Mar 21, 2007

Want to find a business telephone number? DON'T call 118 118 

I've just had an interesting call from Thomson telephone directories people. This year our parent company decided not to renew our advertising with Thomson - right now they have enough work and didn't actually have any calls through Thomson as a result of last years advertising.

We've just had a follow-up call to 'remind' us that the 118 118 directory enquires service only lists businesses that are advertised with Thomson!! If we don't renew our advertising to Thomson then our number will be shown in the 118 118 service as 'ex-directory'. To my mind that smacks of strong arm selling tactics.

Although technically there may be lots of phone books, I think the understanding of average Joe Public is that if you have a phone number it will appear in the directory unless you have decided to mark it as ex-directory.

This isn't a huge loss for us, but quite an eye-opener as someone that *might* have need of a directory enquiry service.

Knowing now that 118 118 doesn't offer anywhere like as comprehensive directory as the old BT 192 service is a bit of an eye opener. Why exactly was it that the 192 service was opened up to competition? Apparently not to improve the service to the customers.

I think most peoples assumption is that if they call directory enquiries on any of the available numbers then they will have access to the same underlying telephone list. That isn't so.

It would be interesting to know the percentage of business numbers listed by the various directory enquiries numbers. That would seem to be a good advertising idea for the services that offer close to a 100% listing.

So... if you want to find the number of a business, DON'T bother calling 118 118 - you'll be wasting your time unless they have paid Thomson for the privilege!


Ben : "Think about things logically before you post stupid remarks on here about a company."

I'm not sure what you're suggesting is a "stupid remark" about a company. I commented on a conversation I had with a Thomson sales person attempting to get me to renew our advertising with them - something from which we'd had no leads and with which we were not interested in continuing. Having already made this clear the follow-up call appeared to use strong-arm tactics to persuade us to renew - one of the 'facts' we were told concerned our inclusion in the 118-118 directory. It's a while ago now - but I think Thomson claimed to provide the business information to 118 118 - not the residential.

As you say this is patently a daft claim by the Thomson sales person - however some people may not think this through and may decide to err on the side of safety and renew - or simply be too busy to think things through and renew. I assume that their sales team had some target to reach in order to get a bonus - it wouldn't be the first time an over-eager sales person pushed a little harder than they should. I also assume that it is not official Thomson policy to have their sales people operate in this way.

If you have any complaint at all I'd suggest you have a word with the people at Thomson and explain that they should not be using 118 118 as sales leverage in this way.

All the best.

Comment by editor - Jul 27, 2008 12:45

 That claim by Thompson is ridiculous.

118118 uses 2 databases, OSIS and Thompson. Thompson is miniscule compared to OSIS. We only use the Thompson database when someone says 'I want a taxi' as opposed to 'I want Steve's Taxi's'. When callers give types of businesses then thompson is great, otherwise we use the huge one.

Think about things logically before you post stupid remarks on here about a company. If 118118 only had Thompson listings, then how would we have residential numbers?

Comment by Ben - Jul 27, 2008 12:02
This is a complete cover up Mr Mark Cox - I used to work for Thomson and what the guy said above is completely true!!!!! As well as that how can you say that Thomson is commited to great customer service when you treat your staff terrible (bums on seats come to mind)!!!!!!  I would encorouge you to get your own house in order first before replying to further emails, you clearly do not have a great working relationship with your sales/customer service team as they all work for me now, and make good money
Kind Regards
Kenneth Kane
NO FANCY TITLE or I could say Press Relations Manager???
Comment by Kenneth Kane - June 18, 2008 14:26


22 March 2007


Following a recent article posted on, Thomson Directories would like to clear-up any confusion regarding business telephone listings and 118 118.  A spokesperson for Thomson Directories said:

Any telephone number listed within Thomson Local, whether paid for or free will, under current licensing agreements, be provided to 118 118 providing maximum exposure for all businesses.

Thomson Directories partnerships with companies such as Nectar, Google and MSN ensure that we continue to give more than any other directory.  By giving more to our users, we will generate more calls for our customers."

Thomson Directories is committed to providing both customers and users with the highest levels of customer service and apologises for any confusion caused.



Notes to Editors

About Thomson Directories

Thomson Directories has been operating for over 25 years and has established itself as the leading Local directory publisher in the UK.  Today, the directory is available both in print and online with the launch of in 2003.

Thomson Directories produce 173 editions of The Book, delivered free of charge to over 22 million homes and businesses throughout the UK. Each week The Book directories are used by 6 million people and generate 15 million business referrals.  Following the partnership formed in 2006, The Book is the only classified directory that rewards people with Nectar points for calling businesses listed in the Thomson Local. is powered by the most comprehensive database of its kind in the UK with over 1.8 million businesses listed and additional content provided.  With a variety of online advertising options, Thomson Directories' tailor-made packages help promote businesses to an online audience that makes over 200 million searches a month across its partner network, which includes Google, MSN and Up My Street.

Through its Business Strata division, Thomson Directories provide highly accurate and effective B2B data lists for direct mail, telemarketing and opt-in email marketing campaigns.  Business Strata's range of data list services ensure the best possible lead generation.

With its head office in Farnborough, Hampshire, Thomson Directories employs over 500 head office staff and a further 500 employees located at 10 regional sales offices throughout the UK.

For further information please contact:

Mark Cox

Press Relations Manager

Thomson Directories

Tel: 01252 390506

Email: [email protected]
Comment by Mark Cox - Mar 22, 2007 17:09

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