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118 services not up to scratch – Oftel

Want a number? It's a lottery

Four in ten calls to recently deregulated directory enquiries (DQ) operators end in the wrong information being dished out.

That's according to research from telecoms regulator Oftel and premium-rate watchdog ICSTIS, which are to meet the DQ industry soon in a bid to improve service levels.

This insight into the 118 XXX industry echoes concerns raised by the Consumers' Association earlier this month when it claimed its research found that UK punters are paying over the odds for a substandard service.

In a statement Paul Whiteing, ICSTIS' Deputy Director said: "At this stage, the overall level of performance of directory enquiry service providers is not as good as it could be especially in relation to levels of accuracy.

"I hope that this research will act as a spur to individual companies to improve the accuracy of their services. Those that don't risk losing their customers to other directory enquiry providers."

Anyone seeking encouragement from the research will be able to latch on to the fact that 95 per cent of calls were answered at the first attempt and that nine out of ten punters are aware that 192 has been disconnected and replaced by 118 XXX services.

However, DQ operators are still diddling consumers with two in ten punters still not being offered a refund when they complain about being given dud information. ®

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