/ 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

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.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

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

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!

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

This comment was removed at the request of the user

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

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!!!

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

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.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

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

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.

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!

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.

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!

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.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Robert Ashby says:
23 March 2017

Campbells Meat. 0844 573 8456

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.

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 :

Thanks, that is very helpful.

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

David, if you enter your number in:
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.