Students applying through Ucas risk big phone bills

Students may be on the recieving end of large phone bills - thanks to a premium number used by Ucas

Students who made it through clearing and secured their university places with help from Ucas may need to check their phone bill – as they've been asked to dial through on a premium number.

Fair telecoms campaigner David Hickson has spearheaded discussion of Ucas’ decision to employ an expensive 0871 helpline number, which can have cost some students nearly £5 for a 10-minute conversation.

Although Hickson acknowledged the good service Ucas provided, he expressed his disaproval of Ucas’ continued use of a 0871 number, highlighting the fact that although they do provide a 0330 number – which is included in many landline packages – the number is accessible only for international callers. Landline callers are redirected back to the 0871 number.

The average call to Ucas during the period immediately after students received their results nationally was four-and-a-half minutes, however, students could also wait on hold for that same amount of time before being put through to an operator.

In most cases the calls would be around nine minutes long – in some cases costing as much as £4.50 from a mobile, or £1.09 from a BT landline.

However, a spokesperson from the organisation said: “UCAS provides numerous avenues of support for students, the majority of which are free and there is no requirement to call UCAS to go through the Clearing process.

“If students use a mobile to call the UCAS phone line they immediately hear a message clearly stating the increased associated costs of using a mobile phone and making them aware of the cheaper option of calling from a landline.”

The spokesperson stated that any revenue received was ‘re-distributed within the UCAS charity to further improve our services and access to higher education.’

“UCAS does not benefit in any way from the increased cost associated with mobile calls.” The spokesperson said.

However, Hickson believes that although Ucas – and organisations like it – did not actually see any of the money, the value came through off-setting costs. “Put it this way; if they put it through that 0330 number it would be a different story.” He said.

Ucas also said that their services were available through Facebook and Twitter, in an attempt to keep costs down for students.

The news comes as last week the government announced a ban on expensive telephone numbers for customer inquiries to businesses, as part of a move to protect consumers from ‘rogue businesses’.

087 numbers are known as ‘non-geographic’ numbers, and as a result of the change, businesses that use them will be soon forced to switch – to 0330 numbers. According to Hickson’s organisation, the fair telecoms campaign, many companies have already made the switch; including governmental bodies such as the tax office, HMRC.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Guru Careers: Graduate Marketing Executive / Marketing Assistant

£18 - 23k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Marketing Executive / Assistant is n...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Trainee

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider to the fa...

Ashdown Group: Graduate IT Analyst - Global ERP Implementation - London

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful & reputable global business is l...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most