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Telephone number pedantry - helen-louise
Telephone number pedantry
Pet hate: people who write London phone numbers as "0207" or "0208" plus 7 digits. It's incorrect. The code for London is 020. The number is 8whatever. If you are in London and pick up the phone, and dial the seven digit number after "0208", you won't get through. If, instead, you dial the eight digit number beginning with "8", you will.

What has inspired this rant? Several things, including listening to my answer phone messages, and trolls on one of my irc channels (making it completely impossible to have a conversation there, and all of the ops are idle). Plus the garage at the back of ours just spent out on a huge shiny new sign, that sits just off the edge of our property and swings in the breeze - and it has the phone number listed as "0208" + 7 digits. GAH.

Current Mood: annoyed annoyed

7 comments or Leave a comment
ceno From: ceno Date: 23rd February 2006 22:17 (UTC) (Link)
Heh, I used to be an 0208 person but I've been training myself not to do that anymore. Do I get a biscuit? :)
redbird From: redbird Date: 23rd February 2006 22:23 (UTC) (Link)

a windmill replies

I think of my mother's number as 208-xxx-xxxx. Partly because it used to be 081-xxx-xxxx, so I'm used to thinking of the 8 as part of the area code, and partly because, living in North America, I expect the local part of a phone number to be seven digits (with the hyphen where I put it above).

Of course, most of the time what I actually dial* is 011-44-208-xxx-xxx. And the rest of the time it's as likely to be the entire string starting with 0208 as just 8xxx-xxxx, because if I'm calling her from within the UK it's usually not from within that part of Greater London.

If BT hadn't repeatedly changed the area codes, this would all be simpler.

*Not that I have a dial phone anymore.
aca From: aca Date: 24th February 2006 08:42 (UTC) (Link)

Re: a windmill replies

It wasn't BT it was Oftel/Ofcom the telecoms regulator - ie teh government - who did this. Whilst it was something of an upheavle I still think it preferable to the US approach of splitting cities into 2 area codes.

Plus variable length area codes and local numbers mean you can provide an urban area with 6m or so phone numbers without doubling up area codes. Which is a good thing, I reckons.
redbird From: redbird Date: 24th February 2006 13:08 (UTC) (Link)

Re: a windmill replies

Variable length codes have their value, certainly--it was the double switch for London that I think overloaded people: 01 to 071/081 to 020 and eight-digit local numbers.
aca From: aca Date: 24th February 2006 08:42 (UTC) (Link)
Hurrah for phone number pedantry!
thekumquat From: thekumquat Date: 24th February 2006 11:03 (UTC) (Link)
Hear hear!
Sadly in all the applications for a contract that I'm ploughing through atm, I'm not allowed to reject the ones who can't get their own phone numbers right...
the_siobhan From: the_siobhan Date: 24th February 2006 14:45 (UTC) (Link)
UK phone numbers always confuse the hell out of me. I think that peoples' inconsistancy in how they record them is one of the reasons why.
7 comments or Leave a comment