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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.


The so called watchdogs are useless ,toothless as well!

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.

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:

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.

The FCA regulations ban the use of premium rate 084, 087 and 09 numbers for contact by customers.

The regulations apply to all financial services firms including banks, card companies and insurers.

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!

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!

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 🙁

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.

Dana Pastorkova says:
11 June 2019

Hollywood Bowl Finchley London – 0844 number – charged us £7.70 for 5 min. call when I tried to book my daughter’s birthday party. This is a rip off…

Viking Direct are using 0844 for customer service issues – in my case a missing delivery. I couldn’t get the online Chat to work.


IMO, absurd.

Roger says:
26 November 2019

Hastings Direct Insurance. They charged me £6.50 to call them on this number about an existing claim. 08448004585.

Hi Roger – Companies are allowed to use expensive numbers for new business but not for existing customers, for example to make a claim or a complaint. You can find the cheap number to make a claim under ‘Getting in touch’ near the bottom of this page: https://www.hastingsdirect.com/contact-us/

Graeme Jardin says:
6 February 2020


This number is used by QCAS for their remortgage service and is charged at 20p per minute.

0843 658 4411
You can see the information on their website here , with no mention of charge. I was passed the number by one of their business partners, again with no mention of charge…

I notice that it might still fall outside of regulations as it is a financial service.

ray emery says:
25 August 2020

Pontins holiday camps are still using both, disgraceful.

Pontins can use expensive numbers for new bookings, as some hotels do, but this is not permitted for customer service including complaints. Since no number for these services is provided, this will force customers to use the costly number or email.

It looks as if Which? has abandoned its concern about costly numbers. 🙁 There is some useful advice on this page: https://www.which.co.uk/money/money-saving-tips/saving-money/cheap-alternatives-to-0870-and-0845-calls/how-to-say-no-to-0870-and-0845-akktz4r0yfh0 It refers to ‘say not to 0870’ where a variety of alternative numbers for Pontins can be found.

Neil WORSFOLD says:
25 September 2020

Days Inn are still using 0844 numbers.

Curry’s told me to call their repair line which is an 0843 number. Was on hold over 20 mins for several calls I had to make and just noticed I’ve been charged £76. At no point was I told it was a premium rate number! Seems unfair to me and still not had my repair fixed.

Hi Jayne – A company can use an expensive number provided that this is not for existing customers. For example, Premier Inns does this for bookings.

I looked up Currys and found that they now advertise an 03 number, which is standard rate and included in many landline and mobile tariffs: https://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/repair-faq-374-commercial.html

It’s always worth checking for alternatives to expensive numbers, both on websites and on this site: https://www.saynoto0870.com

It might be worth contacting Currys and hope that they will make a goodwill payment or discount on your repair. Best of luck.

Jayne, this link to Ofcom shows the charges likely to 084 numbers

They are quite extortionate with some providers, but Currys should make their charge clear when advertising the number – currently 7p per minute + your providers access charge rate – which, of course, is not so clear until you look at your call plan.

However, such numbers should offer an instant response and not put you on hold while they rack up income.

Should Telecare 24 be using premium rate 0844 numbers on their careline equipment. Seems unfair.

Bob Nicholls says:
7 December 2020

I was thinking of buying a quite expensive item from Vitality4Life uk but declined when I saw that their customer service number starts with 0844. My mobile ‘phone company charges 45p per minute for calls to those numbers. As we are now in a pandemic and waiting times are much longer, it would cost me a small fortune if I had to ring them for any reason. As far as I am concerned, I will not do any business with companies that uses these numbers.

Hi Bob – Companies are allowed to use expensive numbers for sales and enquiries but must state their service charge, which is in addition to the access charge from you own phone company: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/costs-and-billing/how-much-does-a-phone-call-really-cost

For existing customers, companies must provide an 01, 02 or 03 number or a free 0800 number.

Vitality4Life does not seem to be paying much attention to legal requirements that have been in place for years. You are right to avoid them.