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Clear Call Rates for Everyone (Read 47,229 times)
SilentCallsVictim
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Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Jul 2nd, 2015 at 7:17pm
 
"Clear Call Rates for Everyone" - aka "UK Calling" is now in force - http://ukcalling.info.

The fair telecoms campaign is continuing its efforts to draw attention to this in general terms and is focussing its energies on promoting widespread proper understanding of what this achieves, as well as giving specific attention to selected important individual cases.

The important point is bringing the attention of consumers to Service Charges and Access Charges, so that they can engage directly with those who impose these charges, to challenge them on the propriety and level of the charge.

Those who are failing to comply must be reported to the respective enforcement authority directly:
  • Telephone companies - to Ofcom
  • Broadcasters - to Ofcom
  • Service Providers with 087/09/118 numbers - to Phonepay Plus
  • Service Providers with 084 numbers - to the ASA

These authorities will probably suggest that the issue be raised with the organisation directly - especially in the early days, when there could be genuine ignorance or delays in getting websites properly updated.

Supporters of the "fair telecoms campaign" can feel free to use the name in raising an issue and to copy me in with any emails.


We always knew that the start would be messy and there are many situations still being resolved. Some of what is seen at present will not necessarily be in place for long. We urge care in drawing early conclusions about how effective this has been. Much of what it has achieved has already been seen by the number of organisations who have moved away from 084/087 numbers - to avoid having to declare a Service Charge.


We are working with partners on the idea of an authoritative publicly-accessible website to verify the level of Service Charge which applies to any number. This is actually disturbingly difficult to achieve in practice, because of the nature of the network of commercial agreements between originating and terminating telephone companies, which retains some of the legacy of a nationalised service.

We are confident that something effective and sufficiently definitive will be achieved, as this is very badly needed. It should have been in place ready for 1 July and we hope that it will not take long. We are however determined to get it right and to secure adequate endorsement of its validity. I cannot offer a running commentary, however we will ensure that followers of the SayNoTo0870.com forums are kept up to date. If anyone wants to be involved in this, please contact me directly.


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bbb_uk
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #1 - Jul 2nd, 2015 at 9:56pm
 
Thanks.

I've made this a sticky.

Forum Admin has created a webpage here which details the "access charge" for most telephone providers.
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #2 - Jul 2nd, 2015 at 10:11pm
 
bbb_uk wrote on Jul 2nd, 2015 at 9:56pm:

Forum Admin has created a webpage here which details the "access charge" for most telephone providers.

These will need to be watched closely as they are new on the market and may be subject to further change. In some cases operators have failed to comply with the regulations (by offering differential rates). Ofcom is aware of this and must be expected to pull them into line - we hope, very swiftly.


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bigjohn
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone (Non Compliance)
Reply #3 - Jul 3rd, 2015 at 4:04am
 
Its  early days yet but the non compliance by service providers is currently very high. I did a quick check of major users in my neck of the woods,and i only found one complying. Those not publishing the service charge involved to call them  included a Premier League Football Club,Large Hotel. Large  Firm Of Solicitors, Big Car Sales Company, Major Fitness Club Chain, Big Theatre.

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« Last Edit: Jul 3rd, 2015 at 4:12am by bigjohn »  

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japitts
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #4 - Jul 3rd, 2015 at 10:25am
 
I've found the same - also noticing that when you query the non-compliance/what is the service charge with these firms, that "ignore the email or Tweet" seems to be quite prevalent.

Which makes me wonder, what level of enforcement is there? I suspect none.
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nicholas43
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #5 - Jul 3rd, 2015 at 2:10pm
 
SilentCallsVictim wrote on Jul 2nd, 2015 at 7:17pm:
We are working with partners on the idea of an authoritative publicly-accessible website to verify the level of Service Charge which applies to any number. This is actually disturbingly difficult to achieve in practice, because of the nature of the network of commercial agreements between originating and terminating telephone companies, which retains some of the legacy of a nationalised service.

In my opinion, Ofcom ought to have compiled such a list, and should make it available on their website. I have managed to get recorded by Ofcom my complaint that they have not done it.
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #6 - Jul 3rd, 2015 at 10:48pm
 
bigjohn wrote on Jul 3rd, 2015 at 4:04am:
Its  early days yet but the non compliance by service providers is currently very high. I did a quick check of major users in my neck of the woods,and i only found one complying. Those not publishing the service charge involved to call them  included a Premier League Football Club,Large Hotel. Large  Firm Of Solicitors, Big Car Sales Company, Major Fitness Club Chain, Big Theatre.

japitts wrote on Jul 3rd, 2015 at 10:25am:
I've found the same - also noticing that when you query the non-compliance/what is the service charge with these firms, that "ignore the email or Tweet" seems to be quite prevalent.

Which makes me wonder, what level of enforcement is there? I suspect none.

Thanks for these comments.


There is no good reason why service providers could not have achieved compliance in time, however we have found that some have responded to a well-aimed gentle nudge. I would encourage others to try this approach.
This is wrong  Angry, it should not be necessary  Sad, however it can be seen to work  Smiley.

(I referred to ways in which the fair telecoms campaign can be involved with specific cases in my first posting in this thread.)


We must all be concerned about the level of enforcement that will be seen in practice. Obviously we will have to wait to see what happens, as cases are presented to the respective regulators, investigated and then action determined. Because the enforcement action is re-active, as opposed to pro-active, it will be some time before we able to make any judgement about how effective this will be - in individual cases, and in demonstrating the importance of compliance to others.

Although we have to give people time to do their job, please be assured that the fair telecoms campaign and Ofcom are watching this very closely and will ourselves take action, in relation to enforcement procedures, if and when it is necessary.

Natural cynicism offers a healthy protection against complacency. We are however very cautious about allowing Service Providers to believe that they have nothing to fear from failure to comply, by publicly suggesting that enforcement is not robust. Our tactic must be to withhold any such public suggestion until such time as it is both necessary and likely to lead to an improvement. Notwithstanding tactical considerations, I am genuinely confident that this will work - it has already caused a mass evacuation of the 084 ranges and this is still continuing at a pace.


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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #7 - Jul 3rd, 2015 at 11:11pm
 
nicholas43 wrote on Jul 3rd, 2015 at 2:10pm:
SilentCallsVictim wrote on Jul 2nd, 2015 at 7:17pm:
We are working with partners on the idea of an authoritative publicly-accessible website to verify the level of Service Charge which applies to any number. This is actually disturbingly difficult to achieve in practice, because of the nature of the network of commercial agreements between originating and terminating telephone companies, which retains some of the legacy of a nationalised service.

In my opinion, Ofcom ought to have compiled such a list, and should make it available on their website. I have managed to get recorded by Ofcom my complaint that they have not done it.

The fair telecoms campaign essentially agrees with this point. Ofcom has however always been reluctant to allow any possible misunderstanding of its role to emerge. It only sets the general rules; it is the telephone companies and service providers that choose their rates and maintain the tables.

Even though it failed to compel this to be provided, Ofcom does support the idea of there being an authoritative lookup facility - so long as this does nothing to undermine the importance of individual Service Providers declaring their chosen rate. We agree that the direct relationship between the caller and the person being called (with the financial terms of this relationship being declared in context) is the fundamental point that must remain.

We see the facility we are working on as serving to support accurate declaration of Service Charges by Service Providers, not in any way to replace it. We hope to gain explicit support from Ofcom by the assignment of its authority, in a suitable form. I promised not to give a running commentary on work in progress, but my level of general optimism has increased since I wrote the original posting.
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japitts
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #8 - Jul 4th, 2015 at 12:44pm
 
As a matter of interest, where are complaints best directed in the first instance if non-compliant companies ignore the "query"?

I've got a link to the ASA online complaints form, but do Ofcom log these specifically?
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Ian01
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #9 - Jul 4th, 2015 at 12:50pm
 

Complaints...

ASA for numbers with a Service Charge of up to 7p (i.e. 084 and some 087).

PhonepayPlus for numbers with a Service Charge of more than 7p (i.e. most 087, 09 and 118).

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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone (Eurotunnel)
Reply #10 - Jul 4th, 2015 at 1:09pm
 
Euro Tunnel  have two 0844 numbers one has a service charge of 4p the other 7p, They think its ok to generalise and  to say the service charge is  up to 7p  a minute. No breakdown for each individual number. Plus your note they place the info as far away as possible from the number as possible.

As the service charges for each number are not specifically clear and they are not prominently shown in close proximity to the numbers they are not complying.

It makes you wonder if this a deliberate effort to lessen the impact when customers seek the contact numbers.



See http://www.eurotunnel.com/uk/contact-us/

I have pointed this out  to the customer relations dept,and will keep you posted.




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« Last Edit: Jul 4th, 2015 at 1:32pm by bigjohn »  

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bigjohn
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #11 - Jul 4th, 2015 at 1:34pm
 
japitts wrote on Jul 4th, 2015 at 12:44pm:
As a matter of interest, where are complaints best directed in the first instance if non-compliant companies ignore the "query"?


I have found in the past a tweet or a post on the official facebook page often gets results.
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone (Eurotunnel)
Reply #12 - Jul 4th, 2015 at 1:57pm
 
bigjohn wrote on Jul 4th, 2015 at 1:09pm:
Euro Tunnel  have two 0844 numbers …
As the service charges for each number are not specifically clear and they are not prominently shown in close proximity to the numbers they are not complying.


I would suggest that the issue be raised, initially, with the Customer Relations Team. (As stated in the initial post, we are happy for this to be done as a "supporter of the Fair Telecoms Campaign", and I will be very happy to be copied with the message.)

The page (http://www.eurotunnel.com/uk/Complaints-procedure/) containing the relevant email address (customer.relations@eurotunnel.com) is linked from that quoted.

We will have to wait to see how rigidly the specific terms of the requirements are applied when determinations are made by the ASA in individual cases. Use of annotations and footnotes is not uncommon for this type of information, however I can see no justification for not giving the particular Service Charge for each number - as this is part of the essence of the clarity now being applied.

More importantly the imposition of a Service Charge on calls from customers who already have bought tickets and are looking only for the Call Centre or Recorded Travel Information numbers (perhaps communicated by a third party) is a breach of terms of the Consumer Contract regulations.

The call cost information in respect of calls to the France Call Centre (from any location, including within France) is undoubtedly incorrect.
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #13 - Jul 4th, 2015 at 2:14pm
 
japitts wrote on Jul 4th, 2015 at 12:44pm:
As a matter of interest, where are complaints best directed in the first instance if non-compliant companies ignore the "query"?

I've got a link to the ASA online complaints form, but do Ofcom log these specifically?

The regulator covering each type of situation is given in the leading post of this thread. This also expresses our willingness to be referred to in any enquiry (and copied in to messages, so as to receive the response) - this may help with escalation and imply the threat of media exposure - which need not be a bluff!

Ofcom itself has no statutory power to enforce compliance by users of Service Numbers, and so cannot intervene in particular cases. Having designed and implemented the 'Clear Call Rates for Everyone" measures with co-operation from others, be assured that Ofcom will be monitoring the effectiveness of the measures in general, and the specific activity to this end by others, very closely. We understand that this applies at the highest level in the organisation.

There are situations where the Fair Telecoms Campaign is perhaps better placed than Ofcom to help the shared objectives being achieved and our close working relationship continues - despite our independence and total difference of view on many issues.

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derrick
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Re: Clear Call Rates for Everyone
Reply #14 - Jul 4th, 2015 at 4:52pm
 
SilentCallsVictim wrote on Jul 4th, 2015 at 2:14pm:
japitts wrote on Jul 4th, 2015 at 12:44pm:
As a matter of interest, where are complaints best directed in the first instance if non-compliant companies ignore the "query"?

I've got a link to the ASA online complaints form, but do Ofcom log these specifically?

The regulator covering each type of situation is given in the leading post of this thread. This also expresses our willingness to be referred to in any enquiry (and copied in to messages, so as to receive the response) - this may help with escalation and imply the threat of media exposure - which need not be a bluff!

Ofcom itself has no statutory power to enforce compliance by users of Service Numbers, and so cannot intervene in particular cases.
Having designed and implemented the 'Clear Call Rates for Everyone" measures with co-operation from others,
be assured that Ofcom will be monitoring the effectiveness of the measures in general, and the specific activity to this end by others, very closely. We understand that this applies at the highest level in the organisation.


There are situations where the Fair Telecoms Campaign is perhaps better placed than Ofcom to help the shared objectives being achieved and our close working relationship continues - despite our independence and total difference of view on many issues.



As usual a regulator with no teeth, no wonder companies ignore "regulation" and complaints when there is no-one to enforce!

Where is the point re your comment "Ofcom will be monitoring the effectiveness of the measures in general, and the specific activity to this end by others, very closely", when no-one appears to be able to enforce?

This will be another game similar to years,(and still going on), of 0845 & 0870 being described as Local rate and National rate respectively and no-one enforcing. do you really think all will comply? Or even the majority.
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