back to article O2 starts charging for calls to non-places

Last week O2 sent notifications to its subscribers informing them that calls to 0845, 0870 and 0800 (non-geographic) numbers would no longer be included in bundled minutes. The company has now admitted that this change to its billing is significant and therefore enables customers to get out of their existing contracts. O2 was …

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Rip off

I suggest everyone cancels their contract as matter of principle. Its a huge rip off charging a premium for these numbers which are often the only ones easily obtainable for many companies, and the calls on which you are likely to be kept on hold for the longest.

Let O2 beg you to remain with them, and don't accept until they've offered a substantially lower tariff, a new phone, and no excessive contract lock in.

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Or not?

o2 Customer service droid told me that they are looking at maybe changing this as so many people are canceling their contracts (myself included)

I got a free PS3 with my last contract and im 4 months into my 18 month contract. Plus the 0845 will now cost 20p a min (how is that local rate?)

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Don't ye just love...

... charging for "freephone" calls. It's pure daft!

Advertising Standards Authority or Ofcom, anyone?

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Anonymous Coward

Charges for 0800 calls?

I have to say I've never understood why mobile phone companies charge for 0800 (and 0808) calls. These are supposed to be free to the caller, with the cost paid by whoever owns or leases them. What is the justification for charging for them?

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Anonymous Coward

Scandalous !

I did not know I would be charged until my first bill. Since then, I have looked on company web sites and changed the numbers in my mobile to the "calling from abroad" alternatives.

Only National Rail Enquiries checks to see if the call is actually from abroad, when they detect that it is not, you get a message to call the 0845 number and the call terminates.

Everyone else is fine but there is an important issue here, the 0845 and similar schemes generate significant revenue (hence O2's recent move), they are not simply there for the consumer's benefit. As a result, I they should be regarded as "premium rate" numbers and suitably regulated.

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Rip-Off

My T-Mobile contract charges extra for 0845 / 0800 etc numbers.

Does it actually cost the operator more to connect to these numbers? I don't think so. In which case, it's indefensible and I wonder why OFCOM (or whoever it is these days) hasn't addressed the situation.

It's particularly annoying because it turns out many of the calls I make are to these numbers (banks, businesses, etc etc). Many businesses don't even publish 'normal' phone numbers any more (and can't supply you with one if you ask) which would allow by-passing of this rip-off.

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Charges for 0800 calls

The jucstifaction for this in the early days was that although the called party pays, they effectively only pay for the cost of a landline call not a mobile call.

In the days when all mobile calls were charged for it was JUST possible to accept this arguement. E.g if (say) Vodafone connected a call to a BT landline they only got the equivalent of a landline call rate for the call from the called party (bia the BT interconnect agreement), not their full mobile rate (which was of course MUCH higher and is now.... well only much higher:-)). But given that today calls to geographic numbers are often bundled in with call packages there is no real justification as calls to an 0800 number cost no more to terminate (or in fact might less) than an 01 or 02 number. The only justifcation now is: "because we can".

I've long felt "free" numbers being universally free is an area the regulator should have looked at years ago.

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Do you get ot keep the phone?

If i cancle my contract do I get to keep my phone!??

This sounds like too good a deal to miss.

Anyone who has done it have any more info.

Chris

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They charge for 0800..

so that they get money even if you're dialling a calling card service.

(But charging more than a local call for dialling 0845, and removing it from bundled minute allowances, is simply a rip-off. Vodafone pitched it as "now you have more minutes for your other calls." Ha, ha.)

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Just don't use 0870

use www.saynoto0870.com to look up the geographic number

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Say no

I while ago I discovered a handy dandy website:

http://www.saynoto0870.com

You can search by company or number to find geographical numbers for non-geographics.

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I already overpay

I'm on O2 with 200 free minutes and 100 free texts and I know I probably overpay because I don't use much more than 1/2 my allowance, but I always know what I'm paying each month since I don't go over it. I don't think I've been charged for a single phone call or text since I got my contract over two years ago.

Plus, companies like Tesco now have all their numbers as 0845 whether its your local store or not. But seriously, what's the difference between a geographic number and a non-geographic number for a cellular service operator?

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In the wake of the reduction in european call charges

..this seems an obvious step for them to take. They warned the MEP's who got so angry over their roaming charges that they would have to make up the lost revenue.

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02 cancellation

Seems they have been worn down - asked to cancel my contract, no attempt to keep me (usually they try for a good 5 minutes) just handed over the address to send my termination notice to.

Which is

02 Disconnections

POBOX 242

Houghton-Regis

LU5 5WA

Include Name, mobile number and your signature

Oh, they said that i had to give 30 days notice, but i think as they have broken the contract already, so thats null and void (but that is only my opinion )

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Bronze badge

Why 0800 isn't free... according to the networks...

The argument from the mobile networks is that if they offered 0800 as truely free people would use 0800 calling cards, then the networks would have everyone on the lowest tariffs and they'd lose huge amounts of revenue (which they'll tell you is bad because it means they couldn't possibly invest anymore).

Uh huh....

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pac codes on their way

...for two contracts. One of which upgraded in April and the other early August. On the latter there was 17 months left on it! The Blackberry will be kept.

I told them:

That bundled minutes for 08xx numbers was given to me as an adavantage of staying with O2 by the retention department at CPW when I rang to cancel earlier in the year.

I intended to use 08xx to call international service providers to get cheaper rates - brother just moved abroad.

However, they wouldn't cancel unless they found use of these numbers in the last few months, which we had.

-Dan

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Anonymous Coward

o2 dropped off

Thanks for the heads up.

Got an extra 100 minutes per month for £5 less.

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Remember good old one-2-one

Ah, who remembers the good old days of one-2-one before they became T-mobile?

Ok, granted that they had a huge lack of transmitters, so you usually had to stand outside to make/receive a call, but their pricing was fair!

0800 numbers were FREE (and I used to use one of those calling card services to make calls to the USA for 3p per minute on my mobile back then.

Weekend calls were FREE

and I think my contract price was something like £12.50 per month

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Yet Another RIP OFF

The UK Mobile telcos have always been a rip off

Calls to/from mobiles should be Same Price or Cheaper than Landline calls

and premium rate calls illegal

We are still paying for greedy governments auctions of 3G licences

But then there was once a time calls to 0800 numbers would not even connect !!

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It isn't only the mobile operators that make money from 0870/0845

If you ring an 0845/0870 number, you are effecctively paying whoever you are calling.

0845 and 0870 numbers mean revenue actually ends up in Tesco/Whoever's pockets. If the calls were included in the bundled allowances, the Operator would be paying a portion of their guaranteed revenues (£30 per month for example) to a third party, effectively losing money due to the higher interconnect costs of these services.

It does make sense why they are doing this, but it also means I am cancelling my contracts immediately, because I can!!!!

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Ali

Just tried this...

I've been put onto SIM-only contract with 200 minutes and 400 texts for £15 a month with the option to cancel with 30-days notice at any time. I'll see how it goes and if my calls creep up then I'll cancel and move.

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Anonymous Coward

Compromise

OK, so don't charge EXTRA for 0845 and 0870, just charge them as if they were a normal landline number and the calls come off your usual minute allowance.

That way 0800 calling cards wouldn't be so economical...

It's like charging EXTRA for VOIP and IM traffic on mobile Internet !

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Silver badge

A solution

Join Draytel (or similar). They provide VOIP calls, but also alow you to use it as a "calling card". You can then call a geographic number, punch your pin in, dial the 0800 number, and it's included in your minutes. 0870 is the most expensive 08 number to call, and that's 7.9p/min on peak, which is still loads cheaper than the mobile networks are charging.

I'm sure there are other similar ones out there, but I use Draytel for VoIP, so I also use them to stop the mobile networks ripping me off.

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Anonymous Coward

ah well

all the other networks do it....so its just become the norm.

Most people will cancel their contract, get another new phone, flog it on ebay and sign up again on the same contract as theres no point going to another operator solely because they charge for 0800 numbers....because they do as well!!

O2 were losing out on a lot revenue that the other networks were making on charging for it, so as a business what would you do? Make a few extra million or continue to not charge for it, I know what I'd do!!

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Anonymous Coward

Compromise

OK, so don't charge EXTRA for 0845 and 0870, just charge them as if they were a normal landline number and the calls come off your usual minute allowance.

That way 0800 calling cards wouldn't be so economical...

It's like charging EXTRA for VOIP and IM traffic on mobile Internet !

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Carphone Warehouse

I purchased my phone (on o2) through the carphone warehouse, you still think I can cancel my contract early? And keep the phone?

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Anonymous Coward

Only if more than 10% of your calls are to those numbers

I just called O2 and they tell me they are only allowing customers who make more than 10% of their calls to the affected numbers

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Keep the phone

Yes, you get to keep the phone (and in my case the PS3) and dont pay any outstanding months on the contract. Lets all give o2 what they deserve a BIG headache and less full pockets.

You can also just email instead of posting you need to include your mobile number and a scan of your signature. Email address is: disconnections242@o2.co.uk

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Anonymous Coward

regulators

re "I wonder why OFCOM (or whoever it is these days) hasn't addressed the situation" above

Because the idle gits are based in London doing lunch with the poachers, who have effing great expense accounts. If the gamekeepers were based in Skelmersdale, we might see a bit more work being done.

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Anonymous Coward

iWant iPhone iDontWantO2

O2 looks like a bunch of thieves; from what I see, their package is a complete rip off with all tariffs costing 20p/min when out of bundle. That is *4* times my current contract cost which is 5p/min. OK, I get fewer bundled minutes but when I do go over I can choose.

O2 really is the worst choice for Apple.

I just wonder if Apple will be signing a short contract with O2 as I really can't imagine that many people *wanting* to switch to O2.

Mind you, I do suppose all the phone companies are the same.

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Anonymous Coward

Text

Funny I've been with O2 for over 3 years I changed my call plan in May to increase minutes .

I had never recieved the said text till Monday of this week ...hmm wonder if I can wiggle out of the contract ;)

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0845 numbers

0845 numbers do not generate companies money as far as I am aware. I have one for my company it cost me £30 and I don’t make a penny out of it and wasn’t aware of anyone offering 0845's as a form of revenue stream.

We purchased it simply because it was guaranteed low cost call for anyone in the UK to call us (we have customers all over the UK).

Okay I guess if I’m honest we thought it would help the company look a bit bigger that we really are & when we move to bigger offices next year we can simply alter the location our 0845 redirects to without having to run the gamble on BT actually porting the correct number over to the new offices. Will look into seeing what we can blag off O2 to not move though. Changing everyone’s numbers or going through the hassle of porting to a different provider is such a pain in the rear end, I guess that’s what O2 are hoping everyone will think, when we changed from orange to O2 we spent 5 days with calls to our mobiles going into a black hole and that cost us way too much.

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Silver badge

@ross

http://www.saynoto0870.com

I've tried 20 of our 0845's not one was recongnised. An 0800 we have was the wrong number. So I wouldn't rely on that to much. We often change our bearer numbers, so no suprise.

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Anonymous Coward

O2 Are Utter...

... Crap, They used to be so good!

Personally I think rather than moan about these mobile operators charging for 0800 numbers we should all complain to OFCOM, a freephone number is exactly that, FREE. I am sure if BT started charging a premium charge for a 0800 or 0808 number OFCOM would jump on them as much as blink.

OFCOM are as useful as a chocolate fire guard, they always sit on their arses and do sod all and its us customers who end up paying the price...

Petition Any1?

Lets bombard OFCOM with complaints, give them some work to do.

*** OFCOM COMPLAINS ***

Riverside House

2a Southwark Bridge Road

London

SE1 9HA

Tel: 020 7981 3040

Mon - Fri, 09:00 - 17:30

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10% of calls nonsense

They cant only do it for people who make more than 10% of their calls to the numbers as in the contract there is a clause stating that if they charge more for inclusive minutes you can end your contract with no penalty.

So don't take that rubbish look up the contract its clause 8.4 (c)

(c) you are a Consumer Customer and we increase charges for calls, messages or

data that form part of your inclusive allowance or your Line Rental Charges or

change this Agreement to your significant disadvantage in accordance with

paragraph 9.2 of the General Terms, provided you give us a minimum of 30 days’

written notice (and provided you notify us within one month of our telling you

about the changes). This does not apply where the increase or change relates solely

to Additional Services in which case you may cancel, or stop using, that Additional

Service.

http://www.o2.co.uk/assets/O2HybridNav/Static-files/PDFs/newcontract.pdf

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dont trust o2.co.uk email addresses as these are NOT COMPANY ONES!

Do not do as advised below, sending your signatures to a private individual isnt wise (duh!)

Anyone can register for one of those o2 webmail accounts, internal staff and offical email addresses end o2.com.

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Keep the phone

By Jim Cosser

Posted Wednesday 5th September 2007 13:24 GMT

Yes, you get to keep the phone (and in my case the PS3) and dont pay any outstanding months on the contract. Lets all give o2 what they deserve a BIG headache and less full pockets.

You can also just email instead of posting you need to include your mobile number and a scan of your signature. Email address is: disconnections242@o2.co.uk

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Bypassing these numbers...

I've long used saynoto0870 for finding the 'normal' number which these expensive numbers hide behind.

For the annoying companies that check where you are calling from (to force you to redial) like the aforementioned National Rail Enquirires, simply configure your phone to withhold your number.

Job done!

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0870/0845 & charities

Low level charities use these numbers to actually pay for the service it provides. In the case of one charity I am aware of, it pays for the enquiry line to operate without cost (or profit) to the charity itself.

Smaller charities with low income need these numbers to survive.

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Joe

The 10% thing

Jim (above) is right - THEY have broken the contract, WE have done nothing wrong! Therefore it is our legal right to cancel it, surely? This 10% 08xx calls thing is just a ruse to stop people from cancelling!

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Carphone Warehouse

Just been on the phone to Carphone Warehouse in contract cancellations. They are playing hardball. According to Stacey, I cannot cancel my contract as the terms have not been changed to my "significant disadvantage".

The relavent clause reads:

8.5 You may end this agreement at any time by writing to CPW at the above address to give notice if:

....

8.5.3 we increase any of the Charges for the elements of the Service you are using or change this Agreement to your significant disadvantage, provided you give us a minimum of 30 days written notice (and provided you notify us within one month of our telling you about the changes). In this situation clause 8.4 will not apply.

So, according to their own contract, they say I can cancel if charges are increased OR the agreement is changed to my significant disadvantage. Needless to say, this will be going down in writing to CPW.

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I could be wrong, but...

...doesn't Ofcom take complaints from industry only (i.e. no end-customer complaints)? If so, I guess it makes life extremely cushy for them.

Oliver.

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I could be wrong, but...

...doesn't Ofcom take complaints from industry only (i.e. no end-customer complaints)? If so, I guess it makes life extremely cushy for them.

Oliver.

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Couple o'bit's

@ Rip-Off

By Rich

"Does it actually cost the operator more to connect to these numbers? I don't think so."

Generally most modern UK mobile operators pay ‘per hop’ to connect across PSTN. Obviously routing will try and terminate out of the mobile network and onto the PSTN at the closest available switch to the B number. So if a PSTN routed number can only be passed onto the network at x point which result’s in more internal routing, or more hops across the PSTN for the mobile operator than a local number would then perhaps justification is there.

@ I already overpay

By John

"But seriously, what's the difference between a geographic number and a non-geographic number for a cellular service operator?"

Mobile service operators don’t have one big pipe into PSTN network’s and the rest of the telecommunication world, so there is lot’s of differences. Especially if the operator pays ‘per hop’ as some call’s could be passed and established onto a geographic number a lot easier than other say none geographic numbers who’s routing defines they must enter via a specific location which is higher cost link (or more hops across the PSTN). Basically both parties are involved in these interconnectivity solutions and agreements and I’m sure cost and profit are a weighty argument when deciding how to deploy; of course how they then decide to price structure for the call after working minimal cost to themselves is a different matter (ref: Gareth Davies).

@ 0845 numbers

By Kev K

As above the owner of the number can essentially decide how it routes and how it’s charged. It just depends on who ‘hosts’ and how they achieve routing really, as long it complies to Ofcom reg’s businesses are free to choose (correct me if I’m wrong, I’m not 100% on this one.)

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Don't let O2 bamboozle you

They have changed the terms of their contract and must abide by the get out clause 8.4(c) as mentioned above. They cannot make the clause conditional on your usage because that is not in the terms of that clause. It is quite clear, they must accept your cancellation purely and simply because they have made this substantial change.

Write/Email your cancellation - don't bother speaking with their CSRs who are not familiar with contract legalities anyway. They are probably acting on local [misguided] advice of their supervisor/manger. Ignore them, insist on the cancel, don't argue (its pointless) just write in and cancel.

If they write back and refuse - then the courts would sort it out and I'm sure you'll find no end of no-win-no-fee solicitors who'd act on your behalf (costs awarded by the courts so its a win all round, except for O2 <shame!>).

O2 have lost the plot entirely. Apple will probably rue the day they signed up with that network for the iPhone.

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Re: dont trust o2.co.uk email addresses as these are NOT COMPANY ONES!

I believe this is genuine although I suppose it could be spoofed, I received a text from o2 telling me this was an option and an automated reply from o2 customer services afterwards.

But I supposed (snail)mailing is safer.

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HUKD

This is being discussed over here:

http://www.hotukdeals.com/forums/showthread.php?t=92459&page=45

Am not here to advertise HUKD but people affected by this change would benefit a great deal by checking the above website.

Also, the Simplicity deal is potentially a tie-in to the remainder of the contract < I know what am talking about folks. I assumed it was a 30 day contract as well but that does not seem to be the case.

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OpenMoko to the rescue

In a few years when Nokia and friends are competing with OpenMoko based handsets, the phone operators will have to beg us to use their networks instead of free WiFi ones.

The monopoly ends here:

www.openmoko.org

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Orange are putting their charges up...

More importantly to me is that Orange are putting up their minimum PAYG charge by 50% from10p to 15p

Other charges are going up as well

See http://www1.orange.co.uk/termschange/

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Re: nickj

Their not going to do anything until people start complaining to Oftel, how can they act on a complaint if they havn't received one? I got out of my O2 contract years ago, and its all well and good complaining here but it isn't going to change anything until you pick up a pen and a pad and start complaining to the people that count.

If enough people complain they have to act on it!

lunch has nothing to do with it, they will continue to screw people over until people stop complaining to thin air and do something about it.

ntl now know as Virgin media would often gain millions of pounds of free money from its customers by adding an extra £1 on people bills, if you complained to them you'd get the money refunded as its an "admin error" - if you didnt complain they were millions of pounds better off.

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this sucks

Guess I will be moving to orange as soon as I cancel my 02 contract!

Found this site which might be useful

http://www.free-international-calls-on-mobiles.com

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