You are here: Home - Household Bills - News -

Ofcom to cap directory enquiry costs

0
Written by:
28/11/2018
Ofcom has announced that it will cap the price of directory enquiry calls. An enquiry in June found that some groups were charging up to £20 for a 90-second call.

The elderly, who make far greater use of directory enquiry services, were disproportionately affected. Overall 2% of adults (equivalent to one million people) use a 118 service, but this rises to 4% of those aged over 65.

Ofcom is to cap the maximum amount a 118 service can charge at £3.65 per 90 seconds.

The group found that competition wasn’t working effectively: while there were cheap directory enquiry services available, people tended to call the number they remember most easily.

Ofcom said consumers don’t know how much calls cost and say they have no alternative. It found that 65% of users said they did not know the cost of calling a directory enquiries service when they last called and 40% of users said they had no alternative options to using these services at the time of making the call.

It added: “The most well-known DQ service is 118 118 and its prices have risen four-fold for a one-minute call since Q4 2012. It now costs £8.98 for any call up to one minute in length, and £13.47 for a two-minute call.”

The number of calls being made to 118 services has been falling by around 40% every year. The new price cap of £3.65 per 90 seconds will come into force on 1 April, 2019.

Richard Neudegg, head of regulation at uSwitch.com, said: “The fact that these numbers are mostly used by the elderly and more vulnerable consumers who might not readily have access to the internet means it’s right the regulator steps in.

“118 operators have been losing customers since their heyday as use of the internet for everyday enquiries has become the norm, and the reaction of some 118 services has been to increase charges for their limited customerbase.

“By capping these calls at £3.65 per 90 seconds from next April, Ofcom has put a restriction on excesses. This is a clear signal that there is a limit on how much providers can recoup operating fees by hiking costs to a dwindling number of users, who often are unaware of the charges.”

There are 0 Comment(s)

If you wish to comment without signing in, click your cursor in the top box and tick the 'Sign in as a guest' box at the bottom.

The savings accounts paying the most interest

If one of your jobs this month is to get your finances in order, moving your savings to a higher paying deal i...

Coronavirus and your finances: what help can you get?

News and updates on everything to do with coronavirus and your personal finances.

Everything you need to know about being furloughed

If you’ve been ‘furloughed’ by your company, here’s what it means…

What will happen if rates change

How your finances will be impacted by a rise in interest rates.

Regular Savings Calculator

Small regular contributions can build up nicely over time.

Online Savings Calculator

Work out how your online savings can build over time.

Having a baby and your finances: seven top tips

We’re guessing the Duchess of Cambridge won’t be fretting about maternity pay or whether she’ll still be...

Protecting family wealth: 10 tips for cutting inheritance tax

Inheritance tax - sometimes known as 'death tax' - can cause even more heartache for bereaved families. But th...

Travel insurance: Five tips to ensure a successful claim

Ahead of your summer holiday, it’s important to make sure you have the right level of travel cover or you co...

Money Tips of the Week

Read previous post:
Ovo to take on Spark Energy’s customers: what next?

Ofgem has appointed Ovo Energy to take on Spark Energy’s 290,000 domestic customers after the supplier ceased trading last week.

Close