§ Mr. Mason
Only when the caller is unable to give reasonably adequate information on the wanted number to be traced and requires the operator to go to quite special lengths would a fee of 1s. become chargeable. The decision whether this special search should be made and the fee charged will rest with the customer.
§ Mr. Mason
First, nearly 50 per cent. of the directory inquiries are made by people who have got the information in their own directories at the time. Secondly, 17 per cent. of directory inquiries are vague, which necessitates a search, and this constitutes 40 per cent. of the operator's work. It will be up to the customer. The operator will let him know that a search is required and that 2123 It will take time. He will ask him whether he wants the search to go on, pointing out that if he does he will be charged for the time.
§ Dr. Winstanley
Directory inquiries cost not only money but labour. Will not the number of such calls depend on the satisfactory nature or otherwise of the directories issued to subscribers?
§ Mr. Dobson
Will my right hon. Friend look at this matter again? Breaching the old-established principle of not charging for directory inquiries means that he must be sure that the time an operator spends on a call of this kind is properly equated. If he is going past this barrier, he should look at how long an operator may spend talking to the customer about the chance of finding the information.