Monday, August 11, 2003

This is probably a UK-only story, so apologies to my non-existent international readers (for everything). As you might have found out recently, the old, frankly rubbish 192 directory enquiries service is being phased out in one go at the end of August, being replaced by super-heroes and 1970s runners with the names of 118. Of course, you don't really care less about looks or personality, but the price [I know you too well]. Well, in the tradition of past journalists, I did some undercover research, to find... THE CHEAPEST 118 SERVICE AVAILABLE! So my first port of call was at, which gives pretty much comprehensive price information about all the service. It also shows how ridiculously confusing the choice is, and how complicated are the pricing structures. Basically, the choice is between fixed-fee, timed-fee, or a combination, which only applies to one of them [Orange], plus sometimes a connection charge. Some of the services are blatantly rip-offs (for example, British Gas [yes really] and Telco charge a fixed fee of 35p, whilst the interestingly-named One charge 30p for the same service), but beyond them it's hard to make a choice, because some of the more expensive choices provide more services, or give money to gay and lesbian charities (yes really). Could the Graudian help me? For once, yes. It convincingly argues which services are cheapest [a bit like their political jibes, and hence a little like mine]: essentially 118811 is 30p a go [the aforementioned One], and 118118 [called, erm, One] is 49p connection charge and then 9p a minute, and 118888 is 20p a minute [and is excitingly called Double One, Double Eight, Double Eight. Why not One One Eight Triple Eight? Or Eight Times Fourteen Thousand Eight Hundred and Sixty One? It's just as catchy]. So there you go, now you know which ones to use. Any thanks or money would be much appreciated. Money. Send Money. Unless you're Welsh, in which case you might be interested in 118404. Da boch!


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