Potty Page

April 7, 2009

SayNoTo0870 and banks

I wanted to phone my bank today and decided that I'd call them from my mobile (now I have a shed load of free minutes to use a month). However, they only have an 0845 number... (but, but that's a local number, right?). Despite BT's moves in January 2009 to start actually treating them as the name suggests in their call packages (rather than not including them in the phone package and charging them the full up non-discounted local/national rate), my mobile phone provider doesn't, and treats them specially.

My mobile tariff quite clearly states:

Inclusive minutes

Inclusive minutes can be used for calls to standard UK landlines (starting 01, 02 or 03) and all UK network mobiles. It excludes calls to non-geographic numbers (starting 05, 08), 07744 and 07755 numbers and premium rate (09) numbers.

(That also means that'll I'll have to pay to call a 0800 (freephone) number from my mobile. What a load of Banja Lukas!)

I ain't paying 25p a minute (that's a price I've found on Wikipedia from July 08, it might not be current) to talk to my bank.

Anyways, as you're probably well aware, the issue with non-geographic 08 numbers (03 is fine) has been going on for a while, so much so that the honourable bunch at SayNoTo0870 are giving us alternative geographic numbers for companies who only publish a non-geographic number (0870, 0845, 0800, etc) to contact them with. My question is, how much can they be trusted?

How easy would it be for me to put an entry in for a bank, that actually pointed to my number... and then the phonecall cost savvy people would call me rather than the bank?

Wouldn't it be chuffing easier (and more secure?) for the bank to publish a geographical number? I don't even care where it is geographically. If I'm phoning the Halifax I don't give two hoots if it begins with 01422 or not (I'm aware that might bother some people). Alternately, if you don't want people to think your call-centre might be based in Xtown get a sodding 03 number!

Similarly, if you've got an 0800 number, be aware that it'll cost some people a lot to call you... when if you had geographical number it'd cost them nothing... paradoxical but true.

Looking at the reasons of support of 0870/0845 numbers on Wikipedia is laughable, given today's technology (VoIP).

It means that you only need one number, even if you're based all over the country - I can answer my home phone anywhere in the world... and I ain't no multi-national and my phone number is geographical.

Revenue - VoIP...

Routing - VoIP...

Of course, the other option is to moan at the phone suppliers to treat the numbers as though they're geographical/free. Question is who'll win? Maybe companies could do the protesting for us by just not using them.

Anyways, I shall phone the bank from home this evening, where it won't cost the Earth.

Posted by Ed at April 7, 2009 1:20 PM | Ramble | Rant |