Punters calling the Reading branch of Carphone Warehouse (CPW) to find out the status of their phone repairs are being routed to a socket with no phone attached and charged for the privilege of listening to it fail to ring. After several months of trying to get through one punter got so annoyed he went down to the store to find …
Call that a conspiracy?
I think I can go one better on that conspiracy theory.
I'm a Carphone Warehouse customer on O2 (ie, CPW bills me, not O2) and I recently went to Spain. All of a sudden, they started calling me to ask me if I wanted to upgrade my phones.
Now, normally I wouldn't think twice about that, but when you factor into the equation the huge fees that I have to pay just to receive those calls abroad, it does make me start to wonder...!
Conspiracy theory anyone?
Say No to 0870
Whilst it won't help with unconnected lines, Say No to 0870 will often provide an alternative, landline number which will be much cheaper (or possibly even free!) to call.
Also you've still got a few hours left to join the 42,600 or so people who have signed up to the Say No to 0870 Petition on the Number 10 Downing Street website at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/saynoto0870/ but hurry because it closes today!
To suggest mere incompetence by Carphone Warehouse is very generous.
Personally, I'm pretty sure the reason (they're losing money hand over fist on the 'free' broadband debacle and need to make an easy buck where they can).
Surprised? I'm not!
Come on now. People should KNOW this by now. Companies who use 08xx numbers couldn't give a rat's arse about customers and the additional cost incurred having to call an 08xx number. And if it rings, so what. The customer pays... no skin off their nose!
Most people use their mobiles to make phone calls, and mobile providers are also reaming their customers by charging them extra for the (dis)pleasure of having to call an 08xx number.
SAYNOTO0870.COM is a fantastic site that has a massive list of geographic numbers that you can call instead of the corresponding 08xx number, which means you pay with your free minutes instead of extra on top.
I frequently use saynoto0870.com to find 01 and 02 numbers. In this scenario I would have called 0118 9508983 and paid a lot less to call the non-existent telephone.
Make the called party pay for incompetence
0870 abuse could be swiftly and effectively eliminated by a bit of creative lawmaking ...
For the first two minutes, the caller pays the normal 0870 rate for the call.
For the next three minutes, the call is free to the caller and the called party pays normal 0870 rates for the call, whether or not the call has been answered.
For every minute beyond that 5th minute, the call remains free to the caller and the called party PAYS THE CALLER at the rate of at least a pound per minute. Again, this applies whether or not the call has been answered.
This gives an immediate incentive to answer the phone promptly and to deal with the problem efficiently, because failure to do either costs the called party money.
One final embellisment, if the called party terminates the call without solving the caller's problems and doesn't call back within an hour with the answer, the caller is paid a fiver.
Sadly, I don't imagine there's anybody at Offcom with sufficient creative ability to think of a workable solution.
Changes on the way
Later this year, 03 numbers are to introduced to give more transparency. Extract from Ofcom:-
"1.10 However, consumers have a poor level of confidence in many 08 numbers. Many people significantly over-estimate charges for these numbers, so are deterred from calling them. Many are not aware of the nature of revenue-share, and a number of ‘scams’ have emerged which exploit that system. Negative views on 08 numbers are exacerbated by their use for some services (both public and private) that customers view as essential. Many calls to chargeable 08 numbers also relate to services to which they are ‘locked in’."
Full document is at:-
Thanks for the article - some clarification though!
Hello, I made the video. Thanks for the link - should probably clarify one major point in your article.
0870 numbers were NEVER "local" rate, they were originally given the misnomer of "national rate", based on a BT tariff from when calls were expensive of 8p/min. There's no such thing as a "national" call now, and no-ones paid that to call a number in years, so thankfully the whole 0870 business is being changed by ofcom (another reader has the link).
Amazed you managed to get a response from them - I felt a complete "we don't give a ****" attitude, from not bothering to tell me the phone was ready, to having a "repair status" line that didn't work, to having phones not connected (in the shops of a communications company, FFS!).
And don't believe the "as soon as it was brought to our attention" BS either - I told them the line wasn't working a month ago!
Anyway, it's great you've picked the video up - and from some of the responses I've had, it looks like the Reading branch isn't the only one with a number that never gets answered.
Once again, thanks El Reg!
Getting through to Carphone Warehouse
Lardboy has my sympathies. I am a Onetel customer now a Talk Talk / Carphone Warehouse customer. When I moved house they completely messed up moving my phone and it was impossible to get through to anyone who had the remotest idea that they should try to put it right.
So I looked up their website (they're also known as Opal Telecom) and found a) an organisation chart with some useful names and b) various phone numbers for their head office. So I called their credit control number (always a good one to try as most companies are greedy enough to publish it and answer it promptly) and played dumb saying I must have dialled the wrong number, could I speak to Steve Rescoria who was (if I remember correctly) their director of customer service - amazingly I was put straight through (his direct line then, I found out, was 01925 554621) and he got one of his team John Mitchell (01925 554369) to deal with it. After some time a very helpful lady in their "Chairman's Office" (aka an upmarket call centre dealing with difficult punters like me) entered into negotiations and I ended up accepting fifty quid - less than I wanted but I was happy to settle having got them to agree to the principle of compensating me.
So it's worth persevering and being devious. And yes, had they not negotiated it would have been the County Court.