Yesterday’s story on the
Sensis directory assistance number attracted a lot of attention from
conscientious Crikey readers who were eager to fill us in on the
details. And it seems the issue has been around for some time. Earlier
this year, the Senate Estimates Committee
ran an investigation into the new number set-up, which led to this
amusing exchange between Senator Stephen Conroy and Jenny Young of
Telstra:

Senator CONROY: Which is the free service?

Ms Young: The 1223.

Senator CONROY: And the other one is –

Ms Young: The 1234 is the premium.

Senator CONROY: And the third one?

Ms Young: That is also a free service, I understand, yes.

Senator CONROY: What does that one do?

Ms Young: You can connect through to numbers on that. Yes, the 1234 is the premium service that you were referring to.

Senator CONROY: And what did 12456 become?

Ms Young: The 1234 service.

Senator CONROY: I cannot understand why people are confused.

Then
there’s the small pricing detail we missed – the 1223 number is
certainly free, but only from home phones or payphones. Business lines
and mobiles incur a charge of 44 cents a call, which may interest
business owners.

And even if you choose the premium service,
Sensis is keen to add to its 4 cents per minute cost tally. Callers are
greeted by operators thanking them for calling Sensis, and are again
thanked on completion of their call, which one frugal reader calculated
as an extra 12 cents to the cost of the call.

Peter Fray

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