Advantages Easy to search; Saves call charges; Publicises the issue
Disadvantages Initial navigation could be clearer
Some of my favourite websites are those that save me money. SAYNOTO0870.COM is one of these, but is more important than that. It is also a campaign that is beginning to be listened to and should be bookmarked by everyone.The website is a free to use resource for finding alternatives to the expensive telephone numbers that many companies and services try to hold us to ransom with. These are numbers commonly beginning 0870, 0845, 0871 and 0844, also known as ‘Non-Geographics’, that can cost up to 10p per minute. Many companies receive a share of the profits generated by these numbers and this probably explains why we spend so much time in their queuing systems.
Energy suppliers, credit card providers and even many government helplines, all pretend to be doing us a favour by using these numbers, but instead feed on our naivety. 0845 numbers, for example, were once well intended as they used to make a call from Lands End to John O’Groats a local one, something that isn’t necessarily the case any more as most operators no longer charge according to distance.These organisations also turn a convenient blind eye to the fact that many of us now have calling plans, where we pay a fixed amount each month in return for free calls to landlines at certain times of the day. Until recently, calling plans didn’t include these Non-Geographic numbers, although some have now started to cover certain ones.
What some people don’t realise, is that obscured behind a ‘Non-Geographic’, is the standard landline number that will at least get you into the building. Not surprising, as some companies tend to guard this information stubbornly. SAYNOTO0870 hosts a database of these landline numbers, many of them submitted by the general public.The website is a no frills affair that does exactly what it says on the screen. One slight grumble is that there is only a small hyperlink on the home page to navigate to the main function of the site, which doesn’t particularly stand out from the rest of the page’s content. However once you have found ‘Search to find an alternative number’ and clicked it, you are taken to a very easy to use search page.
There are two search boxes, enabling you to either search by the name of the company or the telephone number you want an alternative for. Results are displayed clearly, with columns for ‘01/02/03’ and ‘Freephone’ 0800 numbers. The end column shows ‘Other Information’, such as the department the number relates to. Numbers will be listed either in the ‘Main Database’ if already checked and proven to work, or the ‘Unverified Numbers Database’ if not. Both sections are shown on the same page. Users are encouraged to get in touch via a ‘Contact Us’ option to give this feedback.Another hyperlink on the home page invites users to ‘Click here to add a new alternative number’. This brings up a form so that someone can notify a company and their number if not already held. This may be one, for example, that they have seen on the reverse of a bill or statement intended for customers dialling from abroad.
I can only recall the website failing me on one occasion, when left a voicemail to contact an insurance company. There wasn’t an entry in the database and I found a possible number elsewhere on the internet, only to find that this reached a different company who shared the building who couldn‘t redirect me. SAYNOTO0870 probably knew this and that’s why it wasn’t included!The publicity that SAYNOTO0870 has generated is starting to work. Companies who have had their conscience pricked have started to offer landline alternatives alongside their Non-Geographic number and a few government agencies have switched to 0800 numbers (its a disgrace that the majority still haven't). The regulator OFCOM have also introduced a range of 03 numbers that do cost the same as an 01 or 02 number and is trying to prod organisations onto these. There are still plenty that continue to milk the cash cow though, as OFCOM have so far shied away from withdrawing these numbers altogether.
If like me your telephone company offers calling plans inclusive of landlines but not Non-Geographic numbers, using SAYNOTO0870 will still save you £s.
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