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Review of directory enquiries numbers

07 June 2017

The Panel are pleased to see that Ofcom are launching a Call Cost Review, looking at the cost of calling some telephone services, including directory enquiries numbers (which begin with 118). We have been concerned about this issue since stories emerged in the press about the dramatic increase in calling charges since deregulation. Today there are more than 400 directory enquiry services offering a variety of options and prices, with call costs ranging from 35p per call to £9 and higher.

In the Panel’s opinion, this is an example of an unfair practice within the industry. Our concern also stems from the fact that people who are not regular internet users are more likely to use directory enquiries numbers as they are less able to search online for a number. We are supportive of Ofcom’s review, and specifically we are calling for a cap on charges.

The review will also look at ‘personal’ or ‘follow-me’ numbers, which begin with 070 and allow users to be contacted on any phone at any location. Ofcom will look at whether consumer harm is arising out of deliberate misconduct or market failure, and what action may be required. We expect to publish detailed proposals later this year.

Read more about Ofcom’s review.

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