MI victory as Northern Rock ditches 0870 number
Ron Stout, press manager at Northern Rock, said: “Where numbers had previously been a mixture of 0870 and 0845, we are standardising them to 0845 numbers. This is part of a general telephone review.”
Simon Chalk, mortgage planner at Mortgage Portfolio Services, said: “This is good news and will hopefully add to the pressure on other lenders to drop their 0870 numbers.”
Northern Rock’s number change coincides with the revelation that Alliance & Leicester (A&L) has been using an 0870 intermediary enquiry number but only for loans below £300,000.
Glenn Lewis, principal at Alexander Financial Services, contacted MI to voice his disdain after registering for A&L’s online service. He explained: “I was amazed to see all the contact numbers were 0870. Curiously, for any query on a loan over £300,000 the numbers are miraculously replaced with normal geographical ones. I may be cynical but the ‘dual pricing’ clearly demonstrates the use of 0870 for blatant profiteering.
“Under ‘Treating Customers Fairly’ I’m sure the FSA would come down hard on mortgage advisers if we changed our only number to an 0870.”
Mehrdad Yousefi, head of intermediary mortgages at A&L, said: “Like many organisations A&L uses local and non-geographic 0870 numbers. We want to give brokers a fast and efficient service and we can do this by using these numbers as it enables us to route calls across any of our geographical sites using one number.
“There’s no question of us profiteering from brokers. We have a ‘Call Me Back’ button on our intermediary website which may be more convenient. We take on board the concerns of brokers and are currently reviewing our use of telephone numbers.”