/ 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

Comments
Guest
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!!!

Guest
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.

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Guest

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 ) .

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Guest

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

Guest
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!

Guest
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!

Guest
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!

Guest

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.

Guest
Thom says:
31 August 2016

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) are still using these numbers.

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Guest

Scotts of Stow booklet inserted into Radio Times uses 0844 4822020

Guest
Suzanna says:
6 September 2016

SWINTON INSURANCE BROKERS 0845 168 3770

Guest
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

Guest
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

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Guest

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.

Guest
Della Santos says:
6 October 2016

I didn’t know that. Thanks v.much. They should change this on their invoices as that is where the 0845 numbers are quoted.

Guest
Dennis says:
29 September 2016

Everyman Cinemas are still using 0871 numbers for all enquiries, including after-sales issues.

68p per minute from Vodafone mobile!!!

Guest
Della Santos says:
6 October 2016

Gazprom still use 0845 for their main number, account/billing and payments lines. Their main number is listed as 0845 230 0011. Their acc/billing number is listed as 0845 230 9088. Their payments number is listed as 0845 873 2281. Even their fax number is an 0845 listed as 0845 230 0022

Guest

For me even 0800 numbers are expensive. I don’t understand why companies can’t use normal stationary number. Why I need to pay for phone calls to 08 number if I have free calls on my mobile plan as most people do.

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Guest

It depends on the company and the plan you are on Ewa .

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Guest

Ewa – Calls to 0800 numbers are now free from a mobile. For other 08 numbers you need to check your plan, as Duncan says.

Guest

If your gas is cut off by engineering works, “National Grid” keep you waiting on an expensive 0845 number to find out what is going on. More than ten pounds later – none the wiser as to when it would be back on.

Guest
Pete H says:
14 December 2016

Ticket agencies and their pesky booking fees … and then the Phone Bill arrives showing call costs that could have paid for another ticket!

TicketMaster, ATG, GetMeIn and all of the others. Beyond a joke!

Guest

Got a gold card?

Both ‘Toys R Us’ and ‘South West Trains’ use costly 084 numbers for Gold Card customers. I suspect they are not the only ones doing this.

Reward schemes always seem to come with some sort of sting in the tail where traders recoup costs in various underhand ways.

Is having a gold card worth it? Not with SWT. Terrible service.

Guest
Malcolm Skinner says:
15 December 2016

South Staffs Water continue to use an 0845 number. When questioned they said it’s a “local rate” call.

It’s a more than 50p per minute rip-off!

Guest
Vinny says:
2 January 2017

Chessington World of Adventure … 68p per minute to amend booking details.

No mention of the call costs for this 0871 number when invited to call it.

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Guest

Chessington zoo has certainly changed since I was there in the 60,s , fun park now ?

Guest
Robert Ashby says:
23 March 2017

Campbells Meat. 0844 573 8456

Guest
Julie says:
31 May 2017

I just got charged over £11 on my telephone bill for calls to 0844 7550117 which is Yodel. My son had bought a mobile phone from Ebay, and had and is still having endless hassles because it was signed for but he didn’t sign for it, and he called Yodel to try to sort it out, so they charged him over £11 for a few calls, such as 84p for one 6 minute call, and £2.70 for another 19 minute call. He still doesn’t have either the phone he bought or a refund, he thinks maybe Yodel will refund the seller and then the seller will refund him….but that was a month ago and he hasn’t had a refund yet. He paid about £70 for the phone from Ebay.

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Guest

Julie – I have responded to your similar comment in a different Conversation concerning delivery failures. It is the seller’s failure to fulfil your son’s order that has given rise to the extra expense on phone calls so any claim for compensation for that expense should be included in action against the seller who is in breach of contract – that is, the seller has failed to make sure your son gets the phone he has bought from them.

Click here to see my other comment :
https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/costly-calls-expensive-premium-rate-numbers-084-087/#comment-1487687

Guest
Julie says:
31 May 2017

Thanks, that is very helpful.

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Guest

Long Tall Sally 08445736885. The only number on their delivery slip for UK Customer Service.

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Guest

David, if you enter your number in:
http://www.saynoto0870.com/search.php
it gives you 2 numbers you could try. A blue background means an unverified number, so if you find it works or not, it is helpful to others to fill in the ‘Contact Us’ with your findings.

I don’t give the numbers here as some companies will get the free numbers removed.

Guest
SteveJ says:
7 July 2017

To add insult to injury, there’s also a massive access charge to pay when calling these numbers. And why is the access charge for 084 and 087 numbers higher than for premium rate 09 and 118 numbers?

Guest
SteveJ says:
17 July 2017

That was a semi-rhetorical question … but is there an explanation for the higher access charge on 084 and 087 numbers compared to 09 and 118 numbers?

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Guest

Steve have a look at : http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/phones/0870-say-no they are basically bigger money generators in the long run than expensive -118/09 numbers . I have a set price on all national calls /087/084/034 /etc numbers on my landline plan from BT –BT might be a bit dearer than some but its been good to me. Get back if this is not what you are after.

Guest
Ian says:
7 August 2017

Ofcom regulations require the Access Charge to be the same for all 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers. This has been the case since 1 July 2015. There should be no variation of Access Charge within any particular tariff. The only variation will be between different call plans and between different providers.

Guest
SteveJ says:
7 August 2017

The table of call charges at http://www.which.co.uk/money/money-saving-tips/saving-money/guides/cheap-alternatives-to-0870-and-0845-calls/how-much-will-you-pay-for-premium-rate-calls shows up to 55p for 084 and 087 numbers but only up to 45p for 09 numbers. Are you saying that is incorrect? Likewise for a number of other differences between those entries.

Guest

Ofcom’s has made a number of reforms to call charges over the last few years.

One such change means that, per-tariff, there is one rate covering calls to UK geographic numbers starting 01 and 02 and non-geographic numbers starting 03. If you see a price chart that shows inconsistent figures for some of those ranges, then the table is incorrect.

Likewise for the simplification of call charges to 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers. The regulations state that, per-tariff, the same Access Charge must apply across all of those number ranges. If you see a price chart that shows inconsistent figures for some of those ranges, then the table is incorrect.

This does not preclude the fact that some landline providers continue to offer inclusive calls to 0845 and 0870 numbers.

There are a large number of websites offering tables showing call charge details for various UK number ranges. The vast majority of those tables have numerous errors and many of them are years out of date. Most are also unresponsive to correcting errors.

Most of those charts also fail badly at explaining the role of inclusive call packages. This is now the normal way to pay for calls to ordinary landline and mobile numbers.

Guest
bishbut says:
8 August 2017

All companies will use dodgy methods to take your money if they believe they can get away with it Also some people do not care how much money they are throwing away at all Fool they are Fools and their money are easily parted