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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
A Strong says:
30 June 2015

Eurotunnel are still using an 0844 number for their 24 hour (recorded) telephone information service -this number gives essential information regarding travel disruption etc. (vital at the moment given the French ferry workers strike and the blockade of Calais). Calling this number from a mobile is VERY expensive and is the only option when travelling to the Tunnel. Eurotunnel state that they comply with the new requirements by providing a 0345 number for “post-sale and any other queries” -however this number does not provide access to the 24 hour recorded service and when I called it took over 30 mins. for the call to be answered and I was then told I “must call the 0844 to get travel information” -when I complained I was told that Eurotunnel had taken legal advice and they were “technically compliant” by providing the 0345 number. It seems extraordinary that Eurotunnel can make money from it’s customers in this way, by forcing them to call an expensive 0844 number!

Graham White says:
3 July 2015

Parcel force Worldwide now have 0344 numbers but these can’t be accessed from abroad which is rather pathetic for a company with “worldwide” in their name. Could not find another number for them anywhere. Was totally unable to resolve an issue over a parcel as couldn’t phone them from Crete. When I emailed them they just sent me the same number to phone. Truly bad customer service.

Angelo georghiou says:
16 July 2015

Eon are still charging . An access charge and a service charge 0844417538 charged me a fortune and this was the 6/7/15 . Why are the still doing this ???????????

Lee says:
3 August 2015

Last night I was forced to call 0844 8444448 in order to obtain breakdown service from OneCall Insurance Services. This is also their claims number and 33p per minute from my mobile.

Also annoyed that when I renewed I was told basic breakdown cover was thrown-in with the policy. When I called at 3am with a flat battery this morning, I was informed that before they would attend, I had to pay £20 excess and this was not mentioned when I renewed.

Lee says:
3 August 2015

I have a Barclays portable PDQ for business card transactions. It is a card terminal with a SIM Card inside allowing it to be used anywhere.

A little annoying they supply such a device for mobile use, yet when needing support I am forced to call 0844 88116666 which no other alternative. I have had ongoing issues with the terminal and account for 3 months and currently at £30 in calls I have been charged.

They are offering to cover the costs but thought that Financial services fell under new rulings and these number are being stopped?

33p from a mobile.

Ian Chandler says:
7 August 2015

Honeywell Security are still operating an 0844 number – 0844 8000 235 – for all customer service calls concerning their burglar alarms and other devices. We have been stung for a fearful amount when we had to ring up to sort out a problem with our alarm – including time waiting in a queue and holding on while we fixed the fault, when the solution could really have been explained to us very succinctly. Not only that, but the problem really sprung from woefully inadequate instructions included with the equipment.

seb414 says:
19 August 2015

BES Utilities 0844 5678 427. There is no other way to contact them and they can take 30 minutes to answer the phone!!???

colin bingham says:
26 August 2015

Thomas cook airlines & HTC customer service still using 08 numbers

Thanks for sharing – and to seb414 and Ian too. We’ll investigate and follow this up with the companies.

Hi

T-Mobile still use 0845 number on http://ee.co.uk/help/get-in-touch [ T-Mobile -> Calling from abroad or with another provider? ]

I have switched from T-mobile and hence cannot use their on network number 150 .

When I called Citizen’s advise bureau, they asked me to complaint to the Telecoms ombudsman.

When I complained to the Telecoms ombudsman, T-Mobile responded that its a business decision to use 0845 number and to ask for it to be changed is a CLASS-ACTION complaint that is not under the remit of Telecoms ombudsman.

So basically the Citizen’s advise points me to Telecoms ombudsman, and the Telecoms ombudsman will not look at it! Also when I call OfCom they say they don’t look at individual complaints….!!!

Where should I go ??????

Why is T-MOBILE allowed to take a BUSINESS DECISION to BREAK the LAW… in this country ..!

The Citizen’s Advice national Consumer Helpline on 0345 404 0506 is the correct place to report this and they should pass the information to the relevant local Trading Standards department.

Your local CA Bureau will likely not have a clue about this matter. Don’t bother with them.

Debenhams – 0844-8008877. Had to call this to resolve a returns issue where they had refunded only 2 out of 3 items, so we have to pay for their mistakes!!

Dave Hughes says:
26 October 2015

Photo-Me website (http://www.photo-me.co.uk/consumers/id-information/) using 0845 as main contact number. I told them it was illegal and they said it wasn’t !!

andybell@fsmail.net says:
3 November 2015

fox wardrobes have an 0844 number 0844 8119112 and nothing lese. went to complain and had to pay a lot for the privilege. Not hapoy.

They are entitled to use an 0844 number for sales calls but they MUST state the service charge, which you will pay on top of the access charge made by your phone company.

They MUST give an alternative number for customer service and complaints.

Richard has said in the introduction that Which? will look into companies that don’t play by the rules.

Phoned Domestic and General for a repair under insurance policy their policy says calls charged up tp 5p a minute from BTlandline . Kept on hold most times for2 calls it was over 60 mins before call answered after eleven calls later my phone bill has just arrived from BT so it was eleven calls total 2.44 hours cost £27.26 after they say 5p minute phoned BT only to be told there is a service charged of 10.24 per minute added to the 5p no mention of this on paper work have mentioned this to Domestic and General customer services dont seem to care but it is misleading i thought i was paying 5p per minute

An alarm company called Southern Monitoring Services is still using their 0844 number at 7p per minute.

To make matters worse, I suspect them of abusing their customers to make money out of them by getting them to ring them back on the 0844 number. Alarms were supposedly ‘tripped’ during the daytime when the business is actually open/trading and no alarm is set! They then don’t ring the business, no… they ring the ‘keyholders’ on their registered home numbers! Chances are the key holders are not home during the day (duh!) they are at work!

Anyway, if this could be investigated it would be highly appreciated.

The Charles Hurst BMW motorcycle dealership in Belfast is using 0844 numbers which on EE appear to cost 50p per minute – 44p to EE and 6p to CharlesHurst. In fact Charles Hurst is a big motor group in Northern Ireland and it seems to be using 0844 numbers for all its branches – Nissan is an exception I saw on their web site. They used to use 0289 numbers and 50p a minute is a disgrace but to do it on a scale of the Hurst group is a scandal for me. The only problem is that their motorcycle dealership is the only one for BMW in Northern Ireland so you are somewhat captive! Enough to make you buy Honda!

Steve says:
9 February 2016

Viking still use 0844 numbers – they were very confused when I asked what the new number was.

JBW Group, Darlington (debt collectors of the London Congestion Charge) are still using an 0844
number with no sign of any other number on their website. The number they provide is 0844 576
3620. After a bit of googling and a phone call to another of their businesses I found they can
also be contacted on 01324 469 164. I had even checked for their alternative number on
http://www.ukphonebook.com but could only find the 0844 number listed. It was only by luck that JBW had
another business advertised that I could contact as a way of finding out their standard number
for the business I wanted to contact. It’s bad enough that so many people have to pay inflated
charges when they fail to adhere to payment deadlines of the congestion charge without being
ripped off by the cost of the calls to deal with the matter. JBW Group have gone out of their
way to conceal their standard contact number so are obviously deliberately ripping their
‘customers’ off in any way they can. Even Transport For London have a local rate number ( 0343 222
2222) on which they can be contacted. JBW Group are completely ignoring the new rules. I really
hope they can be made to obey the new rules in the same way they are profitting greatly from
making hard pressed motorists obey the congestion charge rules.

Here we are at the back-end of 2016 and STILL companies continue to flout the law. When are some prosecutions going to happen?

Make ALL company directors PERSONALLY liable with a mandatory fine of £25000- each and see how quickly they close that tasty little champagne paying spigot that’s permanently open for these unscrupulous scumbags.
Here’s the latest found today: Suttons 0844 326 2200. Call 0333 043 0700 instead!

I am so sick of this, so just: saynoto0870.com

Get on it Which!

stephen gedge says:
18 October 2016

A class insurance services are using a 08445449855 number and not telling there customers there is an access charge

James Williams says:
15 November 2016

The Rugby Football League are still using an 0844 number for customer service (such as calling to say your tickets haven’t arrived) – 0844 856 1113.

I’m waiting on match tickets for this Sunday, but don’t fancy calling this number. The link stating it is for customer service is here. https://www.eticketing.co.uk/rle/staticpages/faqs.aspx