UK Calling Changes
Ofcom, the communications regulator, is making changes to the way consumers are charged for calling services beginning 08. Research carried out by Ofcom has shown that people are confused about how much it costs to call these service numbers, and as a result avoid using them. The changes being introduced will make the costs more transparent and easier to understand.
The key changes being introduced on 1st July 2015 are:
Freephone numbers will become free to call from mobiles as well as landlines – as a result there will be an increased cost of operating an 0800 or 0808 number, but the size of the increase will depend on the balance of calls that are received from callers dialling from a landline or a mobile, there will be a surcharge for all callers dialling from their mobile
The cost to call service numbers (that’s those starting 084, 087, 09 & 118) will be split into two parts;
an access charge, which will be stipulated by the caller’s phone company,
and a service charge, which will be promoted by the organisation offering the service
From the 1st of July, calls to your Freephone number(s) that originate from mobile phones will attract an additional pence per minute levy. The impact on your organisation will depend on the amount of calls that originate from mobile phones.
You may wish to consider migrating to a UK Wide 03 number which is less costly than 0800 / 0808 numbers and does not attract a levy.
What you need to do
Review all your promotional materials, website and advertising. When the new system comes into effect, companies and organisations that provide services using 084, 087, 09 or 118 numbers will be required to communicate charges clearly. Wherever you advertise or promote one of these numbers, you must ensure that the relevant service charge is displayed in a prominent position, and in close proximity to the telephone number in all cases.
Check the wording, as an example, a statement along the lines of “Calls will cost 5 pence per minute plus your telephone company’s access charge” is likely to be considered compliant – but we recommend you seek individual advice from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) at asa.org.uk/industry -advertisers and visit the CAP (Committee of Advertising Practise) website for information about the types of marketing materials you need to update.
Your new pricing information must be ready to go in your advertising, promotional material and communications from the point of change, which is expected to be 1st July 2015.
If you wish to review the changes in more detail there is a useful website that can be accessed by going to: http://ask.ofcom.org.uk/help/telephone/ukcalling
This is a major change within the industry and our carriers have been working closely with Ofcom and other communications providers in determining the new system. We’re confident this will provide a fair and simpler system for consumers.
From your perspective it’s also a good opportunity to review the way your customers contact you and make some changes if necessary.
Please do share this information with anyone else in your organisation that will need to know; marketing and communications teams, finance, or any other teams in your organisation that actively use service numbers, so they can start preparing themselves for the changes too.
We would be delighted to help you with your review, please call us on 0345 017 8180 for advice or to arrange a meeting.
From June 2014, it will be illegal to provide an 0845, 0870 or similar number for a customer complaints line. Read our handy guide to find out what you need to do.
The law was passed on 13th December 2013 as part of “The Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013″ and is coming into force on 13th June 2014. The driving force behind these changes is simple: “Customers should not be made to pay extra for attempting to rectify problems which are not their fault”.
It is important to note that these impending changes only apply to lines dealing with existing customers. Companies will still be able to use 0845 numbers for non-customer advice services such as paid for technical advice, so long as the charges are clearly advertised. Services specifically paid for through the cost of the call (i.e. horoscopes and television voting) and sales lines are also unaffected.
If you are currently using 0845 or similar numbers for your customer complaint lines, you will have to switch to either a geographical number (i.e. 01, 02) or, if you still require the technological benefits of an 0845 number, an 03 number. Switching to an 03 number is probably the simplest solution, as all you will have to do is substitute the 8 for a 3. For example, 0845 becomes 0345.
Still a bit unsure about whether your business will be affected? Take a glance at our table below.
What number do you use for your customer service line?
You will be able to keep your 0800 number for customers calling in from landlines. However you will also have to provide a clearly-indicated 03 number alongside it – for customers calling in from a mobile phone. This is because 0800 numbers dialed from a mobile phone still incur premium rate charges.
01 numbers e.g. Swansea 01792
No changes necessary.
02 numbers e.g. London 0203
No changes necessary.
All the below
*0870 (Any 084 or 087)
From 13th June 2014, it will be a legal requirement that these numbers are no longer provided for customer helplines. They must be switched to an 01, 02 or 03 number.
Memories of Cowes Week!
Following our summer business review, the attached photographs bring back fond memories of our racing at Cowes Week sailing regatta. A massive thanks to SAILING GB for what has unanimously been called "An Amazing Day".
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The stocks are rapidly running out. The potential solutions are to scrap local dialing and enforce local numbers to be dialled including the code - just like when calling from mobiles.
This will release approx 20% more local STD numbers in each code by enabling Ofcom to release numbers within the area code beginning with 0 and 1 ie: 01234 0*****.
The other option is to create new codes for those areas already forcasting numbering deficits ie: Oxford 01865 could also have Oxford 02865 - this is a less favored solution for local area numbers though as it could see neighbours with different codes. We'll keep you up to speed.
Read the full consultation.
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