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Clear Call Rates for Everyone (Read 46,883 times)
nicholas43
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #15 - Jul 5th, 2015 at 2:43pm
 
I am wondering if anyone (including Ofcom?) foresaw that telcos would set such enormous access charges. On the face of it, the cost of connecting a call to 08x, and transferring a significant payment to the terminating provider (including the service charge), can't be any more than the cost of connecting a call to 01, and transferring a small payment to the terminating provider.
An organisation such as Traveline, which is proving a service that some people actually need, now finds that most of its customers will be paying something like 50p a minute, of which Traveline will actually receive less than 5p. It would make huge sense for Traveline to offer an 03 number to users who are willing to register a debit card. They could then pay (say) 10p a minute, of which Traveline would actually receive 9p.
Similarly, the BBC would be wise to invite viewers to register a debit card and pay (say) 10p to vote, instead of paying £1 to their telco, of which the BBC gets 3p (or whatever).
And it is, at last, in principle, now transparently obvious that calls to 118 are only for the mindlessly extravagant, or sadly daft.
The only rational use of service charges has become (it seems to me) sweaty-palm calls to 09 numbers, by callers who wish to think they remain anonymous. 
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« Last Edit: Jul 5th, 2015 at 7:08pm by nicholas43 »  
 
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Ian01
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #16 - Jul 5th, 2015 at 3:07pm
 

For calls to 09 and 118 numbers, the Access Charge has effectively been reduced, in many cases significantly. Mobile operators often took more than £1 per minute as their share.

Under the old system, Virgin Media charged 41p per minute for calls to 0845 numbers, of which they retained 39p. Their Access Charge is now 36p per minute.

Under the old system, EE charged 40p per minute for calls to  0845 numbers, of which they retained 38p. Their Access Charge is now 44p per minute.

These aren't massive differences to the old charges, but are now fully exposed.

The biggest change is with BT. Their rates have always been capped by the NTS Retail Condition. That regulation has now ended and their Access Charge has changed, from effectively zero, to 9.58p per minute.

Declaration of Service Charge now makes it much easier to challenge unjustified and inappropriate usage of 084, 087 and 09 numbers. Consumers must now take that opportunity to do so.

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« Last Edit: Jul 5th, 2015 at 3:09pm by Ian01 »  
 
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bbb_uk
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #17 - Jul 5th, 2015 at 5:37pm
 
Ian01 wrote on Jul 5th, 2015 at 3:07pm:
For calls to 09 and 118 numbers, the Access Charge has effectively been reduced, in many cases significantly. Mobile operators often took more than £1 per minute as their share....
I believe there should have been two "access charges", one for service numbers as they're known (ie 08x) and one for premium rate regulated numbers (ie 09x and 118).

I know it was easier to simply have one access charge to try and make it easier but it wouldn't have been that much harder for consumers to know there were two service charges.  This may have kept 08x charges down.

What is probably happening now is the OCP's may actually get more revenue now than they did under the old rules because obviously there is more calls to 08x numbers than 09x and also now those that ring 08x numbers are going to get "bill shock" due to how much they have increased in cost (in total).

It's not that easy to see what your telephone provider's access charge is.  That may chance over time (probably a long time giving Ofcom's record).
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« Last Edit: Jul 5th, 2015 at 5:39pm by bbb_uk »  
 
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Ian01
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #18 - Jul 5th, 2015 at 6:28pm
 

If Ofcom had allowed a split level Access Charge, one rate for 084 and 087 and another rate for 09 and 118, we would probably now find ourselves in the situation where the Access Charge for 084 and 087 calls was so low that the combined Access Charge and Service Charge was nearly always cheaper than an out of bundle call to an 01, 02 or 03 number. That would lead to many more businesses adopting 084 and 087 numbers, on the advice from their supplier that they were cheaper, and completely ignoring the fact that most callers have inclusive minutes for calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers. As calls to 084 and 087 numbers become more expensive, the easier it is to argue against their use. Ofcom rightly recognises that 084 and 087 numbers are also premium rate and groups all premium numbers together under the same call charge system. There is intrinsically no difference between an 0845 number with a 7p per minute Service Charge, an 0870 number with a 13p per minute Service Charge and an 09 number with a 15p per minute Service Charge.

For the purposes of PhonepayPlus regulation, a new category has been introduced to define what is covered. Controlled Premium Rate Services (CPRS) include:
- chatlines, irrespective of prefix used or call price
- adult entertainment services, irrespective of prefix used or call price
- internet dialler based services, irrespective of prefix used or call price
- 087 numbers with a Service Charge of more than 7p per minute or per call
- 09 numbers
- 118 numbers
- any number where the benefit to the called party and their telecoms provider is more than 10p per minute including VAT; this latter definition mops up various 070 and 076 numbers.

Given that the effective Access Charge for 09 and 118 calls has been massively reduced, and while it has been increased by a small amount for many 084 and 087 calls, I don't believe that the new system gives OCPs vast amounts of additional income. I am sure they will have budgeted for an increase, but the actual figures may be surprisingly low. This must also be set against rapidly declining levels of calls to 084 and 087 numbers. The government has all but abandoned them. Customer service lines are moving away from them. Banks and insurance companies are now also moving away.

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« Last Edit: Jul 5th, 2015 at 8:37pm by Ian01 »  
 
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nicholas43
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #19 - Jul 5th, 2015 at 7:16pm
 
bbb_uk wrote on Jul 5th, 2015 at 5:37pm:
I believe there should have been two "access charges", one for service numbers as they're known (ie 08x) and one for premium rate regulated numbers (ie 09x and 118).

I don't know how the settlement between telcos works. But, in principle, I can't see any technical justification for charging more, per call, to transfer a large termination charge (eg to 118) than a small one (eg to 01). Of course, I can see the commercial justification: a mug who is being ripped off by a "service" provider probably won't notice if his originating provider rips him off as well.
So, were colossal undeclared access charges on calls to 118 and 09 cross-subsidising cheap anytime bundles for calls to 01 02 and 03? If so, will we see bundles to 01 02 and 03 becoming dearer?
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« Last Edit: Jul 5th, 2015 at 8:42pm by nicholas43 »  
 
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Ian01
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #20 - Jul 5th, 2015 at 7:40pm
 

Increasing levels of calls to 03 numbers may push up the cost of inclusive call plans, unless the termination rate is cut. Another factor that may push up the cost of inclusive call plans is the almost inevitable introduction of inclusive calls to mobile numbers from landlines. By April 2017, the Mobile Termination Rate will be very slightly lower than the current termination rate for calls to 03 numbers.

One thing that has to be factored into the Access Charge is the Bad Debt Provision, and there is a big argument that it should have instead been bundled in with the Service Charge.

On the subject of multiple levels of Access Charges, see also http://www.lebara.co.uk/uk-calling while it lasts (hopefully not for long).

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« Last Edit: Jul 5th, 2015 at 7:48pm by Ian01 »  
 
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nicholas43
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #21 - Jul 5th, 2015 at 8:50pm
 
Ian01 wrote on Jul 5th, 2015 at 7:40pm:
Another factor that may push up the cost of inclusive call plans is the almost inevitable introduction of inclusive calls to mobile numbers from landlines.

Our current landline bundle (with moribund EE) already includes 1000 min/month of calls to mobiles.
Pricing telephony has become a totally black art. A tiny minority of consumers who use most of their bundle most months are subsidised by (a) people who use a lot less than their bundle; and (b) people who use more than their bundle, and pay penal rates for out-of-bundle calls.
Quote:
One thing that has to be factored into the Access Charge is the Bad Debt Provision, and there is a big argument that it should have instead been bundled in with the Service Charge.

How could that have worked? Consumers pay their originating provider. They have (which is the root of the muddle) no direct financial relationship with the "service" provider.

Quote:
On the subject of multiple levels of Access Charges, see also http://www.lebara.co.uk/uk-calling while it lasts (hopefully not for long).

Yes. Are Lebara's managers (a) illiterate; or (b) canny, knowing that Ofcom will take months/years to stop them, and meanwhile their customers will have no effective redress?
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bbb_uk
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #22 - Jul 5th, 2015 at 10:31pm
 
Ian01 wrote on Jul 5th, 2015 at 6:28pm:
If Ofcom had allowed a split level Access Charge, one rate for 084 and 087 and another rate for 09 and 118, we would probably now find ourselves in the situation where the Access Charge for 084 and 087 calls was so low that the combined Access Charge and Service Charge was nearly always cheaper than an out of bundle call to an 01, 02 or 03 number. That would lead to many more businesses adopting 084 and 087 numbers, on the advice from their supplier that they were cheaper...
The other regulation that stops use of using a premium number (whether service numbers or not) for calling a customer services would also have stopped many businesses adopting service rate numbers.  The exception being for sales enquiries and those businesses that are currently exempt from having to provide normal numbers for customer services as they currently are now.

Therefore, I still believe that having two service charges may have kept 08x calls down a bit.

It would be interesting to know how many businesses would have chosen to swap to geographical charged numbers if they only had to contend with Ofcom's regulation over clearer calls (ie the other regulation didn't exist)!!

Obviously, a pure guess here but I would say only a few would have moved away from their existing 08x number just because they had to declare a service charge of x ppm.

Ian01 wrote on Jul 5th, 2015 at 6:28pm:
...Given that the effective Access Charge for 09 and 118 calls has been massively reduced, and while it has been increased by a small amount for many 084 and 087 calls...
As far as normal consumers are concerned, the cost of calling 084 (for example)  probably doubled (and more) in cost under the new system, at least from landlines anyhow.  Mobiles, don't appear to have gone up (again overall) that much under the new system compared to old system.

One quick example is that calls to 0845 number from sky landline was around (I believe) 8ppm whereas now it's probably double that to call most 0845 numbers as the access charge alone is more than old cost and then, as you say, you have probably an average price of 7ppm service charge.
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« Last Edit: Jul 5th, 2015 at 10:40pm by bbb_uk »  
 
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Ian01
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #23 - Jul 5th, 2015 at 11:06pm
 

Now that the 16p per call connection fee has been scrapped, short calls are now substantially cheaper.

I read something a while back that suggested the average call length is only about two or three minutes.

I guess a large number of calls are terminated within seconds when the caller realises there's a queue.

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« Last Edit: Jul 5th, 2015 at 11:07pm by Ian01 »  
 
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derrick
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #24 - Jul 7th, 2015 at 12:14pm
 
Santander http://www.santander.co.uk/uk/help-support/contact-us/call-charge-information

Still giving out old info, "Details correct as of 1 March 2013."  : -


"Call charges for telephone numbers used on this website;-

03 numbers
Calls cost no more than calls to geographic numbers (01 or 02) and are included in inclusive minutes and discount schemes in the same way.

0845 and 0870 numbers
Calls from some fixed networks cost no more than a national rate call. Mobile and other providers' charges may vary.

0800 and 0808 numbers
Calls from UK landlines are free. Mobile charges may vary.

0844 numbers (except the extensions listed below)
Calls have a set up charge of up to 13p and then cost up to 4p per minute depending on your BT call plan. Calls from mobile and other providers' charges may vary.

0844 561 / 0844 800 / 0844 879 / 0844 900 & 0844 999 numbers
Calls have a set up charge of up to 15p and then cost up to 5.2p per minute (including VAT) depending on your BT call plan. Calls from mobile and other providers' charges may vary.

Please check with your service provider for exact costs. Calls from abroad may cost significantly more. Details correct as of 1 March 2013."


.
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bigjohn
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone(Ambassador Theatres)
Reply #25 - Jul 8th, 2015 at 11:20am
 
Even when they do attempt to comply some do it half baked.

EG: Give correct charges for 0844 numbers, Dont mention charge for the  0871 one number, and say in FAQ

2. Calling the Customer Contact Centre 
a.  What will it cost me to call?

"We’re pleased to say that ATG doesn’t charge premium rates on any of our 0844 – numbers. All our phone lines charge at a national rate, though this may vary dependent on service providers and if you’re calling from a mobile phone. International calls are charged at a national rate.

http://www.atgtickets.com/customer-care/contact-us/
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« Last Edit: Jul 8th, 2015 at 11:30am by bigjohn »  

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bigjohn
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone(Durham Fire &Rescue)
Reply #26 - Jul 8th, 2015 at 11:53am
 
I am not looking for non compliance but if happen to see a service number mentioned in media i check out the odd one. From what i have seen so far not many have got it right.

Heres a Fire Brigade using a 0845 number for non-emergency calls. No mention of the service charge .

Plus surely they should be offering 01/02/03 access,Not 0845 in accordance with https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hmg-guidance-for-customer-service-lin...


https://www.ddfire.gov.uk/emergency-contacts
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« Last Edit: Jul 8th, 2015 at 12:02pm by bigjohn »  

BJ.
 
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #27 - Jul 11th, 2015 at 11:16pm
 
An interesting example of a failure to declare a Service Charge is found at:
BBC using 084 telephone number - and breaching the Broadcasting Code

Sunday morning TV viewers (BBC1 10:00) may wish to compare the screenshot from last Sunday with what is broadcast on 11 July!

When we first drew attention to this, at the start of this year's series, we commented:
Quote:
we hope that this is a little slip that will be promptly corrected

We understand that this will be done, albeit in stages. Stage 2 - changing the number - is not expected immediately, as it is also used by others within BBC Northern Ireland.

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bigjohn
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #28 - Jul 12th, 2015 at 4:23am
 
Commercial Radio Station. Magic FM

http://www.magic.co.uk/faqs/contact-magic/

not yet complying.

Still  saying on site  "Studio number: 08 444 777 888 Calls to this number will be charged at £0.05/minute. Mobile charges may be higher."

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« Last Edit: Jul 12th, 2015 at 4:25am by bigjohn »  

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Ian01
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #29 - Jul 12th, 2015 at 10:21am
 

Sunday Morning Live now says ...


On screen:

Phone 08459 555 678
Calls cost up to 7p/min plus your network's Access Charge.
Calls from mobiles may cost considerably more.


Presenter:

... and you can also comment by phoning our number 08459 555 678.
Calls cost up to 7p a minute from most landlines plus your network's Access Charge.
Calls from mobiles, though, can be considerably more.


The new announcement is still in breach of the Broadcast Code which requires the Service Charge for this number, not a general 'up to' statement and does not require anything to be said about landlines, other providers or mobiles.

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« Last Edit: Jul 12th, 2015 at 2:40pm by Ian01 »  
 
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