NHS rip-off phone numbers
It has been a long-standing grump of mine how so many companies and - far worse - public bodies such as the NHS only publish rip-off phone numbers for their clients to talk to them on. These rip-off numbers include 087 numbers, 084, 080, and 07 numbers.
084 is marketed as being low cost, limited to the same rate as a local call - it's often misleadingly called "local rate" or "lo-call". What rot! It's actually priced to be the same rate as a local call at BT's standard tariff. But how many people are on BT's standard tariff? Cheaper tariffs are available from BT themselves, and of course no-one who uses another telco (such as Virgin Media if you're on cable, or any of the mobile companies) will be on BT's tariff. The people receiving calls on 084 and 087 numbers actually get paid by the telco for generating the call, that's how expensive they are - the telco charges punters so much that they can afford to pass some of it on to someone else.
080 is of course used for "free" calls. But these are not always free. They're certainly not free if you call from a mobile, like how most people make their calls these days.
Finally, after many years of abuse, this scandalous rip-off seems to be getting some attention. However, watch out for a common lie told by advocates of these rip-off numbers. They say that it's only now that the new 03 range exists that companies can move away from rip-off numbers and still get the full range of services that they get from their rip-off provider. This is utter bullshit. All those services like call queueing are available on any number if you ask your telco for them.
The proof that it's bullshit is saynoto0870.com, a website whose operators and users have ferreted out alternative geographic numbers (those beginning 01 and 02; cheap or even free to call) which companies have, and which end up in exactly the same phone systems as their rip-off numbers do. I urge you to contribute data where you can. You can get hold of geographic numbers for public bodies by submitting Freedom Of Information Act requests. For commercial bodies, they will often tell you a cheap number to call if you tell them that you are going to be travelling abroad - the rip-offs are so expensive that foreign telcos will often simply refuse to let you dial them.