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Costly calls aren’t right – why TSB has ditched 0845 numbers

Phone cartoon

TSB is supporting Which?’s Costly Calls campaign to move away from high-rate numbers for their customers. Here’s TSB’s CEO Paul Pester on why TSB has switched to local rate 0345 numbers.

You shouldn’t have to pay extra for customer service when calling banks or other companies. It’s not right and customers should be able to get in touch with companies how they want without being penalised.

We want to talk to our customers, and want them to feel able to get in touch with us whichever way suits them best. But calls can be expensive, and research tells us 82% of Brits avoid calling their service providers because of high call charges. We don’t want our customers to feel this way and we know readers at Which? care about this issue.

At TSB we believe in fairness and transparency and this is why we have replaced all of our 0845 numbers with 0345 local rate numbers. 0345 numbers are included in inclusive minutes for both landlines and mobiles – so you can contact TSB on a local rate number from anywhere in Britain.

Supporting Which?’s Costly Calls campaign

We originally set out our commitment to replace 0845 numbers with 0345 numbers in February this year, supporting Which?’s Costly Calls campaign. Since then, we have prepared our systems and processes for the switchover to ensure a smooth transition for customers.

TSB is Britain’s only national bank to make this change in full. However, I was pleased to see that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – our regulator – has since announced that they will consult the rest of the financial industry to make customer calls more affordable.

I believe this is right and I am proud to say TSB is leading the way.

Spread the word

Our research shows that 94% of people aren’t aware that 0345 numbers are included in inclusive landline and mobile minutes, while 35% of people haven’t even come across a 0345 number before. So as well as introducing 0345 numbers, we also need to help ensure people understand what they are so that they can realise the full benefits.

So next time you are sharing money-saving tips with friends and family, do also share the news that 0345 numbers are treated the same as local rate numbers – whether that’s on social media or through everyday conversation.

Truth and transparency is key

And finally – we made a commitment to let our customers know how we operate and make money when we launched Truth and Banking – and we won’t make a single penny from 0345 calls!

If you think all companies should be more transparent or should introduce 0345 numbers, please let them know!

Comments
Member

Firsly, well done to TSB for making this move.

However, are you aware that if you google “TSB customer service phone number” there’s are dozens of sites listing expensive 0843 and 0872 numbers and they’re all different. Each one presumably owned by the website concerned and used to generate them money. To narrow down the search add 0843 to the search line.

Member
Paresh says:
30 April 2014

This is grt news, however call may cost more depending on how long you would have to wait in queue. Would be even better if it was an 0800 no.

Member

Hello, my name’s Caroyln Ferguson and I work with Paul. I’m the Telephony Director at TSB and I will help Paul answer some of the questions.

Paresh, thanks for your suggestion. 0345 numbers are included in inclusive minutes for both landlines and mobile phones, while 0800 numbers are not included in inclusive minutes for mobiles. We want to make sure everyone can call us on a local rate number from anywhere in Britain – not a high rate 0845 number. Thanks.

Member

Paul – As far as I know there is no such thing as a ‘local rate number’ these days and using this term could be confusing,

Member

The term local rate number should have been phased out in 2004. Some companies and phone providers should have been taken to task by ofcom if they still use them in advertising as the term is now misleading.

Member

Hello. 0345 numbers are treated in the same way as 01 and 02 numbers – this is what we mean by a ‘local rate number’. Our research shows that most people don’t know what 0345 means though, so please help spread the word! Thanks.

Member

Why 0345 numbers? They might be free at the moment but who knows what the future will hold for these numbers.

If companies want to be fair to their customers, then provide landline numbers as well as 0800 numbers.

First Direct provide a landline number which comes out of my monthly mobile allowance so I don’t have to worry about the cost.

Let’s face it, most of the time we contact customer services is because of a problem caused by the company …..and they expect us to pay for the privilege? (Sky comes to mind here)

Member

@alfa – 03 numbers were introduced as non-geographic numbers priced at a geographic rate. That is their raison d’être, so their future is certain.