/ Technology

Are all companies abiding by new costly call rules?

Red phone

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.

Comments
bishbut says:
9 October 2017

The so called watchdogs are useless ,toothless as well!

Jon Barnes says:
30 October 2017

ATG Tickets use an 0844 number.

See website: http://www.atgtickets.com/customer-care/contact-us/

This page says:
“Contact Us
If you have an enquiry, please check our Customer Service section for answers to the most frequently asked questions. Hopefully this will help you through every stage of your online booking process.

To call our Customer Services team:

UK Customers: 0844 871 7615 (Calls cost 7p per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge)”

When you call the 0844 number they state that they do not use premium rate numbers – but my mobile operator charges 27p perminute for calls to this number.

Robin Sorrell says:
28 January 2018

We recently had a car accident and had to call Hastings direct to report it. Just looked and have £31 + vat of phone calls. All the numbers on our insurance certificate are premium rate. Go on there Web site it’s normal numbers. So when your in the worst place they take advantage. I’m disgusted. Don’t know who to complain to or if I have a right to. They put you on hold for ages and no mention of it being a premium rate number.
0844 561 1417 to report accident.
0844 800 4585 for existing claims.
I truly thought they had done away with all these expensive numbers

Customer services and complaints lines should be free to call, but accident reporting and claims lines are allowed to charge. It keeps the cost of premiums down because only those who use the facility have to pay for it. I think it is unfair if companies profit from it, however.

Robin, your friend is:
https://www.saynoto0870.com/search.php

Both your numbers are listed in the unverified database with geographical or freephone numbers so may or may not work, but worth a try. If you get a switchboard, ask to be put through to your department. Sometimes they oblige, other times they don’t.

If they definitely work or don’t work, it helps others if you report them by going to Contact Us (top right), select Correct/Incorrect Number and fill in the details.

It is February 2018 and Ransom Spares https://www.ransomspares.co.uk is still using 0844 4999111

DHL still use 0844 number for customer services. Ended up paying 72p per minute!

William Broad says:
8 March 2018

An on-line horticultural company called Gardening Express, based in Chelmsford, Essex is still using 0844 number for Customer Service.

Linsey says:
23 April 2018

BES utilities are using 0844 and I’ve just found out that 2 phonecalls to them complaining about a bill that I’d been vastly overcharged for has cost me around £24 on my mobile phone! I’m very annoyed. £24 for 2 phonecalls that didn’t last all that long!

lukman says:
16 May 2018

ParkMobile UK certainly aren’t…. their “motorist helpdesk” number starts with 0845… it’s the only number I could find for them and now have a silly phone bill 🙁

tamara abu says:
12 July 2018

Hollywood bowl still uses an 0844 number. When you call to make a booking for an event you have to call that number and spend ages before someone speaks to you .
An absolute rip off

Alan Wilson says:
19 November 2018

Buyspares use an 0844 number. Only realised when I got a £15 bill for calling them. Most of which was spent on hold.

The company is complying with the law by having a cheaper number for existing customers:

Sales 0844 557 5575
Customer Services 0333 400 5575

It costs money to provide advice but it’s hardly fair to use a premium number and keep people on hold. The alternative of ‘live chat’ is provided but I would like to nominate this as the least efficient way of communication. 🙁

Mary Boyle says:
7 February 2019

I have been trying to contact Landmark Information since the 4th (Monday)regarding a Envirosearch Residential. I received a message saying someone would respond within 2 days and suggesting l phone on 0844 844 9966. I know this is a high rate premium number. As l haven’t heard from them l emailed again today and received a similar message. I find this very annoying as There is no guarantee that l wouldn’t be holding for some time before l would speak to someone and maybe not the right person.