It’s seven weeks since the new law banning companies from using pricey phone numbers came into force. By and large it shouldn’t cost more than the basic rate to call customer services, but not all firms got the message.
The good news is that lots of companies have made the effort to change their numbers, from Sky to the Student Loans Company. Both have switched 084 and 087 numbers for an 03 alternative.
This will please our Costly Calls campaign supporter Eleanor, who told us earlier in the year:
‘It’s disgusting that it’s an 0845 number to call Student Finance England. Students are a group of people who can least afford to be wasting money on phone bills, especially when the #1 reason for calling SFE is that they’ve messed your application up and you have’t got any money…’
Lloyd was similarly outraged:
‘Student Finance England; I called from my mobile as it was an emergency and was on the phone for roughly an hour (lots of the time spent on hold) and it cost me over £20!’
Thanks to supporters like Eleanor and Lloyd, you can now contact Student Finance England on 0300 100 0607.
Costly to call customer care
I’ve actually just got back from a two week holiday, where everything went well – except the airline I was flying with lost my bag. You can imagine my further frustration when I discovered that their website lists an 0843 number for ‘customer care’. Needless to say, I emailed them.
From your comments, I wasn’t alone in my findings. Lots of you have discovered companies still using pricey numbers, and some of you challenged them directly. H Samuel, Yorkshire Water and Morrisons are just some of the firms you told us about and who have now switched from 0845 numbers to an 03 alternative. Here’s how Yokshire Water responded to Newt Beaumont’s challenge:
@NewtBeaumont Hi Newt, We are in the process of updating our 0845 numbers on emails & letters, thanks for letting us know ^Nicole
— Yorkshire Water Help (@YWHelp) June 23, 2014
For all those still dragging their heels on switching their numbers, I can’t help but feel it reflects how they value customers.
They had plenty of notice
On the day the law came in, I wondered how long it would take for IT and marketing departments to get up to speed. Sure enough, there are examples of different contact numbers appearing on different pages of the same website, while every day on my way to work I see my train company’s 0845 customer services number staring down at me from the poster in the carriage. Is it too much to ask why, having been given six months’ notice, these things weren’t planned?
So it looks like we’ll have to continue flagging the new law to those slow on the uptake.
Watch out for unofficial numbers
One last tip – when searching online, make sure you click on the company’s website to get their official phone number. Pricey 084 or 087 customer service numbers may still come up on Google and other search engines. Oh, and beware websites that list companies’ contact numbers – they might not be the same number and you could end paying extra for them to connect you.
Have you seen companies ditching pricey contact phone numbers? Or have you spotted companies that are still breaking the new rules?