As research shows that calls to 118 directory numbers can cost over £20, experts have said it’s probably cheaper to dial random numbers until you get the one you want.
With regulator Ofcom looking to potentially cap the amount these services can charge customers to something less eye-watering, consumers have been warned not to bother.
An Ofcom spokesperson explained, “These directory companies do, in theory, provide a valuable service – but I’m not sure that value is equal to £20.
“I mean, if you don’t have access to the Internet then finding a phone number can be difficult, but for £20 you could hire a graduate to find it for you, and still have change for a takeaway later.”
Directory companies have defended their pricing structures and business models as being ‘perfectly in balance for a capitalist economy’.
A spokesperson for one 118 company we spoke to explained, “We are here to provide a useful service to the public, whilst also relieving them of as much disposable income as we possibly can.
“Though to be honest, we’re not that bothered if the money they give us is disposable – we’ll take it regardless.
“How do we sleep at night? Perfectly well, thank you for asking. All that money we rake in from vulnerable pensioners pays for excellent mattresses.”
Phone user Simon Williams told us, “Being on the receiving end of someone dialling a wrong number can be a pain in the arse, obviously, but if they explained they were just trying to avoid the costs of 118 I wouldn’t mind at all.
“Hell, I’d probably look up the number for them.”