Burying the cost of dialling 118

4 April 2014, York

The cost of calling directory enquiries is continuing to rise and can now cost more than £3.50 for a one minute call from a landline.

According to research performed by York-based directory services provider Simunix, the amounts charged for a one minute landline call to the two biggest directory services are currently £3.58 for 118 118 and £2.98 for a call to BT’s 118 500. Costs can spiral even more if you ask to be put through to your requested number.

When the directory enquiries market was deregulated in 2003, it was thought that opening the market up to new firms would increase competition, therefore reducing costs to consumers. However, the opposite became true when the cost of calling directory enquiries began to rise and has continued to do so ever since.

But just how transparent are these directory enquiries providers about the cost of their services? Many of them display the cost on their home page, albeit in very small print at the very bottom of the page. There are those providers, however, that will go so far as to bury the cost of their service in the About Us page, making it difficult to keep up with the regularly changing costs.

In answer to this Simunix has created a daily updated infographic to chart the cost of a one minute call to different 118 numbers. It shows The Number’s and Maureen’s directory enquiries services both coming out as the most expensive at £3.58 for a one minute call with BT coming second at £2.98 for the same call. The lowest cost option listed on the infographic is 118 365 at 50.9p for a one minute call.

Consumers also need to be aware that dialling these numbers from a mobile phone can incur even greater costs. O2 customers can expect to pay £5 per minute for dialling a 118 number, the EE network charges £4.50 minimum for dialling 118 118 and a one minute call to 118 500 on the Vodafone network will set you back £3.75.

Simunix hopes to raise awareness of the true cost of dialling 118 numbers and asks that consumers not be blinded by the adverts they see on television. There are many lower cost options out there and even some online services that offer free directory enquiries.

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