/ Money

Are you still spotting costly 0845 numbers?

Tired man with phone

Customer service shouldn’t cost you a fortune, but some businesses are taking too long to phase out pricey numbers on their customer helplines. Have you spotted any culprits?

It’s two years since the Consumer Contracts Regulations came into effect. On 13 June 2014 companies were prohibited from using pricey phone numbers for customer lines – so why are we still seeing them advertised?

While plenty of companies have been receptive and made the appropriate changes, we continue to spot numbers starting 084 or 087 for customer service lines on posters and websites – calls to these business rate numbers can cost as much as 18p per minute from a landline, and 51p per minute from mobiles.

If you’re contacting a company’s customer service phone line because you have a complaint to make about the level of service you’ve received, or an issue with a product, then having to shell out more of your cash just to resolve an issue is nothing but rubbing salt into the wound.

Are companies aware of the changes?

Are companies doing enough to live up to the change in consumer regulations? It would seem that in some cases, businesses just don’t appear to be aware of the changes.

Just a few months ago a friend got in contact with me after reading our Which? conversation on travel firms flouting costly call rules. He explained how his phone charger had developed a dangerous fire-related fault, so he sought advice via the manufacturer’s Twitter account.

He was advised to ring a premium 0845 number, despite the Twitter page specifically stating that this method of contact was for customer support. After pressing for an alternative, he was only given the option to live chat on their website, or e-mail them instead.

Why so slow?

Going back to travel firms, I’ve frequently spotted premium numbers being displayed on trains on my commute to and from Which? headquarters. Not only are these numbers being listed for customer service, but also for reporting faults with toilets and even security camera systems.

When we pressed on these issues back in August last year, we were told that alternative numbers had been established and that posters would be updated ‘over the coming months’. But this was nearly a year ago – so are some firms taking this seriously enough?

So tell us, have you spotted any premium rate numbers for customer service and support?

Thank you for all of your comments, we’re working our way through the numbers you’ve reported to us. Please do keep them coming. Thank you

John R. Knight says:
25 August 2016

Universal Extras charge prospective staff 2 pence per minute to phone them on 0845 0090 344. What a cheek! They also charge a fee to register with them for an extras film job! In my view, both charges are Unethical for as job seeker to pay!!!

Janice says:
27 August 2016

Bupa healthcare used by the NHS to supply essential medication and products provide their 0845 number before their 0345 number for customer queries. They are being taken over by Boots sometime this year but no info provided on telephone number changes.


And who bought Boots recently Janice ? Think-Walmart and all that it implies –then think – Walgreen’s -US biggest pharmacy business with the same thinking .They have a finger in every pie there including private hospital supplies (at a price ) .


From my perspective as a customer, I’d sooner shop at a Walgreens that at a Boots.

Jill Cotter says:
27 August 2016

Boots online says call 08456090055 if you block your account by inputting the wrong password and when you phone it they give out their 0345 number!

Frances says:
31 August 2016

I am sorry that I cannot isolate numbers as I am aware that they are too numerous to mention and many now have been changed to 0345 numbers. Fortunately, for me and probably others subscribing to BT, we are not charged if we have the unlimited deal on landline calls including 0845/0345, 0870/0370. The main problem are those companies who are using 0844 numbers which I believe cost at least 10p per minute. However, I refer to a website “Say no to 0870” which can sometimes offer alternative numbers for such companies, though sometimes not!

Celia says:
31 August 2016

Waiting for a parcel to be delivered and happen to miss the delivery?

DPD, MyHermes, Yodel, and others, want you to call an 0844 number!


Never call the courier.

The contract for delivery of your parcel is between the vendor and the courier.

The contract for supply of goods is between the vendor and the customer.

Always call the vendor. It is the vendor’s responsibility to chase up the delivery of goods.

Consumer law requires the vendor to have an 01, 02, 03 or 080 number for after-sales enquiries and issues such as this.

Thom says:
31 August 2016

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) are still using these numbers.


Scotts of Stow booklet inserted into Radio Times uses 0844 4822020

Suzanna says:
6 September 2016


Yorkie says:
14 September 2016

Carphone Warehouse is using an 0843 number to call them. I needed to return a mobile phone for repair and rang the number. It cost me 58p for just 3 minutes – this is not geographically local! When I went into the store the could not / would not provide a local number so I could check on the progress of my phone, this is all wrong. They also said that they probably would not answer the phone as they were always busy

Della Santos says:
29 September 2016

Business Stream which is the water board for Glasgow still uses 0845. I had to hold 5 minutes when dialling 0845 602 8855


Della -Scottish Water can be contacted on – 0800-0778-778 -helpline 24/7 . Business Stream operates for Scottish Water but that doesnt stop you calling direct . The same number applies to the business sector.