Friday, November 02, 2012

0800 Numbers and Cars

This past Saturday, Brit Boy and I were in town and our car broke down. We were out trying to complete some errands when the car started sounding weird. This was not good and especially not good since we were on the other side of town, several miles away from where we live. To compound things it was also the coldest day of the season so far and our car decided to die on the spot. We pulled into a small shopping centre and started to check things over. We quickly realized that it was nothing that we could fix, so we had to call our breakdown service.
We called the service and it's one of the 0800 type numbers, similar to 800 numbers back home in the US. In the UK, 0800 numbers cost a certain amount per minute depending upon which type of number you are calling and whether you are calling from a landline or a mobile/cell phone. If you call from a landline, the calls are free, but from a cell phone they are not. There is some investigation of these charges currently going on, so perhaps one day they will all be charged at a much lower rate. The number that we had to call was an 0844 number and we were charged about 17 pence per minute for the call because we had to use the cell phone. The thing that really made it hard was that we were on hold for nearly 20 minutes...OUCH! Also, we have pay-as-you-go phones so the time was ticking away as Brit Boy was on hold. In the time that I've lived here I've never really given much thought to the rates for 0800 numbers because it's not something that one thinks about day to day really. However, our Saturday afternoon excitement has made me aware of the subtle nuances involved with the various 0800 numbers and their pricing. I am now well-informed.
When we finally got through they told us that it would be two hours until they could get to us. So we had no choice but to wait. It was fine in the beginning. Even though it was a freezing day, it was also a clear and sunny day, so we could stay warm enough. Even though we were in a small shopping centre, half of the shops weren't open and the ones that were open were tiny so we couldn't hang out in there. But we were okay for a while in our car, so it was all good. As we got past the one hour mark, the sun started to drop behind the building, and we started to feel that cold. Brrrr!
Right at the two hour mark we got a call from the breakdown service and the guy came to help us out. He patched things up so that we could get home and he followed us. We thought that we'd need towing so we were pleased to get our car back home on its own power. To make a long story short, we had to get the radiator and thermostat replaced. Ho hum. Anyway, hopefully things will be well from this point on with our car. Fingers crossed :-)

* This is a sponsored post.

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