Calling the 123 Speaking Clock now costs at least 39p. It’s probably not something you’re too concerned about, until you spot the phone number mysteriously appearing on your landline phone bill.
The cost of calling BT’s 79-year-old Speaking Clock has climbed steadily in recent years and costs at least five times more than other countries that offer a similar service.
In 2003, the 10p charge for the Speaking Clock was close to the national rate, but it doubled to 20p in 2004 and now costs 39-50p depending on your phone provider.
Calling the clock in the Netherlands costs just 7p, Iceland’s ‘Klukken’ is around 12p, Ireland and Germany cost 14p, and it’s free in Chile. Only France’s 82-year old ‘L’horloge parlante’ is more expensive, at 56p.
Mystery 123 phone calls
Last year, we reported on landline owners who had been charged for mystery calls and said that engineers testing lines could be the cause. And we’ve had 150 comments about this here on Which? Convo, including from Lindsey:
‘Yep, just looked at my bill and there’s a call to 123 charging me 36p. Funny that I don’t even have my house phone plugged in. To top it off there was an engineer in my street the day of the call! Annoyed.’
Openreach said it was unaware of any issues but later apologised to customers and told engineers not to make calls on customer lines or boxes.
Despite this, you’ve told us it’s still an issue – but phone providers don’t always refund the charges and won’t block the 123 number. Yet we had no joy when we asked BT to consider making calls free, or cheaper, to help.
Top 123 tips
1. Save money, check the time online.
2. Check your bill for 123 calls – report any to your provider.
3. Blocking calls – phones featuring call barring can block specific numbers for outgoing and incoming calls.
Have you noticed any mystery 123 speaking clock calls on your phone bill?