Supposedly free mobile phone calls can cost up to £0.41 per minute – even if free landline calls are included in your tariff
0800 numbers are “non-geographic” – ie they are not numbers connected to a particular location (such as 020 7xxx xxx for inner London, and 020 8xxx xxxx for outer London). The mobile phone companies exclude non-geographic numbers from the free allowance and go even further by penalising such calls to the tune of up to £0.41 per minute for calling them.
Many is the time that I have called an 0800 number looking for support relating to the client I am with, and I usually use my mobile phone (as I think it is more professional to use my own phone than to ask the client if I may use theirs). This is crazy, really, as the “per minute” cost to me of making the call is a sizeable chunk out of the “per minute” rate that I am charging my client.
As we all know, calls like this can easily take an hour if they involve automated switchboards, queueing systems, conversations with foreign call centres and “elevation to the next level” (ie “I’m out of my depth and will have to ask someone with some knowledge to take over”).
The stress of this kind of situation isn’t helped at all by thinking of the meter clocking up anything up to £24 per hour while all this is going on. And I always think it adds insult to injury to consider that this charge is only for the connection: there’s no other “service” included (such as actual help). It’s not even as if the organisation providing the help is receiving this sum and can use it to offset the cost of providing the help.
Well, I think I’ve found the answer. There seem to be several potential answers, actually. Some involve installing an “app” on your smartphone. This app intercepts your call as you dial any 0800 number and offers to route it via a number that will be treated by your mobile phone company as if it is a standard “geographic landline”. So, assuming you have a tariff that involves free minutes and assuming that you still have some free minutes available then your lengthy call to Delhi to find out why your broadband speed has dropped to something slower than its normal sluggishness will, at least, be a free call even if made from a mobile.
The app that I have found that will do this for you is:
It runs on Android, Windows Mobile, IOS, and Blackberry. Wizard Apps also has other services for other non-geographic numbers (eg 0845).
As an alternative to using an app, the following services work by preceding the number you wish to call with another number. You end up keying in lots of digits, but the resulting call is free, and you could probably speed up the process by storing the initial number that you have to dial in the “contacts” of your mobile phone.
On the subject of broadband speeds, fibre optic broadband finally came to Clapham High Street last month. I am very pleased with the increase in speed from about 7mbit/sec to over 30 mbit/sec and I haven’t lost my internet connection once in the three weeks since it’s been installed (compared with 3 or 4 times per week previously). I’m not so pleased, though, with my internet provider – Zen. I’ve been singing their praises for about five years but over the last year or so it seems as if they have been slipping into the mediocre. I don’t like paying a premium price for a mediocre service and their previous terms of service (one month’s notice) have changed to a 12 month contract for a fibre optic connection. I think that if I were starting afresh now, I’d first have a look at Plusnet as their support is in the UK and their prices are good.