Phone rip off

The following is an account of the latest scam to steal from Irish citizens as reported on Today with Pat Kenny (Tue,6th Feb).

The Scam

Eircom’s International Directory Inquiries Service at 11818 claimed that they could connect to any country outside Ireland. What they didn’t reveal was the long list of countries to which they are completely unable to make any connections whatsoever.

Despite this, they instructed their operators to go through the motions of attempting to make contact and charge the customer a hefty fee for the ‘service’. In plain English, this policy was designed to rob the customer.

The Confrontation

Philip Boucher-Hayes (Excellent reporter) challenges Paul Bradley, Director of Communications at Eircom, in his office.

Hayes – If you believe this isn’t happening, if you believe that your operators aren’t actually instructed to refuse to offer a refund, why don’t you call them up yourself now and see if you get a refund.

Bradley – Let me repeat, there is no policy not to offer rebates to customers.

Hayes – Let’s put it to the test, pick up the phone and we’ll ring 11818 and see what happens.

Bradley – Philip, let’s just stop there, that’s just outrageous.

Hayes – Why is it outrageous?

Bradley – This is ridiculous.

Hayes – Sorry, this is Paul Bradley director of communications, why is that outrageous?

Bradley – Philip, if you want to write down 11818, that’s fine, go ahead but I mean if you want to do it, I mean it’s just, you clearly have done it.

Hayes – Yes, 50 times (feck), credit is not being offered and there is a policy of not offering credit

Bradley – Ok, we’re getting into arcane debate now that really don’t (sic) apply to most…

Hayes – No, no, no, it really is quite simple, if a service is not provided, is a customer not entitled to a refund, it’s as simple as that.

Bradley – Well, the service is provided, the service is a directory inquiry.

Hayes – And where you are connecting to a number you know you haven’t a snowballs chance of getting through to, are you not essentially being dishonest?

Bradley – Not at all

End game

So what happened after RTE passed on all their information on the case to COMREG, the so called Communications Regulator? Well, they quietly entered into negotiations with Eircom who promised to change their ways.

We shouldn’t be surprised really, the so called financial regulator follows the same policy of non action when the banks rob their customers.


The Regulator did not discover this scam, Irish regulators never do.

When the Regulator was informed by RTE, they kept the whole thing quiet and effectively let the thieves off.

Whistleblowers in the International Directory Inquiries sector informed RTE. Media investigation and whistleblowers are the only protection Irish citizens have against rampant corruption.

Irish governments have been promising for years to bring in legislation to protect such courageous and patriotic citizens, we’re still waiting.

It’s likely that the number of operators working in the International Directory Inquiries sector is small. I wonder if the witch hunt has begun.