BT, who owns EE, could be in for a slap on the wrist from Ofcom after it owned up to not capping the call rate on 118 numbers for EE customers.
For those internet-savvy users, which is essentially almost everyone and then some, 118 is the number for Direct Enquiries - a service you call at an extortionate rate to speak to a real-live person to find out a phone number. Archaic? Perhaps. Annoying? Most certainly. Absolute madness? 100 per cent. Why go through that rigmarole when you can ask the robot assistant in your pocket, and not have to concern yourself with call costs or even manners?
The 118 price cap was implemented for all operators as of April 1, 2019, with Ofcom stating that some companies charged up to £20 for a 90-second call to the service. 90 seconds to get a phone number. Insanity. After it waded in to regulate the situation, 118 calls were capped at £3.65 per 90 seconds.
BT didn't conform until mid-April, meaning that the one person who refused to get with the times and spent £20 on a 118 call has been overcharged. Ofcom has subsequently opened an investigation into EE/ BT to "consider whether EE complied with its charging obligations in relation to telephone calls to 118 numbers made by EE customers."