This article from Mondays Pricewatch column in the Irish Times from Conor Pope highlights a reader, Mannix, who takes issue with the fact that many government departments provide 1890 contact numbers. While these numbers appear to be cheaper, given their LOCALL and CALLSAVE descriptions, for the reader who uses an O2 mobile, it actually costs significantly more.
This is an issue that I’m constantly highlighting on the SayNoTo1890.com website. In fact, a very committed reader has been chasing many of the regulatory organisations within the country to see if anything can be done about this issue, but without any success. ComReg, the National Consumer Agency, the Competition Authority, and the Minister at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamonn Ryan, all say its not their problem. And obviously, the mobile companies who make a huge profit from these calls don’t want to know either.
The research, referred to in Conors article, carried out by Leo Varadkar and Fine Gael is available on their RipOff.ie website here.
The SayNoTo1890.com A-Z geographical alternative telephone number page on the site provides landline numbers for many government departments, including all but 2 of the 21 departments referenced on the Fine Gael website. Calling these numbers instead of the 1890 numbers means that people can call from their mobile without incurring the higher costs.
I’m constantly on the look out for more of these geographical alternative numbers, so if you know of any others, please let me know and I’ll add them to the list. The two from the Fine Gael listing that I don’t have are the National Treatment Purchase Fund and bizarrely given that it’s most likely to be called from a mobile, the Garda Traffic Watch hotline.