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Q Hotels (Read 1,029 times)
japitts
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Q Hotels
Oct 30th, 2018 at 9:21pm
 
Q Hotels chain advertise 0845 all over their website without so much as a mention of call charges (example https://www.qhotels.co.uk/contact-us/) - I queried this with their CS who just replied with a standard scripted answer that completely missed the point but seemed to take satisfaction from each hotel having 01x numbers.

Their confirmation emails with bookings, specifically ask you to call the same 0845 for any queries.

I've taken both issues up with the ASA & CAB, but I'm sadly not expecting much to really come of either. I suspect the hotel chain has a deliberate policy of ignoring the law.
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Ian01
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Re: Q Hotels
Reply #1 - Oct 31st, 2018 at 1:21pm
 

Omission of call charges is a breach of Ofcom regulations. ASA has a page on their website about this and should deal with it.

Offering a premium rate 084, 087 or 09 number for after-sales enquiries and issues has been illegal for more than four years. Regulations came from BIS. CA should deal with this and escalate to Trading Standards.
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« Last Edit: Oct 31st, 2018 at 1:22pm by Ian01 »  
 
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japitts
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Re: Q Hotels
Reply #2 - Nov 13th, 2018 at 5:40pm
 
Entirely as I suspected Ian, but thanks for confirming. I actually had a useful conversation with one of their marketing people today who took my points away, but only with the benefit of hindsight did I realise they are obviously coming from a policy position of "0845 is acceptable, the rest follows".

On the specifics of their post-sales being 0845, they are hiding behind the fact that 084x redirects to 0113 and also that the geographic contact numbers for individual hotels are available on their site if you look for them. I don't think this is sufficient, however they have said...

"On the other note of the call costs for ‘Post Sales Issues’, the Consumer Contract Regulations 2013 Issue 41 explains that we must only charge no more than the ‘basic rate’ for these calls which at 2p per minute falls within this rate, as per the Government website the call should be between 0p-7p. As mentioned on the telephone, this 0845 number is mapped to a 0113 number for the Leeds office".

My immmediate reaction is that this is either incorrect or someone is getting confused as to what "basic rate" means. But I want to further check my facts before responding further. It just galls me that it should be this difficult.
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Q Hotels
Reply #3 - Nov 14th, 2018 at 8:18am
 
Yes it is difficult, but perhaps we can help a little.

The illegality of use of 084 numbers for customer service is explained more fully here - Implementing Guidance - Consumer contracts (information, cancellation and additional charges) regulations. See point J.4.

The suggestion that 084 numbers are charged at "basic rate" is denied by Q Hotels itself,
see https://www.qhotels.co.uk/contact-us/,
Quote:
… telephone numbers that start with 0845 are 'business rate numbers' which tend to cost more than calls made to standard numbers …
The form of the full statement is far from perfect, as call charges are invariably greater from both landlines and mobiles.

We have picked up on your advice of this case through our "whinging" Twitter identity - see https://twitter.com/FT_whinger/status/1062615990477963264. We will engage directly if this receives a response.
If you would like us to join you in your exchanges, then please get in touch.
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japitts
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Re: Q Hotels
Reply #4 - Nov 26th, 2018 at 8:56am
 
Thankyou, that was most helpful!! I wish I'd spotted the irony on Q-Hotels own site myself, but thanks to SCV for pointing it out.

I'm told my comments have been passed to their legal and management areas, so time will tell.. I won't hold my breath though, I get the feeling that at a corporate level, Q-Hotels want to keep 0845 as much as they can get away with.
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Q Hotels
Reply #5 - Nov 26th, 2018 at 11:15am
 
I suspect that the obstacle to change will  be inertia, rather than any greed around what little share, if any, is earned from the 1.67p per minute made on calls.


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