Today the new Consumer Contracts Regulations come into effect. This includes a new law that prohibits most companies from using pricey phone numbers for customer lines. But is everyone sticking to the rules?
When I’m not at home, there are few things that annoy me more than being charged as much as 41p a minute to call an 0845 number from my mobile phone, simply to complain to a company about something I’d bought – and then to be put on hold for 20 minutes.
Back in 2013, we launched a campaign to put an end to companies charging customers excessively for calling customer services. Loads of you told us that you were fed up with receiving shockingly high phone bills because you’d been charged a small fortune for calling an 084 or 087 number.
Thanks to the 89,000 people who supported the campaign, last December the Government announced how it would implement a new law – the Consumer Rights Directive – that would ban companies from using numbers that charged more than the basic rate for their customer service or complaints lines. Today is a day we should recognise, because today that law comes into force as part of the Consumer Contracts Regulations.
So what’s changed?
Since we started our campaign against expensive phone numbers, plenty of companies have listened. We lobbied hard for travel companies to be included under the new legislation, and even before the Government had responded, Jet2 had changed from using a pricey 09 number to a mixture of 0800 and 03 numbers.
Most companies now aren’t allowed to use 084 or 087 numbers like they were before, and lots have already changed to comply with the new law. But there could be some firms who haven’t yet. If you’ve spotted any, please let us know below.
Are all companies going to stop using 0845 numbers?
It’s worth pointing out that this new legislation doesn’t cover public bodies or financial services. Although the financial regulator is planning to bring those firms into line thanks to our campaign, many banks have already set a good example. Barclays (and Barclaycard), RBS, TSB and now First Direct have all announced that they’re dropping 0845 numbers. Most Government departments have also switched to cheaper 03 numbers.
There’s no doubt that your support for our Costly Calls campaign has helped bring about significant change, and although today is a landmark day, there’s probably quite a few companies still using 084 numbers when they shouldn’t be.
So if you spot a company that’s still using an 084 or 087 number when you don’t think they should be, name check them in the comments below. If they’re not complying with the new law, we’ll let them know about it.