How much??!! Directory Enquiries and the unexpected costs

directory enquiries 118

Directory Enquiries – How to navigate the sky-rocketing prices and avoid falling victim to an unexpected bill.

Currently in the UK market there are over 400 different numbers to access the directory enquiries service. Prices for using directory enquires range from FREE to over £15 per minute.

Dominating the directory enquiries market are 118 118 and BT’s 118 5000. The easy to remember numbers and prime time television adverts are making huge profits for these organisations, whilst consumers are being charged almost £9 for a one minute call. has been investigating the different options and looking at some savvy ways to make a quick saving.

118 118

A call to 118 118 costs £8.98 for the first minute, or part of a minute, then £4.49 per minute after that. If you use the “put you through” service the £4.49 per minute cost will continue for the duration of your call. So how does this add up?

If your call lasts a total of ten minutes you will be charged £49.39. But the costs don’t stop there, you are also charged by your phone provider. If, for example, you are calling from a BT landline it is 12pence per minute to call a 118 number.

Raising the total cost of the ten-minute call too £50.59. Connecting the same call through a mobile provider would likely push the cost higher.

118 118 will send a text of the number through to you if you are calling them from a mobile phone.

BT – 118 500

A call to BT’s 118 500 directory enquiry service costs £5.50 for the first minute, or part of a minute, then £2.75 per minute after that.

Like the 118 118 service, BT will also text you the number if you contact them from a mobile phone. They will always ask if you would like them to “put you through”.

Be warned – the £2.75 per minute will continue to be charged for the duration of the call. Meaning a ten-minute call would cost £30.25 before your phone provider charges are added.

Number UK – 0800 118 3733

Whilst this is a free option the service is automated, meaning you don’t get to speak to a person. Annoyingly there is 20-30 second advert at the start and end of the call. Number UK do not offer a free text service to your mobile so ensure you have a pen and paper to hand.

Number UK – 118 811

If you don’t like the idea of an automated call, Number UK also offer an operator service for a fixed fee of £1 per call on top of your standard call charge. You are only able to request one number per call. There is no option to send a text to your mobile so a pen and paper to hand is a must.

Registered disabled

BT has a free 195 service if you are registered as disabled. Helpfully they will also ‘put you through’ at the rate you would have paid if you had dialled the number yourself.

Hints and Tips

If you can take a few minutes to search online, you are very likely to find the number you need, and save unnecessary charges.

If you do use directory enquires, store the number. Many mobile phones have lots of contact space and you will avoid paying again in the future if you take a minute to store the number in your contacts now.

Have a pen and paper to hand and even if you are busy avoid letting directory enquires “put you through”. Extortionate costs will soon see your phone bills sky-rocket.

*Prices correct as at October 2017

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