On Southeastern, compliance with the 0845 law still seems lacking

Nearly three years ago the law changed to prohibit the use of 0845 numbers for customer service lines; and nearly two years ago OFCOM changed its regulations to require a business using 0845 numbers for any other purpose to specify its service charge and warn about access charges wherever it advertises or communicates the phone number. We reported at the time that Southeastern were the only Train Operating Company in breach of the law. Moreover, after representations from ourselves Network Rail voluntarily stopped using 0845 numbers and National Rail Enquiries has also so ceased doing so.

However recent checks at Sevenoaks and Knockholt have shown continued, multiple, uses of 0845 numbers in breach both of the Consumer Regulations and the OFCOM conditions.

Sevenoaks: a bumper pack of two 0845 numbers – both used as customer service number in breach of Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Payments) Regulations 2013, and neither with service charge information, in breach of OFCOM conditions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sevenoaks: the station welcome notice on the Kippington side. A triple pack of naughtiness:

  • Southeastern’s 0845 number placed second, and so technically compliant with the 2013 Regulations. But no service and access charge information, in breach of OFCOM conditions.
  • The old 0845 number for National Rail Enquiries. Perhaps not a breach of the 2013 Regulations, but no service and access charge information, in breach of OFCOM conditions.
  • The old 0845 number for Network Rail. Again perhaps not a breach of the 2013 Regulations, but no service and access charge information, in breach of OFCOM conditions.

 

 

 

Knockholt: 0845 number used as customer service number in breach of Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Payments) Regulations 2013. No service and access charge information in breach of OFCOM conditions.

 

 

 

 

Knockholt: 0845 number used as customer service number in breach of Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Payments) Regulations 2013. No service and access charge information in breach of OFCOM conditions.

 

 

 

We’d suggest a competition to find more of these breaches of the law or OFCOM conditions. But Southeastern are still making it too easy. Do you think that they will comply by the law and the conditions by the end of their franchise? And do you think that the Department for Transport should “passport” them as an acceptable franchisee for the next franchise if they so flagrantly fail to comply with legal requirements that all other train companies met quickly?


Comments

On Southeastern, compliance with the 0845 law still seems lacking — 3 Comments

  1. Since they were utterly incapable of understanding the issue when it was raised at a stakeholder meeting years ago – or were being deliberately evasive – I hold out no expectation of them fixing this.

  2. @mike We tend to agree. The curious thing is that all the other TOCs (including GTR) moved quickly to implement the new law.

  3. The problem could be solved literally overnight by Southeastern and Network Rail instructing their telcos to cease all their old 084/087 Service Charge numbers and replace them with Changed Number Announcements that are free to the caller. They could then update their old signage at their leisure.

    Instead, Southeastern still choose to promote the old 0871 Train Tracker number (up to 67p per minute from mobiles) on their latest posters. Along with National Rail they prefer to break the rules and keep the Service Charge revenue rolling in, knowing that none of the totally useless regulators will ever lift a finger.

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