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Calling 0845 and 0870 – how much does it cost you?

It should soon be free to call freephone numbers from mobiles. Not rocket science, you might think, but when it can cost as much to call an 0800 number as an 0870 one, something’s clearly in need of a shake up.

03, 0800, 0844, 0845, 0870, 0871, 09… That’s not, as you might think, a cryptic code, but just a selection of the UK’s ‘non-geographic’ calling codes – where the number isn’t linked to a geographic location, as with 01 and 02 numbers.

But when the cost of calling such numbers can vary hugely, and not just by the code itself but also depending on the phone service provider you’re calling from, it’s no wonder that Ofcom’s research shows that many of us are utterly confused. I know I am.

The cost of calling customer service

It’s difficult to escape calling non-geographic numbers. Many of the companies we need to contact – such as energy providers, banks or insurers – use these numbers for sales and customer service. So if you run into a problem – with your bill, or making an insurance claim, say – you’ll often have no choice but to call one.

This is an issue that past Which? Convo commenters have made their views clear on – but just how tough is it to understand how much you’ll pay?

The answer is – very. The cost of calling these numbers can vary greatly and charges are often as clear as mud, particularly if you’re calling from a mobile phone or a non-BT landline.

For example, calling a 0800 number from a landline is usually free, but calling from a mobile could cost you up to 40p per minute.

And while the widely-used 0845 can cost more than 10p a minute from some landlines, some providers include it alongside 01 and 02 minutes in their inclusive call packages. Don’t even get me started on 0844 and 0871 numbers.

In the dark over call costs

Many companies that use non-geographic numbers only advertise the cost of calling their number from a BT landline (often tucked away in the small print) but don’t give costs from other landline or mobile providers.

So, unless you have the time and inclination to scrutinise your phone provider’s complex price list – it’s likely that you’ll be completely in the dark about how much one of these calls will cost.

Ofcom has recommended that charges to 08, 09 and 118 numbers should be simplified. For example, it proposes that calls to 0800 numbers from a mobile would be free, just as they are from landlines. It also wants companies to offer clear and transparent information on charges for their customers.

At the moment, the chaotic and inconsistent pricing of numbers makes it impossible for consumers to predict the cost of calls, so we welcome Ofcom’s measures to simplify the system and increase transparency.

But we want to hear from you for a future magazine feature. Has the cost of calling, or the lack of transparency about charges, ever put you off calling a non-geographic number? And have you ever been shocked by how much it’s cost you to call a customer service line?

Are you baffled by the cost of non-geographic phone numbers, like 0845 or 0870?

Yes – I find the charges for these numbers really confusing (86%, 864 Votes)

Maybe - It depends on whether I’m calling from a landline or mobile (10%, 100 Votes)

No - I know exactly what every call I make will cost me (4%, 37 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,005

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Comments
Mike says:
30 May 2012

I have a telephone tariff under which local and national calls result in no further charge. I am highly suspicious of the 084- and 087- numbers suspecting that the organisations that use them receive commission from the telephone companies. I therefore try to avoid them as much as possible but am finding it increasingly difficult.

Mike

Your suspicions are fully justified. The telephone company originating calls to 084 and 087 numbers, pays on a “enhanced termination fee” of between the equivalent of 2p and 10p per minute. The user benefits from this either by a reduced (or zero) cost for use of the line as well as a cash-back (revenue share). In some cases the originating telephone company recovers this money from its customers in general (e.g. BT collects the money for calls to 0845 numbers out of its Call Plan subscriptions, so it can make these calls inclusive), but generally the cost is passed on to the caller – often with a sizeable mark-up..

There is more on this at www,fairtelecoms.org.uk.

My understanding is that telecomms providers can charge what they like on 0870 and 0845 as they are unregulated. Some choose to include the call charge in a tariff cost , but will still charge you a connection fee.
The 0843 and 0844 number ranges were released as regulated numbers as the telecomms provider can only charge you the pence per minute that the number was set up on. E.g. 084412345 could be set up on 3 pence per minute and that is the maximum you will be charged.
I personally don’t have an issue with dialling 0844 numbers if I am receiving a service. Its either that or premiums and costs are increased in other ways.

Rather than specific number ranges, it is the BT call prices for 084 and 087 numbers that are regulated and all other operator prices that are unregulated.

In choosing an 084 or 087 phone number number for their organisation, all such users impose a Service Charge on all callers (currently up to 5p/min on 084 numbers and up to 10p/min on 087 numbers – the exact amount depends on the first six digits of the phone number). This Service Charge is collected by the originating telecoms company and passed to the terminating telecoms company who may then go on to share some of it with the called party.

Except for 0845 numbers called from a BT line within an inclusive call package (where BT subsidise the Service Charge), the price for calling an 084 or 087 number is always the same or more than the Service Charge that originating network has to pass on to the terminating network. BT is currently regulated to charge no more than the Service Charge, which they pass on. Other operators can add whatever they like.

0870 is currently regulated (since 2009) such that no revenue share is allowed. 0870 is included in call packages unless the phone network opts out. Several landline networks and all mobile networks opted out. Revenue share will return to 0870 next year.

0845 currently has a revenue share Service Charge of about 2p/min. Even so, 0845 numbers are inclusive in BT landline packages due to a historical “accident” on BT’s part. BT subsidises these calls.

It is unlikely that 0845 and 0870 will remain inclusive once BT is allowed to add an Access Charge and once 0870 returns to revenue sharing. However, it won’t matter all that much as most businesses should by then have migrated to 0345 or 0370 numbers as required by the Bill on Consumer Rights that’s just about to pass through Parliament.

Hello everyone, you asked us to name and shame the big companies that use expensive phone numbers and praise the ones that don’t. So we’ve done just that for banks, insurers and energy providers. You can find this latest issue of Which? magazine, or in the following Conversation:

‘Stop charging loyal customers more to call your company!’ https://conversation.which.co.uk/money/premium-phone-numbers-loyal-customer-services/

Come and join in.

One of the great problems that this can of worms of differing prefixes causes is that one is often unsure what any call is going to cost.
I have been using the excellent 18185.co.uk service for many years, [and saved a small fortune doing so].
This company always tells you when you dial any number how much a minute it will cost you before connecting you – so you can hang up if you want – and know in advance what you are paying.

I still believe stongly that 0845 and 0870 etc etc numbers are scourge of modern telephony, but at least if it was a requirement that ALL companies provide a tariff announcement service for every call, it would become more transparent, and make it clear to all of the phoning public how much extra we are paying for the nonsensically named “Lo-call” numbers, and the straightforwardly rip-off premium numbers [which is what 0870/1 numbers are].

0845 numbers haven’t been “local”, “lo-call”, “low call” or any other such similar designation since 2004.

0870 numbers haven’t been “national rate” since 2004. The prices for geographic (01 and 02) calls were de-regulated long ago (and nowadays, 01 and 02 calls usually fall within an inclusive call bundle for most people).

0843, 0844, 0871 and 0872 have never been local or national rate. They are revenue share numbers and work exactly the same way that 09 premium rate numbers work (albeit with a smaller Service Charge).

Anyone still making “local” rate or similar claims for 084 and 087 numbers is in breach of Trading Standards regulations. Additionally, the Advertising Standards Authority can also take action.

LincsLass says:
14 August 2012

Just tried to call Halifax Customer Relations on their local Leeds Number-just got a number unobtainable signal from the two numbers i tried. So 0845 for 20 minutes…this rip off really annoys me.

robbers

Ribs aka says:
29 September 2012

I fully support any actions to break up or streamline premium call numbers. However, why are we as customers being charged a fee for doing business with any retail or other company?! If this is customer service, well then that speaks volumes. Coming from the US I found it a rather shocking practice, as most businesses then provide 0800 free numbers (some even allow you to ‘call collect’ – or reverse charges), all to facilitate new or continued business. Why should we even need to find an alternative number or ‘cost analyzer’ in the first place?

Ofcom is indeed moving to ensure that the “Service Charge” element of the cost of calling all “premium call numbers”, including 084, is made clear. There is however a further move, to which Which? has failed to draw attention, although I have sought to do so in the conversation at https://conversation.which.co.uk/money/premium-phone-numbers-loyal-customer-services/.

The Department for Business is currently consulting on proposals to implement the EU Consumer Rights Directive (see http://www.bis.gov.uk/Consultations/consultation-implementation-consumer-rights-directive). This includes a provision to prohibit use of telephone numbers which are subject to a “Service Charge”. The scope of this provision is open to consultation – the fair telecoms campaign will be doing all we can to ensure that it covers as many businesses and service providers as possible.

Our hope is that an awareness of this regulatory provision will help to stimulate a culture change, perhaps ahead of its implementation. Even though government bodies and agencies, e.g. HMRC and DWP, and NHS providers will not be covered, they will be hard pressed to justify the imposition of a Service Charge which is prohibited for customer contact with businesses.

The UK environment is a little different to that in the US, as most people pay no call charge to call “normal” (01/02/03) numbers. This makes the extra revenue for the telephone companies earned from use of 080 numbers unnecessary (in most cases).

Sarah says:
18 October 2012

I had to contact the jobcentre to change my appointment. They now use an 0845 number and i cant phone my branch direct. As cant afford a landline i had to use my mobile. Spent 60 pence them was but off just as someone answered. Not including there numbers as free or cheap hits vulnerable people hard.

Rach says:
1 February 2013

So after booking a holiday with teletext holidays direct on Monday, I’ve received my invoice. I was advised that the £337 each that me and my friend paid includes transfers. There is only 1 transfer on the invoice not 2. I rang Thursday evening when I got home from work. Now I dnt have a landline at the moment as its not cost effective for me till my contracts are up on my mobile and mobile broadband. 35p/min to be placed on hold for 40 minutes and then be cut off. I emailed instead as I can’t really afford another £14 for nothing to wake up to a delayed delivery notification. So here I am, hand forced to call again when they open at 9am to get my holiday sorted, and no doubt another long call that I can barely afford. It’s disgusting

Alen Alderton says:
12 April 2013

it is absolutely disgusting that we the consumer are ripped off in this way and the government has done nothing of significance to change it. here is a link to a petition that will be sent to the UK Government that could force all companies to add geographical numbers to any other number they use, that way we consumers have a choice as to how much we spend on a call to a company, please sign this link that is on a government site. http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/39860

Alen

The fair telecoms campaign shares and seeks to reflect your disgust, however we note that Ofcom and the government are in the course of doing something about it.

Ofcom introduced the 03 range for those who need the features of non-geographic numbers, but do not wish to impose a Service Charge on callers. Ofcom will shortly be announcing details of the regulations which will require the value of the Service Charge to be declared wherever it applies. Implementation of the provisions of the Consumer Rights Directive will prohibit use of 084/087/09 numbers in many cases.

HMRC is in the course of moving all of its numbers from 0845 to 03 – this will be completed by “the end of the summer”. We oppose the demand of the e-petition that each of these should have a geographic alternative, as this is clearly unnecessary. Likewise, we argue that the DWP agencies, and other public bodies, should follow the HMRC lead. We wholly disagree with the suggestion that 0845 numbers should be retained by public bodies.

Whilst we fully expect “consumer choice” to be the watchword in this Conversation, we are opposed to public bodies and their contractors (e.g. NHS GPs) offering inferior access options through geographic numbers. We do not believe that NHS patients should “get what they pay for”, that is not the basis on which the NHS exists.

Where the provisions of the Consumer Rights Directive apply, consumers will be denied the opportunity to pay for an expensive first class telephone complaints service, as an alternative to that which is provided without a Service Charge. I understand that you and other consumer activists may oppose this lack of consumer choice (of “how much we spend on a call to a company”), however we believe that the principle of fairness is more important in this case.

David – fair telecoms campaign

Yes, I’d rather see companies retain the call queueing and other features and move completely from 084 and 087 numbers over to 03 numbers than offer in parallel an 01 number that is always engaged.

03 numbers benefit more callers as they are also inclusive in call packages on mobiles and landlines wherever 01 and 02 numbers are inclusive.

Jonathan says:
2 June 2014

While 03 numbers finally seem to be a fair version of a non-geographic number, in reality 01 and 02 numbers are also non-geographic these days – in the world of Voice-over-IP (VoIP) Internet telephony, the majority of big businesses and many small ones route their call centre phone calls via the internet.

It is not uncommon for an 0207 number to connect you directly to a call centre in India or where ever – not via a ‘call divert’ feature, but by simply having a VoIP system logged in in India to provide the end-point for that number. It’s likely that if you call an 0207 VoIP number that your provider will initiall switch your call through to a London-based telephone exchange, by that exchange will know it’s a virtual number and then connect your call to the internet to be recevied by who-ever in the world is registered and logged in to that number.

In essence, there is absolutely no reason why an 03 number would be better than an 01/02 number in terms of being engaged. It is not the number which makes a difference, it is whether or not the company you are calling is using the right equipment to provide call queuing features and whether they actually have enought people to answer the calls.

Personally, I’d give a big vote to outlawing all non-geographic numbers. They are not only a big rip-off for consumers but a gimick to make business owners believe that having a local number is somehow unprofessional or limiting. I know a few who insist on operating an 0845 number because they’ve been duped into believing that it enhances the credibility of their business.

Jonathan is correct in stating that some blocks of 01/02 numbers are technically “non-geographic” whilst appearing to be geographic.

This conversation is primarily about cost – so we must be clear that this is determined by the number, regardless of where the call is physically terminated.

We cannot support Jonathan’s suggestion that all premium rate services and 0800 numbers be outlawed. It also seems unnecessary to always know where someone you are talking to is located. On a personal basis, I am more concerned about the cost (if any) and quality of a telephone conversation than the digits of the number and other irrelevant issues.

Jonathan says:
2 June 2014

Sorry David of Fair Telecoms Campaign – I didn’t mean to include 0800 and true premium rate services in my ‘should be outlawed’ statement – only the likes of 084x and 087x
And yes, it’s very important to make clear that 01/02 numbers will cost the same regardless of where they terminate. My point was mostly in response to what ‘fonetic’ said about preferring an 03 number with a queuing system as opposed to an 01 number that is always engaged – i.e it need not be like that at all.

Free 0800 numbers are a sore point for me as being a Vodafone customer I am charged 14p/min (soon to RISE to 20.4p/min) for calling them. In fact, I have now registered with 18185 so I can use my inclusive minutes to ring 18185’s geographic access number and then ring the 0800 number for free – but it shouldn’t have to be like this.

Unfortunately, since adopting 18185 as a strategy for saving on non-geographic costs I have discovered that they do not recognise/support calling 0844/0843 numbers so I have to pay 35p/min to call such numbers – this will also rise to 40p/min on 28th June as part of Vodafone’s price hike on domestic calling charges to subsisidise their meager cuts to European roaming prices. (I’ve been a Vodafone customer since the late 90’s but I’m about to use my right to cancel and go elsewhere – this price hike is not the only reason but its most certainly a catalyst).

Could you give me a brief explanation of why you think we need any phone numbers that could result in a caller being charged more than for calling an 01 number, David? If there is a need to pay for a service then that can be done by card or other means. As you know only too well, having premium numbers has allowed consumers to be exploited for years.

I acknowledge that you know more about this than I do, but I would like it to be illegal to incorporate any form of service charge on top of the cost of making the call.

@Jonathan, can you give examples of which companies use 0843 numbers. as I’m only aware of them being used by scam sites which put them forward as other companies customer service numbers ( and there are alot of those in the internet) 🙁

Energy companies mostly have 0800 numbers yet you’ll find websites listing 0843 number for them still. Even the muppets at ITV news were listing 0843 numbers for them and its taken me 3 months and 8 emails to get them to correct it.

Jonathan says:
2 June 2014

@william – Kindertons Accident Management: 0843 509 4900
The irony is that I was a witness to a road accident recently and they wanted me to call them to give a statement to help their client – so as a nice person who is offering his time to help a completely innocent vehicle owner claim against a drunk driver who smashed into his parked vehicle late at night, I am expected to pay premium rates!

In fact I was unaware until looking at this today that 0843 slips into Vodafone’s 35p/min band along with 0870 and *not* in the 14p/min band with 0800/0845. It was all rather convenient for this company that on each attempt to call them I had to listen to a list of about 8 options, then hold, then wait in a queue and was then cut off each time someone answered. Eventually I called successfully using a landline at work but not until I had spent at least £2 trying to call them!

Ah ok, thanks for the reply, and I can feel your pain from here.

Wavechange’s question about the benefits of including service charges as part of the cost of a telephone call, rather than a separate arrangement raises interesting points.

Some services delivered by telephone have to be paid for – e.g. chat lines, competitive directory enquiry services, information services (e.g. horoscopes) and assistance services beyond the scope of normal customer service. There is obviously a convenience in the caller paying for these according to the duration of the call and through their telephone bill. It is also arguable that there should be the opportunity for some to obtain a modest subsidy of the cost of handling telephone calls at the expense of the caller (i.e. through low-rate service charges – up to 13p per minute on 084/087 numbers – the higher rates on 09 numbers would generally be paying for the service provided in full).

Two developments should alleviate most concerns about the present arrangements. Firstly, traders who offer telephone contact will be required to offer “basic rate” numbers (i.e. with no service charge) to customers. Secondly, all Service Charges will have to be declared by the provider of the service – the amount added by the telephone company, to give the total call cost, being declared separately.

Notwithstanding failure to comply and particular improprieties, I believe that if a service is offered at a declared price so that the prospective customer knows what they are choosing to buy and what they will be charged, one cannot raise any general objection. I believe that, when faced with the requirement to declare the service charge, most present users of 084 numbers will desist. This is what has, in part, driven the government guidance and the drafting of the regulation on traders. We will see more over the next twelve months before the “unbundled tariff” comes into effect and following its implementation.

If the present abuse of expensive numbers is not largely eliminated by this move, then we will need to think again. Ofcom will however need very strong evidence to provide a basis for withdrawing a facility that is widely used and seems to have merit.

I hope these comments are helpful.

Paul Kupham says:
30 May 2013

I have just been charged 9 pounds to ring HsBC bank and then Credit Experia. These calls were both less than 20minutes. This extremely unfair since membership has to be cancelled by telephone with Credit Expedia it cost me 9 pounds in call charges to do it. Why are companies allowed to charge and still share revenue for telephone calls with these numbers. the numbers were 0844 and 0845 numbers.
There should be some control over this. the calls are made regarding bank accounts here in UK they are diverted to call centres with staff paid minimum wages often in countries out of the tax juristiction of the UK. There is a lot of money being made by banks and companies out of normal people in this way and minimum tax is probably being paid on it. How come if i default on my poll tax i will get a letter threatening a visit from the Balifs in one month (if i was on holiday even) . yet all the time these phone scams are going on and millions is being paid. i have to make business cals at work to banks during day time and i cant use the office phone for private calls. this is out of order 9 pounds for such short calls and even 10 per minute if you do use a landline.

Paul of Laxey says:
16 August 2013

In my view the worst thing about these numbers is the time you can spend ‘on hold’ paying xxp per minute to listen to music and messages such as ‘your call is important to us’

Yesterday I was on hold for 15 minutes at 10p per minute, I then gave up.

Opodo have a premium rate number of £1.00 per minute for techincal problems with their Website. So they charge you £1.00 per minute for their problems.

If there is no one to answer the call, keep the ringing tone on the line, that way the customer only starts paying once the call is actually answered. In my view that should be law,

Vivid images says:
18 September 2014

The likes of 0891 0845 etc charge your mobile even if you don’t answer it. WHY?

I don’t believe this is true.

Vivid images says:
19 September 2014

Wavechan,went into EE this morning (Friday)and asked them why they charge even if I don’t answer it,there reply was,it’s the connection to your phone. I told them it was a disgrace and time to get rid of it.next time you receive one of these calls,check your phone calls,it has phone to your own.If you still don’t believe it,go into your mobile operator and ask them why they charge.

Can you find anything about these charges online and post a link, please? There is plenty of information about charges for receiving calls when abroad.

Vivid images says:
20 September 2014

I am unable to find anything online,However I am not here to argue with you. If you don’t believe it,fine. I know the likes of EE charge for unanswering 0891 numbers etc. They have told me themselves.

If there is any serious basis for this remarkable allegation, then the fair telecoms campaign will be determined to see it properly investigated and stopped.

There is no reason why either party should be charged for an unanswered telephone call. A (voice) call is only made when it is answered, either in person or by some automated mechanism.

Informal comments made by representatives, perhaps based on a misunderstanding, do not count for anything. Charges on a mobile phone bill for incoming calls, regardless of the source, must be improper, except when roaming overseas.

If anyone has any relevant information on this matter, please contact the fair telecoms campaign.

Vivid images says:
20 September 2014

David,the charges made for unanswering a phone call are dispicable. I,myself would love to hear from anyone with any relevance to this matter. As you say,it is a remarkable allegation and I could barely believe it myself but it is very true.

I use 18185 for most of my calls, but they have stopped supporting numbers beginning 03, and it’s proving impossible to contact them to ask why. This means I would have to use BT at exorbitant cost, so I just don’t call them. If I can find an email address I use that instead. Anyone else had this experience?

If you are paying ‘exorbitant charges’ to ring 01, 02 and 03 numbers, this suggests you are on the wrong call plan.

Most people call 01, 02 and 03 numbers within an inclusive allowance of calls. If you have an Anytime plan, there is no individual charge for each call made, unless the call exceeds 60 minutes.

If you currently have the BT Weekend plan, be aware that BT charges 9p per minute plus 15p per call to call 01, 02 and 03 numbers in the daytime on weekdays. This is an out of plan penalty charge.

If you make more than about 30 minutes per month of chargeable calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers on weekdays, you will be better off using the BT Home Phone Saver plan. This costs £19.99 per month and includes BT Line Rental and Anytime Calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers. Calls to mobile phones are 6p per minute. Calls to 0845/0870 numbers are also included but will be rarely needed.

Most retailers, traders, passenger transport companies, government departments, public services, healthcare services and banks are abandoning 084 and 087 numbers in favour of 03 numbers

Getting the best deal on your phone is now all about getting the best deal with Anytime inclusive calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers. Call prices for 084 and 087 numbers are now largely irrelevant.

Leigh Vamessage. says:
28 November 2014

No need to pay exorbitant rates if your a low user get a cheap mobile put either a 3 payg or Delight Mobile Payg Sim in it and make calls to 01/02/03 numbers at 3p a minute,no connection,no admin fee, no rental. 3 payg requires a 3g phone. Delight can be used on 2g phone.Delight runs over the ee network.

AEO Dai - Coastal Command says:
19 March 2015

Hi,

Forgive me lads & lasses, I simply wish to preamble my earlier status as a communicator ( Morse Code linked with Cryptographic Technology) in an endeavour to prove I’mnot entirely ‘still up the tree!’

Yes, you will all snigger behind those iPads and Samsung Inter Galactic Pre Bankruptcy kits, when you recall this Dinosaur used to place one old penny into a box, and only when connected, press button ‘A’ to make payment for the connection. If there was no answer to the ‘Burr, Burr’ you simply replaced the receiver, and pressed ‘Button B’. Bingo, your penny was returned.

Oh Yes, please remember, you were enclosed in a wind and rain proof enclosure – beloved by so many homeless in the 1930’s. Usually complete with telephone directory of the local area.

Sure, after a military career, and a subsequent Aerospace extension of same, I find myself unable to understand the telephone communication industry ‘one-jot’. Yes, approaching 80 years of age does not help, but, the young know – only too well, you can never teach an old dog, new tricks. How many are there like me, who haven’t a clue about the ‘charging regimes’ that exist under every so called ‘simple tarriff.

I will say this. When the government sold frequency spectrum, for the vast amounts of money raised, they knew exactly what the VAT revenues might be, and couldn’t wait for the technology to establish the rivers of revenue.

Meanwhile, back to the Virgin Media Broadband that was made available to me, because of the bloody fibre optic cable. We are frightened to use the phone during the day, not until 1900 hrs. Of course, there are the small emergencies, which rapidly eat into the intended purchases for the Sunday Lunch – or whatever surplus an OAP Pension can support. My Wife, just sitting quietly knitting, whilst I read the life of Aneurin Bevan. Who wants to be called during the ‘The Archers!’ Branson must be losing his marbles!. The sooner he tries another Oceanic Crossing, the better.

I suspect if you filled the Millenium Stadium with over 65’s, none of them would understand, who, was robbing them, and, why it was being condoned by government.

One last question. What was the return to shareholders – for the whole mobile phone sector?

Cobs says:
27 April 2015

I just received a letter from SKY saying OFCOM have told them to CHARGE customers calling 08 and 09 numbers 10p per minute – this is on TOP of any call price to 08 and 09 numbers, the letter also states Mobile Phone companies have been instructed to do the same thing!!!

Arent these calls supposed to be FREE now????? Arent you SICK of the GREED on display since these EU parties decided to run Britain like China? No brains on how to create Industry and Commerce so they twiddle their thumbs looking for more ways to extract money from us Brits whilst giving OUR future to MILLIONS of EU Immigrants – oh yes they want Britain like China alright – you living on a bowl of rice a day whilst they like like KINGS!!!

Ian says:
19 May 2015

Nice rant but you haven’t grasped the stick, let alone the wrong end of it.

There are now three types of non-geographic number:

080 – calls are free from landlines and (from 1 July 2015) from mobiles.

030, 033, 034, 037 – calls are charged at the same rate as calling 01 and 02 numbers and count towards inclusive allowances on landlines and on mobiles. This has been the case since 2007.

084, 087, 090, 091, 098, 118 – calls costs have two components, an Access Charge which is the cost of making the call and a Service Charge which is paid to the benefit of the called party and their telecoms provider and is their charge for providing the service.

The forthcoming changes bring transparency to the call costs for 084, 087, 090, 091 and 098 numbers and make inappropriate usage much easier to spot. If an organisation isn’t providing a chargeable service they should not be using a number with a Service Charge.

Ofcom’s changes mandate no specific changes of price – either up or down.

Jenny says:
21 June 2015

I appreciate the points you have made but surely the real problem for many people and small businesses is that the 0845 and 0870 calls which were previously included in our bundle for landlines will no longer be included from 1st July. The monthly bundle price is not being reduced, but all 0845 and 0870 calls (previously free) will have this new two component charge.

Ian says:
6 August 2015

Since 13 June 2014, retailers, traders and passenger transport companies have been required to use 01, 02, 03 or 080 numbers for post sales helplines.

Financial services, including banks and insurance companies, will shortly be required to use 01, 02, 03 or 080 numbers for contact from existing customers.

In December 2013, government departments, public services and other bodies funded by government were advised to use numbers starting 01, 02, 03 or 080.

The Department of Health advised NHS bodies and amended the GMS or PMS contracts of GPs to ban the use of 087 and 09 numbers in 2005 and extended this to cover 084 numbers in 2010.

Nowadays, there should be almost no need to be calling 084 or 087 numbers. Most organisations have moved to 03 numbers.

There are no specific regulations for sales and enquiry lines other than the requirement to declare the applicable Service Charge everywhere the number is advertised. Faced with these additional charges, potential customers are free to take their business elsewhere.

As Ian has mentioned the call charges are not being changed in either direction asa result of ofcoms recent mandate.

This is more about ensuring that callers are aware that they may have to pay a service charge and that this service charge is clearly stated when calling an 08 number.

Government organisations and soon most financial institutions will have to adopt 0345 Numbers that callers can use, and these calls are treated ine the same way an 01 and 02 numbers meaning that these calls will be within your inclusive minutes allowance if you are using a mobile.

It is the 03 number set that is to be used when you have inclusive minutes and don’t want to incur additional charges http://www.0345-numbers.uk/call-cost/0345-mobile-costs-chargeable/

The only organisations that can use 0345 numbers are those that are already using the matching 0845 number.

All users of 084 and 087 numbers have the option to migrate to the matching 034 or 037 number, e.g. 0844 becomes 0344 and 0870 becomes 0370.

Calls to 03 numbers are ‘inclusive’ (never ‘free’) else charged at ‘geographic rate’. There has been no ‘local rate’ since 2004.

So in Dec 2014 Ofcom announced changes to come into affect 1st July 2015 basically meaning that the access and service costs for calling these numbers should be displayed.

Companies had 18 months notice. Yet when you complain to the ASA about breaches of this rule, The ASA will only write to the companies giving them a further 3 weeks to change. You’ll notice Sky have received such a letter. hehe

Why not just send them a huge fine now, they’ve had 18 months. And if you don’t complain to the ASA there’s nothing stopping companies from changing.

Our regulators are a joke.

While the general principles of the new system were announced in December 2013, the individual Service Charge details didn’t become available until much more recently. Some were available at the very end of 2014, others not until May or June 2015.

Some telecoms providers appear to have been very lax in communicating the details out to service providers. There are still a few number ranges for which the Service Charge is unknown.

Giving a non-compliant organisation three weeks to fix things seems very reasonable. At the end of the day, the most important thing is getting the correct cost declaration added or, preferably, changing their number so that a Service Charge is no longer imposed.

How do I go about making a complaint for a charge that I feel was incorrect? I called a Government organisation using the number on the last letter that they had sent me in August this number started 0845 and I was charged for the duration of the call, however since looking into call charges I have found that the company also use an 0300 telephone number and that this would have been free had I used it.

As I understand it, and based on this http://0300-numbers.com/2015/11/are-0300-numbers-free/ the numbers were changed on 1 July 2015 although the 0845 still worked and made no mention of the change at the time.