Phone Numbers In Depth » Unexected charges for calling 118820
Unexpected charges for 118820
Some people have reported receiving unexpectedly high phone bills after calling numbers like 118820 and 118472.
What is 118820 used for?
Phone numbers starting with 118 are reserved for directory enquiries services. Dozens of different companies run a range of competing 118 directory enquiry services intended to help you find phone numbers and businesses.
118820 and 118472 are for the directory enquiries services run by Numbergroup Network.
What are the charges for 118820 and 118472?
Most directory enquiries services are quite expensive and it's a bad idea to call any 118 number without being sure that you're happy with the charges first.
Charges for such numbers can vary over time, but in January 2016 regulator PhonepayPlus listed the following:
- 118820 – £6.98 per call plus a £3.49 per minute charge
- 118472 – £4.00 per call plus a £3.00 per minute charge
In both cases, your own phone company will also charge an 'access charge' – this typically ranges from 10p to 45p per minute.
Why have I been told to ring 118820 or 118472?
Some people have reported trying to dial a business or personal phone number and hearing a message telling them to redial 118820 or 118472.
The company that operates these 118 numbers also owns several batches of normal phone numbers which it sells to business users. These numbers range from standard landline numbers to blocks of 0800, 0845 and 0870 numbers.
It appears that the company advertises its 118 services in a recorded message played to anybody who calls one of the other numbers but cannot be connected to their intended destination. You may have heard the message because you misdialled and accidentally called a number the company owns but isn't yet in use by a customer, or you may have dialled the correct number but been played the message because a temporary fault means your call cannot be connected.
It's important to realise this is just an advert for a chargeable directory enquiries service – it isn't a message from the company you are trying to contact or an operator helpline.
Is 118820 a scam?
The operators of 118820 would claim that theirs is a legitimate service – it may be able to help you find a number for who you're trying to call but, like the other directory enquiries companies, charges a fee for doing so.
Some people have claimed that they were misled into dialling this number, that they were not warned of the charges before they called, or that they were kept on the phone for an extended period of time to increase the total charge. This has led to various accusations that the company is purposely running a 'scam' or is opportunistically profiting from people's confusion:
- TalkTalk Community - discussion by the company's customers
- MoneySavingExpert Forum - members discuss the 118820 service
- PhonepayPlus adjudication (1) - investigation and sanctions in 2014
- PhonepayPlus adjudication (2) - investigation and sanctions in 2015
All companies operating 118 directory enquiries must make call charges clear in advance. If anybody feels they have been misled, they should raise a complaint with either of the following:
- Numbergroup Network
The operator of the 118820 and 118472 services should be able to deal with any complaints from users of its services.
The regulator of premium rate and directory enquiries services will investigate alleged misconduct and misleading practices.