Free the 0800

moneysupermarket.com is urging Ofcom to look into the regulation of call charges from mobiles to Freephone numbers. Not one mobile provider offers all 0800 calls for free, even though calls to 0800 numbers are often essential.

  • Brits spent £88m* calling 0800 numbers from their mobiles in the past 12 months
  • All calls to 0800 numbers on your mobile should be free says moneysupermarket.com

moneysupermarket.com is urging Ofcom to look into the regulation of call charges from mobiles to Freephone numbers. Not one mobile provider offers all 0800 calls for free, even though calls to 0800 numbers are often essential. With a 57 per cent increase in mobile-only households in the last five years, and nearly every household using at least one mobile**, the need for a regulatory review is clear.

Recent research*** from leading price comparison website moneysupermarket.com shows, on average in the past 12 months, just under half the adult population (41 per cent) has called an 0800 number from their mobile phone - racking up a massive £88m* in additional call charges. Worryingly, two thirds (69 per cent) of people who call 0800 numbers from their mobile have no idea how much they are actually charged for making the calls.

With nearly all customer service numbers starting 08****, mobile customers are forced to pay the price for seeking help from their banks, utilities and telecoms providers. Significantly, the survey shows that 80 per cent of people feel their mobile phone network should not charge for calls made to 0800 numbers, providing a clear indication of the need for regulatory review.

James Parker, commercial manager of mobiles and broadband at moneysupermarket.com, said: “It’s clear from the research that a huge amount of people feel they aren’t getting a fair deal when calling 0800 numbers from their mobiles. Whether you call from a landline, mobile or phonebox you should not have to pay for these calls. What's worse is people are mostly calling customer service numbers looking for help from their providers – the last thing they need is to be charged for it.

“Free should mean free and its apparent the facility to make free 0800 calls from mobiles exists, all the major operators allow free calls to 08 numbers for certain charities and I see no reason why this can’t be extended to other essential services such as banks and utilities.”

Freephone 0800 numbers are only regulated for BT customers and although guidelines are imposed on other providers, such as mobile networks, mobile customers do not get the benefit of calling a Freephone number.*****

-END-

Notes to editors

* 41% (19,593,000) of the population make 0800 calls from mobiles * 2.8 (average amount of calls per 12 months) * £1.6 (average cost for 10 min phone call as per below table) = 87,776,998

** According to Ofcom's Communications Market Report 2008 http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/cm/cmr08/telecoms/telecoms.pdf

*** Opinium Research carried out an online poll of 2,179 British adults between 17th and 21st October. On average 54% of adults (25,805,520) make 2.8 calls per year (72,225,456 calls) at a cost of 16p per min. If calls lasts 10 minutes total charge equals £115,608,730

***** According to Ofcom consumer advice

****

High street providers

Provider

Customer Services Number

Average Cost Per 10 Minute Call

Abbey

0800 587 2758

£1.50

HSBC

08457 404 404

£1.92

Lloyds TSB

0845 3000 000

£1.92

Barclays

0845 723 1103

£1.92

Halifax

08457 20 30 40

£1.92

 

 

 

Utilities

 

 

 

 

 

Provider

Customer Services Number

Average Cost Per 10 Minute Call

British Gas

0800 048 0202

£1.50

EDF

0800 096 9000

£1.50

Scottish Power

0845 270 0700

£1.92

E.ON

0845 059 9905

£1.92

npower

0845 071 4525

£1.92

Scottish & Southern

08457 444 555

£1.92

 

 

 

Telecoms

 

 

 

 

 

Provider

Customer Services Number

Average Cost Per 10 Minute Call

BT

0800 800 150

£1.50

Virgin

0845 454 1111

£1.92

Freeview

08701 111 270

£2.00

Tiscali

0871 222 3311

£2.73

Sky

08442 411 411

£2.82

 

 

 

Sourced by www.moneysupermarket.com 05.11.2008

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