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UK to telecoms consumers: ‘Put Up, Shut Up And Pay’?

Link: | OfcomWatch |: UK to telecoms consumers: ‘Put Up, Shut Up And Pay’?

It’s a particularly troublesome issue for many consumers because they often have no idea when they are calling off-net.

Muchos kudos to Russ ‘quis custodiet ipsos custodes’ Taylor, co-founder of OfComWatch for linking to my recent post about stupidly expensive off-network calls. His point above is very well made.

Isn’t there some sort of regulator ruling somewhere saying that you have to advertise the costs of phone number to people who are intending calling it?

For example, I need to tell you that calling my 0990 80 80 80 premium rate service to speak with Big Brenda is going to cost you £1 a minute, billed in 10 second chunks. Or something like that.

Therefore, how legal is it for mobile operators to be able to absolutely nail me for off network calls at 30 odd pence a minute, when I DON’T know I’m incurring them.

Shouldn’t everyone in the United Kingdom be made to write their operator after their phone number wherever it appears, so that people calling know if they’re going to be hosed for calling it? 😉 A bit unworkable……… but that’s how it used to be. Anyone remember 0958 prefix numbers? That was one2one. You used to be able to identify the network by the prefix… not any more.

I really don’t see how it’s at all valid to tell your customer:

1) We’re going to charge you 10p a minute for calls to other T-Mobile customers.
2) If you call a Vodafone customer, ha ha, you’ll be bent over for a good 30p a minute on this price plan.

… and NOT specifically identify how much you’re going to be charged to place the call.

Do I have a legal case to go to T-Mobile and claim reimbursement of my 27 minute call (7 quid’s worth) that I made last night — on the basis that I clearly did not know the recipient was not a T-Mobile customer and HAD T-Mobile informed me, I would not have made the call? I’d have sent a text and saved myself £6.90. I think there’s a legal position there.

There is absolutely no way I can establish how much the telephone call was going to cost prior to making it then looking at my bill.

Surely this is actionable, irrespective of the general terms and conditions of sale?

Ok so I just got off the instant messenger with the SMS Text News official hot shot barrister who, within seconds, can neuter even the biggest ego. Her perspecitve is that the onus or burden is upon me, the user, to establish the call cost prior to initiating it.

I get that.

I followed up by asking, ‘Isn’t that an unreasonable burden?’

She agreed that this is a potentially valid perspective.

‘Have you written them a letter?’ she asked.

‘Er, no. They don’t even do blogs these people, let alone respond reasonably to letters,’ I told her – perhaps slightly unfairly 😉

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

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