determine the basis on which telcos charge users of 03 numbers for their services.

In general, I do not believe that the terms of the commercial relationship between the TCP and the SP should be a matter of any concern to the caller. Ofcom should only intervene if there is a serious problem that could be effectively addressed by regulation. If 03 users are unfairly denied the option to pay for their service other than by paying to receive calls, then they should make a case for Ofcom to intervene.


The level of the Service Charge paid by the caller, according to the number selected by whoever they are calling, should be all that matters to them, regardless of how it is distributed. The Access Charge added by their own telephone company is another separate issue.

Ofcom proposes that the existing arrangement (using the terms given above) be made transparent under what it calls the "unbundled option" presented in its (now extended) current consultation. The key feature of the proposal is that the Service Provider be required to declare the Service Charge that they have selected to be imposed on the caller. They will also be required to refer to the Access Charge imposed by the caller's own telephone company.

The telephone companies will also be required to make their Access Charge simple to understand and clearly presented. Whilst these proposals are nothing like as radical as some advocate, I believe that if they are properly implemented then the transparency will have an effect on the way in which these numbers are used. Present patterns rely heavily on misrepresentation, ignorance and misunderstanding of complex issues.

Ofcom also proposes that the current special regulation on BT be lifted, so that competition can occur on an equal basis (in terms of regulation). Is essence this means that BT will be free to add an Access Charge and it will not be able to hide the Service Charges incurred when calling 0845 numbers in packages, where they are effectively paid by all package subscribers.

If this option is adopted and put into effect, those promoting "Business Rate" 084 numbers will have to point out that the selected level of Service Charge must be declared to callers. In some cases, this may make 084 numbers harder to sell. As the requirements will apply to existing users of 084 numbers, we will have to look out for a possible mass migration to 03, or a return to geographic numbers.


Members may express their views about whether or not this is the right plan in response to the consultation and / or in the associated discussion in this thread
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Re: FOI response - TfL
Reply #28 - Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:28pm
 
bazzerfewi wrote on Mar 14th, 2011 at 1:37pm:
On one hand I understand why companies prefer 0845 numbers rather than 03 numbers, the reason being is that companies have to pay 1p per minute to receive the call.

The amount Service Providers (organisations using the numbers) must pay is a commercial matter between themselves and their provider. Any such charges are not new, but currently covered by Service Charges on 0845 (and similar) numbers.

By the same token, at the caller's end there is the call charge. That is a matter between the caller and its provider. This is not the issue; higher call charges are merely a consequence of the Service Charge.

The key issue is therefore the level of service charge. As this is something which Service Providers control, then they should declare these when soliciting calls.


bazzerfewi wrote on Mar 14th, 2011 at 1:37pm:
So Ofcom should get their act togeather and develope a plan that works for both the caller and the recipient  

I believe that Ofcom has developed a plan that works for both parties, as contained in the current consultation (the consultation period has been extended until 31st March).

The unbundled solution is the clearest to represent charges. I go as far as saying that the charges should never have been bundled together in a multi-provider system, as we have today. It is that which has caused all the confusion and it is that which leaves us with all organisations seeking benefit through their Business Rate numbers, but many pretending that they do not.
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Re: FOI response - TfL
Reply #29 - Mar 15th, 2011 at 4:51pm
 
I am just a humble user of the telecom services and do not fully understand its implications but it appears to me that the industry is all driven by profit and the general public do not understand all the different pricing structures.

There's nothing wrong with profit that's what makes the world go around but it's all the different pricing and plans that confuses people.

It could be made easier if Ofcom put their mind to it

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