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Hereford & Worcester Fire Service (Read 4,565 times)
poppasmurf
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Hereford & Worcester Fire Service
Sep 2nd, 2015 at 9:04am
 
My local Fire Service has just started a local consultation on a central hub in my area, and logging onto their specific page, I was astounded to see they are giving a premium rate 0845 number for people to give their views.  On logging onto their contact page to make a complaint, I was aghast to find how many 0845 premium rate numbers they still have:
http://www.hwfire.org.uk/contact/

Surely they must be breaking so many rules and regulation by still using these premium rate numbers?   Embarrassed
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kasg
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Re: Hereford & Worcester Fire Service
Reply #1 - Sep 2nd, 2015 at 11:27am
 
poppasmurf wrote on Sep 2nd, 2015 at 9:04am:
Surely they must be breaking so many rules and regulation by still using these premium rate numbers?   Embarrassed

I don't know about that, but they are not displaying the charging information, which definitely is against the rules.

PS it is actually only one 0845 number, listed four times.
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« Last Edit: Sep 2nd, 2015 at 11:28am by kasg »  
 
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poppasmurf
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Re: Hereford & Worcester Fire Service
Reply #2 - Sep 29th, 2015 at 2:49pm
 
I've now had a reply from H&W Fire Service, which seems to be a load of gobbledegook.  I wasn't even aware I'd made an application under the Freedom of Information Act.

They say:

Thank you for your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Act 2000 request that was received by Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (the Service) on 02 September 2015.  Specifically your request concerned the use of 0845 telephone numbers on the Service’s website.

As part of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which comes into force on 01 October 2015, the communications regulator Ofcom has "unbundled" calls to 0845 numbers, so that consumers are able to easily determine how much a call costs by splitting the fee into "Access charges" and "Service charges":

·         Access charge: This is charged per minute by the provider to connect calls
·         Service charge: This is charged by the organisation being called
Both fees will appear on bills separately and the cost for the call maybe calculated by adding the charges together.

Under the Act, premium rate telephone numbers are no longer permitted for queries relating to goods or services which have already been purchased; however, premium rate numbers may still be used for new customers.

The Service, like many Government departments / Local Authorities who deliver customer services, is exchanging premium telephone numbers for either local area codes e.g. Worcestershire “01905” or numbers beginning with '03', which are chargeable at geographic rates.  The Service is presently replacing Headquarters main contact number with Tel: 0333 122 4454 and it is anticipated that this will be completed by the end of October 2015.

Meanwhile, the Media and Communications Team can be reached on Tel: 01905 368319 and outside of office hours, Fire Control may be contacted on Tel: 0333 399 0043.  In all emergency situations however, please dial 999 immediately.  Freedom of Information / Data Protection Act requests may be discussed with the Performance and Information Team on Tel: 01905 368310 or emailed to IR@hwfire.org.uk.

Should you have any queries regarding the management of your request and wish to make a complaint, in the first instance please do so using Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service's complaints system: Comments and Complaints.  If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the internal review, you may appeal the decision by contacting the Information Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, SK9 5AF, Tel: 0303 123 1113 (alternatively 01625 545745) or E-mail: casework@ico.org.uk

Further information on Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service may be viewed at the Service’s website: www.hwfire.org.uk

Thank you for your request for Information.

Kind regards


Bethan Groom
Information Governance Advisor
Performance & Information Department
Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters
Tel: 01905 368310   
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Ian01
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Re: Hereford & Worcester Fire Service
Reply #3 - Sep 29th, 2015 at 3:45pm
 

The Consumer Rights regulations came from BIS, not Ofcom, and the parts affecting telephone calls came into force in June 2014. The regulations deal with post sales helplines for retailers, traders and passenger transport companies. As such they are irrelevant here.

The rules on call charges for 084, 087 and 09 numbers did come from Ofcom and came into force on 1 July 2015. They are not part of the Act that was mentioned in the reply.

Of far more significance is the guidance from the Cabinet Office published in December 2013. This suggested public services adopt 01, 02, 03 or 080 numbers.

Whatever the confusion evidenced by their reply, it does appear that they are, belatedly, doing the right thing by swapping to various 03 numbers.

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« Last Edit: Sep 29th, 2015 at 3:48pm by Ian01 »  
 
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