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Say No To 1890, 1850 and 0818 Call Costs

Irish News of the World

Sunday March 29th, 2009

Diarmuid MacShane

Say No To 1890, 1850 and 0818 Call Costs

If you find yourself dialling an 1890 or 1850 number for a company, then you’re the one who should really be getting the wake up call.

Despite being called Lo-Call or Call Save numbers, you could find yourself paying up to 49c per minute to make a call that’s normally advertised as 5c per minute.

And worse, if you’re calling an 0818 number, then the company on the other end of the line are actually making money from your call. So, for these companies, it’s financially worth their while to keep you on the phone as long as possible, even if you’re making a complaint.

Lo Call and Call Save numbers were originally set up before mobiles came along to give consumers a number that would cost the same to call no matter where they were in the country compared to the location of the company.

But with the advent of mobile phones, and inclusive minute bundles on both landlines and mobile packages, they’re really just an excuse for the telecoms companies to print money.

This is done by excluding calls made to these numbers from your inclusive minute bundles you have with your phone contract – you basically pay extra from these calls no matter how many “free” minutes you get every month. And if you’re calling from a mobile phone, your Lo Call or Call Save number will cost you up to 9 times more than from a land line.

With the massive growth in the use of mobile phones in Ireland since these numbers were originally set up, less and less of us are making any calls from landlines. So more and more of us are getting stung by these ridiculous call charges, greatly adding to the mobile phone company profits.

It’s a poor show for many Irish companies and the customer service they provide when many don’t seem to realise the cost to their customers by only providing 1890 or 1850 contact numbers. And obviously, for companies providing 0818 numbers, they’re consciously trying to make an extra buck when you call them – taking a cut of the outrageous costs charged by the mobile companies.

And what’s worse, even though this country is riddled with regulators and government and so-called independent watchdogs, no one wants to know about this blatant rip off.

In the past, I’ve made complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland, but they don’t want to know. They tell me to speak to ComReg who say it’s nothing to do with them. The National Consumer Agency say it’s nothing to do with them and pawn you off on the Competition Authority or the Consumers Association of Ireland. They merely published a letter in their magazine, while the Competition people said that there’s nothing for them to investigate.

Fine Gael have recently highlight the issue with these Lo Call and Call Save numbers – and in particular, highlighting the fact that many Government departments only providing these contact numbers.

So what can you do?

SayNoTo1890.com is a website set up to provide you with the “geographical alternative” numbers for many of these 1890, 1850 and 0818 telephone numbers.

A geographical alternative number is an 01, or 021 or 091 number that you can call instead of the Lo Call or Call Save numbers, but still get through to the company.

By calling these numbers, you’ll either save money by having the minutes used on the call taken from your minutes bundle on your phone contract, or at least you’ll only end up paying the 5-6c per minute rather than 35-49c.

Most of Irelands biggest companies are included in the website with geographical alternative numbers provided – including most of the banks, mobile phone and energy companies.

How can you help?

If you know of a geographic alternative phone number to any 1890, 1850 or 0818 numbers, then visit SayNoTo1890.com and share it with everyone else.

Even better, if you work for a company that only provides one of these numbers but you know an alternative, contact me at the website and I’ll share the number with everyone while maintaining your privacy.

Given that some surveys of the worst offenders when it comes to companies keeping people hanging on show that you could be on hold for anything from 10 minutes to an hour, you could be saving yourself a small fortune on your phone costs – especially since we should really be paying those high costs at all.


Click here for the SayNoTo1890.com Website.
Click here for the SayNoTo1890.com Website.

8 comments On Say No To 1890, 1850 and 0818 Call Costs

  • Sometimes these companies give another number if you are calling from abroad.

    Call that number you always get through.

  • “the company on the other end of the line are actually making money from your call” – Companies who don’t feel the need to subsidise their customers calls use a universal number (0818) -The customer is charged the cost of a national call–If volumes are large enough the Service provider i.e. the telco may give a rebate to the company- This can be about 1 cent a minute or about 60cent per hour- hard to see how they are making a profit here! -your article is sensational and misleading for the ordinary consumer-
    You are only increasing tension between the customer and the poor guy on the other end trying to do his job, so as you can look like the peoples champion that you claim to be.
    As for saynoto11890.com- I see you are selling some adsense along the way- few quid on the back of peoples fustration- nice. Real leader of the gang..

  • @TopToys – You’re right. One of the reasons I go into this issue was because of difficulties calling these 1890 and 1850 numbers from Skype. Hopefully our listing of numbers will help Skype users (and other such service users).

    @P – Thanks for your comments, I think. Very nice and brave of you to comment so strongly, yet anonymously.

    Thank you, though, in your comment for confirming the fact that companies using 0818 numbers can make money off the back of their customers calling in. You refer to making a profit – I didn’t. I only referred to 0818 numbers as being a revenue stream.

    If, as you say, businesses don’t want to subsidise their customers phone calls by providing 1890 or 1850 numbers, why do they not provide simple geographic numbers (such as 01, 021 or 091 etc) rather than these 0818 number?

    Because they don’t provide such geographic numbers, it’s my opinion that business providing 0818 numbers are doing so with the specific intention of making money off the back of these calls – you can call it sensationalist if you like, but there you go – it’s my opinion.

    Otherwise, why would companies be so protective of their geographical alternatives – resisting any attempt by their own customers to get these numbers in order to be able to call them at a cheaper rate? To me, this shows a complete lack of regard for their customers.

    All that said, contrary to your comment, there is nothing in this article that is misleading. I’m open to any other specific issues being highlighted – e-mail me here any time with the actual statement that is incorrect.

    And while we’re at “misleading statements”, I don’t claim, and never have claimed, to be a “peoples champion” as you state. This website, and my newspaper articles, are my personal views and opinions surrounding consumer affairs issues in Ireland at the moment and much of the bullshit that consumers have to put up with. It is my hope that readers here read items that you don’t see anywhere – showing an angle to what’s going on that others either don’t see, don’t want to see, or don’t want to talk about for fear of upsetting the famous “powers that be”.

    I don’t speak for anyone. I don’t claim to speak for anyone – I speak for myself.

    I encourage and welcome feedback from the readers here – it broadens the discussion and highlights a wider range of issues for those who are kind enough to visit.

    As for Adsense, I run this website for around €100 per year – covering the cost of website names and hosting. The addition of Google advertising in the last 6 months was an attempt to recoup some of the cost of keeping the site going.

    Maybe you should redirect your ire to the consumer organisations who actually do claim to represent consumers who spend anything from €750,000 to €10m per year and don’t even match (in my humble opinion) the quality of the content that is found here on ValueIreland.com.

  • I love the way P can’t even get the website name right when he’s slagging it off.

    Down with directory enquiries numbers!!!!

  • P your talking out of your A. I just contacted BT and they have confirmed that the owner of an 0818 number can charge whatever they want. A specific number which shall remain nameless (Sky customer service)…oops! can potentially charge up to €0.86 per min – the right so and so’s

  • I just got off phone to airlingus lost baggage 0818 no. Was hanging on 30 minutes and gave up . to call from overseas it still gave the o818 no preceded by 00353. I could have called for free if I had national number as I have free calls with my landline. I began to feel I would never get to talk to an agent as they could give a time frame as some companies do ie you are third, twenty third in the que. Obviously they delay as long as poss to get money. Criminal behaviour for a company to engage in. Highway robbery. Must check if a line for making a booking is 0818 ….

  • I agree , it’s a disgrace an another example of ‘rip off Ireland’ It cost me €6.55 recently to call Sky TV. Also Bank go Ireland 0818 cost me . Aviva health insurances calls cost me €17 in premium call rates agree a change in my health policy. My mobile company Meteor bill contract is supposed to give me unlimited calls in Ireland. They are also complicit in this recent ‘scam’
    I suggest we organise a campaign to lobby all local council & EU candidate politicians for the upcoming elections in June to highlight another national disgrace. Keep up the good work.

  • Customer Service number at Bank of Ireland is of little or no use on 23/05/2017 and 24/05/2017 I spent over 90 minutes waiting for a customer service person to answer the telephone. The number dialled was 00353-56-7757747. Constant messages about Supervalu promotion and we value your custom. I eventually re dialled number in relation to my credit card statement. Pressed option 3 (Compromised credit card ) call answered within 15 seconds. Kindly I was put through to customer service person who dealt with my issue. Both of the people spoken too were exceptionally helpful. He will bring issue to attention of bank.

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