One-second directory enquiry call costs as much as €5.58

Survey finds thata 10-minute call can cost as much as €30.69

Think before you dial directory enquiries - it could cost you dearly. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Think before you dial directory enquiries - it could cost you dearly. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

 

Consumers could be spending up to €5.58 for a one-second directory enquiry call, new research from the Consumers’ Association of Ireland (CAI) shows.

In its latest Consumer Choice magazine,the CAI has attempted to decipher the high and higher charges consumers pay to directory enquiry services providers in Ireland, which have “gone up dramatically” in recent years.

It found that a one minute call to 11811 costs € 3.42; a one minute call to 11850 costs € 5.58; and a one minute call to 11890 costs € 3.40. The fees were based on the cost of ringing from an Eircom landline.

Not only that, but as each service includes a set-up fee and minimum charge in the pricing structure, this means that no matter how short the consumer manages to keep the call, the price will still be high. This results in: a 1-second call costing € 2.12 to 11811; a 1-second call costing € 5.58 to 11850; and a 1-second call costing € 3.40 to 11890. 11850’s low cost number, 11888, which may be unknown to many as it doesn’t have its own catchy ad, offers some of the more competitive rates, at €0.60 a minute.

Nonetheless staying on the line will also cost you more - for example, a ten-minute call to 11850 from a landline will cost a staggering €30.69, compared with €12.31 to 11890.

Comparing prices between mobile providers is “decidedly more difficult” the CAI says, with the same 1-second call varying in cost from € 0.85 to € 4.26 and between pre-pay and bill-pay customers.

“Worse again, there is no consistency in approach between bill-pay and pre-pay tariffs which serves to only further confuse and frustrate the consumer’s potential to shop around,” the CAI said.

To avoid high charges Dermott Jewell, policy advisor to the CAI, recommends the following approach.

“For consumers who have internet access, each service provides a free search engine. For those who do not there is one low call number, 11888, that provides a much cheaper charge. This number is provided by 11850, but is not advertised - anywhere - except on the 11850 website”.