Tag Archives | Eircom

11850 moving Irish jobs to the Philippines – boycott anyone?

Twitter was abuzz last week of news that the company behind the 11850 directory enquiries service 11850 was closing down its Irish base with the loss of 78 jobs and moving them to the Philippines.

The story was covered last Thursday in the Irish Independent – Directory firm 11850 outsources 78 jobs to Asia. According to Twitter sources, the company behind 11850 is actually American, and it seems they’re turning to their global network for cheaper resources:

“Inevitably, the economic downturn has taken its toll on consumer and business spending, resulting in a decline in call volumes as a whole to all the 118 services.

“As a result, action is required to ensure the future delivery of services, and 11850 is fortunate to be able to draw on its global resources to meet that important objective and licence commitment.

The move to the Philippines did prompt some questioning as to how the new 11850 operators might be able to handle uniquely Irish names and place names. I wonder will they do as some British companies did when outsourcing jobs to India and bring the employees to the UK for some “immersion” training, and then make them watch Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Eastenders when they went back home.

Some people on Twitter also suggested that they would begin boycotting the 11850 service because of this move costing Irish jobs.

Boycotting is good! To be honest, we’re not good in Ireland at boycotting those companies that screw consumer around – how many people are still customers of the big banks despite everything they’ve done.

But would you be out of pocket if you stopped using 11850 and used another of the 118* services?

Back in 2008 I did some research (available here – Directory Enquiries Options and Costs) on the cost of calling directory enquiry services. At that time, the 11888 option was the cheapest, while the 11890 service was the fastest and best value for money option.

The SaveAFewBob.ie crew have recently provided an updated analysis on the costs of calling directory enquiries here – Directory Enquiries – Are you paying too much?. It seems that things haven’t change much in two years with this recent research also finding that 11888 was the cheapest option.

The sting in the tail though, is that 11888 is operated by the same people who run the 11850 number. So, if you’re boycotting 11850, you should also boycott 11888.

But then using the 11890 or Eircom 11811 alternatives is going to cost you more money.

The perennial dilemma for Irish consumers – pay dearly for your principles, or sell out for the cheaper cost!

Then again, you really shouldn’t be using directory enquiries services at all these days. Have internet on your phone? Is it free? A Google search for most businesses these days provides the contact numbers in the search results before you even have to click into the website.

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The danger of some consumer websites – watch out

I mentioned last week that I would be reviewing the many new Irish focused consumer websites that have popped up in the last 6-9 months.

In even my initial review of a couple of sites, one particularly worrying aspect of some of these sites has revealed itself.

This is the problem associated with “affiliate advertising”.

Affiliate marketing is an Internet-based marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s marketing efforts.

In my opinion, the main danger of a number of the websites that I’ve looked at is that because of this type of money making model, you’re really only getting half the story when it comes to recommendations or tips on where to shop or where offers are available.

This is because you’ll only be given links to companies where the website you’re reading will make money if you click on the link, rather than all the possible companies that should be discussed.

What’s the problem?

So, for example, if you’re reading an article about the different spread betting providers that you could use if you’re based in Ireland, you would expect to see reviews of the following companies:

  • World Spreads
  • Delta Index
  • Paddy Power
  • CMC Markets Ireland
  • Betfair Tradefair
  • TD Waterhouse

Also potentially to be included in this listing would be the normal Irish stock brokers such as Davy, Goodbody, Dolmen and so on who may offer spread betting/trading facilities to their clients also.

If however, you’re reading a review of financial spread betting providers on a website that starts off it’s review saying “Where can you do online Spread Betting in Ireland?”, but you’re only provided two alternatives, then you should be wary and suspicious.

If the website was truly aiming to provide you with the best possible information, then you’d expect to see all the companies above mentioned.

On the otherhand, if the website concerned was only really, deep down, interested in making money, then you’ll only see a review of the two companies that advertise through affiliate networks.

So, ask yourself, why do you only ever see special offers advertised by many website for Dell Computers and no other computer seller or manufacturer? Or why is it that coupons and offers from Tesco are normally the only grocery offers presented on a number of websites? Or why is it that Eircom is normally (until recently anyway) the only company promoted when it comes to line rental?

It’s because these companies pay money for clicks through affiliate networks – not because they’re the best value, or the best companies in their market segment.

How can you tell?

So how can you tell if a link on a site is going to earn money for the website owner, or if it’s a genuine link purely in the interests of the consumer?

If I were to provide a link here on ValueIreland.com for example, it would look something like this:

  • http://www.paddypower.com

Whereas if someone was linking to another website in order to make money from an affiliate association, the link would contain loads of more extra text – the information needed in order to track payments and work out who’s to get paid what by the company doing the advertising. So, the link would look something like this:

  • http://www.paddypower.com/bet?action=cmp&cid=42&AFF_ID=79933&CRTID=SB5&GID=SB

Another giveaway is the inclusion of affiliate network company names (the intermediary between the advertiser and the website owner) in the link – such as TradeDoubler.

Watch out

So, remember, if you’re reading reviews and checking out special offers on websites, try to check to see if you’re getting all the information, or if you’re only getting the information that suits the website owner because they’re looking to make money from you rather than give you the full story.

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Broadband Penetration – what do the published numbers really mean?

There’s lots of comment and reportage around recently about broadband penetration within Ireland, and how poor we might be compared to the rest of Europe.

I wonder how would I be counted in any of these numbers when it comes to broadband subscriptions. Take my fiancee and myself as an example. Between us, we have the following:

  1. An NTL broadband subscription
  2. A home Eircom broadband subscription
  3. An O2 mobile business broadband subscription
  4. An O2 mobile personal broadband subscription
  5. A Vodafone 3G pay as you go mobile

Technically, from what I understand, that’s 5 broadband subscriptions. But we’re only 2 people. I wonder are we counted as 5 people with broadband subscriptions, rather than 2?

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Online Survey – the best Irish sites to use, and the worst

One of my Google Alerts on the National Consumer Agency today brought me an article from Saturdays Irish Examiner regarding a survey carried out by AMAS Consulting about popular internet shopping sites.

The full survey can be accessed here. The survey is aimed at finding Ireland leading eCommerce sites.

AMAS find that Meteor have the best site, giving it 10 out of 10. They find Ryanair bottom of the heap, only just above Peats, both of which scored only 5 out of 10.

I’m familiar with the Ryanair site, and mostly find it okay to use, but it is obvious that the less observant user will get caught out by the requirement to opt out of some charges – a point highlighted by the survey. I’m not familiar with the Meteor site, but I dare anyone try to find in less than 30 seconds a simple and clear comparison between their various different call costs on different price plans – something I think is missing, or very well hidden, on all 4 mobile service provider websites.

The research is also referenced here in Fridays Irish Times (sub necessary). Interestingly, the Aer Lingus site scores pretty highly (8 out of 10) despite implementing the same functionality which the Ryanair site provides but which causes it to be marked down.

I also found it very interesting to see the companies that AMAS consulting company work for. According to that link, they work for Eircom, the owner of the company with the best website Meteor, as well as working for for the primary competitor of Ryanair, Aer Lingus.

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LoCall numbers could cost you extra

A good article here in the Irish Examiner by Paul Kelly about how consumers can end up spending more money when making calls to 1890 LoCall rather than less. Other numbers included in this analysis are Callsave 1850 and national 0818 calls.

The main reason that consumers end up paying more rather than less when making calls to such 1890/1850/0818 numbers from mobile phones and from landline providers like Eircom is because these calls are specifically excluded from minute bundles.

The journalist does show that there can sometimes be alternative numbers (local or national numbers) that consumers can call which would actually be part of their minute bundles and then wouldn’t incur extra costs.

Which is exactly what this site in the UK does – SayNoTo0870, where O870 is the UK equivalent of 1890. On this site, users provide alternative numbers to the 0870 number for users to call, and not incur excessive charges. There are different rules and issues in the UK, but the idea is pretty good.

So we in Value Ireland are going to do something similar. We’re going to publish as many local numbers for the popular companies which Irish consumers must call on a regular basis.

To kick things off, we’ll quote the suggestions provided in the article linked above:

AIB Phone Banking – 1890 242424 – use 01 6670024 instead
Ticketmaster Ireland – 0818 719300 – use 01 4569569 instead

A trick to finding these alternative numbers is to check a companies “Contact Us” page, and to look for a “From Abroad” number which is normally a local or national number rather than the 1890/1850/0818 numbers.

Do you have other alternative numbers that would work instead of these 1890/1850/0818 numbers? Post them here and we’ll keep track of them, or e-mail us.

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Eircom admit overcharging, again!!!

Today, Eircom have confirmed that 0.5m calls to free phone numbers and competition lines from land lines were incorrectly charged on the bills over over 100,000 customers between April 24th to May 17th this year. Calls were charged to customers even though no connection made. Apparently, it was a computer error that caused this problem. Eircom say that they’ll be refunding customer immediately.

Click here to read the ongoing tally of Irish companies who’ve been caught, and have admitted, overcharging their customers.

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What is “free self-installation”?

I was listening to Newstalk radio this morning on the way to work and I heard an advert from Eircom advertising some new broadband offer.

The interesting thing was their announcement as part of the deal that they were offering “free self-installation”.

Does that mean they won’t charge me for taking their equipment from them, and setting it up myself in my own house, without their assistance? How very generous of them!!!

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