Now might not be the best time to call 0845 and 0870 numbers – calling them from mobile phones has increased by as much as 100%.
It’s a good job most companies have been banned from using pricey 084 and 087 numbers for their customer service lines (thanks to our Costly Calls campaign), because calling them from your mobiles is now even more expensive.
New scheme hikes your phone bill
Ofcom’s new ‘UK Calling’ scheme splits revenue-sharing calls into an access charge (set by the phone provider) and a service charge (set by the company you’re calling) to try and make things clearer.
But there’s a downside – the cost of calling 0845 and 0870 numbers has significantly increased on many phone networks. In fact, some mobile phone providers have upped their call charges by more than 100%, according to our research.
Take Vodafone as an example. It increased charges in August for revenue-sharing numbers to 45p per minute, plus a service charge. Compare that to June, when customers would have paid just 14p per minute to call 0845 and 0870 numbers.
Vodafone told us:
‘We informed all customers of these changes, and any impacted by more than 10% [of their total bill] were entitled to cancel their agreement without penalty.’
O2 is also guilty of hiking the cost of these calls – from 20.4p per minute in June to 45p per minute, plus a service charge in August. And Three is raising its charges from 25p to 45p in November.
Nothing good about calling 0845/0870
Most landline providers we looked at have set their access charge for calls that aren’t included as part of a package to within a couple of pence of their previous charges for calling 0845/0870.
Yet once you add the service charge on top (up to 7p per minute for 0845 and up to 13p per minute for 0870), the cost of calling these phone numbers will often be significantly more from landlines as well.
And some companies, such as TalkTalk and Utility Warehouse, have even scrapped inclusive calls to 0845 and 0870 numbers in reaction to UK Calling.
Have you already been stung by the new call charges to these numbers?