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How to get Free Directory Enquiries
Directory Enquiries UK. Used to be FREE at British Telecom, but now (2004) is expensive. However there is a way of getting FREE directory enquiries. Please read all of this carefully, as it is important to know about all of it. The way to get free directory enquires in the UK is:
Get a OneTel account (that's also free), and use OneTel 118 111. But, for it to be genuinely free you must use it from your own home phone, and you must put the OneTel prefix 1877 in front (or use a dial-up unit).
So, that's OneTel, on your own BT phone at home, and dial 1877 118 111.
Of course Directory Enquiries should be free. There isn't anything special about it being free. It is just silly if it's expensive. OneTel have just redressed an imbalance which was there.
Update 2005/09: Unfortunately, Onetel have altered the conditions now it is NOT FREE, as of 2005/10/31, although we are reliably informed that it will still only be 10p. It's not the point, though :-(
Further Update 2005/09: Still no word from Onetel even though messages were left on their telephone answering machines at their marketing company. The people at the call centre were friendly and helpful but were unable to get any lines through to the management of the company, and so in the end no response was forthcoming regarding the free directory enquires. But there is some GOOD NEWS, which is that Tesco Home Phone will be providing free directory enquires! (Information correct at the time of publishing - late 2005). So, there is yet again a good answer to the question How To Get Free Directory Enquiries. Sign up for Tesco Home Phone :-)
Additional update (2006/03): There is now a Free Directory Enquiries service offered by Trinity Mirror on 08000 192 190. Well Done to Trinity Mirror for doing this!
Sad news 2006/08: This appears to have GONE. That's a shame. Still, we are hoping there will be yet more free directory enquiry services set up at some time.
In the meantime, it's surprising how many numbers and alternatives can be found by using the "Say No to 0870" (campaign against expensive phone number exploitation) site, which is available via the 0870 page here.
Update 2012: I've never paid for directory enquiries. These days I just do a search.