Important changes to inbound non-geographic call services
Research has indicated that people are confused in regards to how much it costs to call service numbers beginning with 084, 087, 09 and 118. In response, Ofcom, the communications regulator, is making changes to the way consumers are charged for calling these numbers. The changes being brought in will make the costs more transparent and easier to understand.
From 1 July 2015, the cost of calling service numbers will be made up of two parts:
An access charge: This part of the call charge goes to your phone company, charged as pence per minute. They will tell you how much the access charge will be for calls to service numbers. It will be made clear on bills and when you take out a contract.
A service charge: This is the rest of the call charge. The organisation you are calling decides this, and will tell you how much it is.
How it works now
Quite often, you will see information about the costs of calls, which looks similar to this:
“Calls cost 20p per minute from a BT landline. Other landlines may vary and calls from mobiles may cost considerably more.”
This makes it difficult to know the cost of the call unless you happen to be calling from a BT landline.
How it will look in the future
Once the changes have been implemented, it will be mandatory for businesses to advertise service numbers detailing the two components of the cost:
Example: “Calls cost 18p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.”
Please note that going forward calls made to a service number (084, 087, 09 and 118) will be made up of an access charge determined by ITP’s Suppliers and a service charge which will vary based on the service provider you are calling.
Changes to Freephone numbers
In addition to the aforementioned updates, calls to 080 and 116 numbers will become free from mobiles as well as landlines, providing consistency and clarity for callers.
If you have a Freephone (080) number with us, you are currently being charged at a pre-agreed rate per minute to receive incoming calls. This charge will be reviewed to compensate these changes.
Which numbers are affected
These rules will apply to all consumer calls to 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers across the UK, providing clearer calling rates for everyone.
Calls to 0870 and 0845 numbers that had traditionally been considered as ‘National non-geographic’ and ‘Local non-geographic’ could now attract a higher call charges under the new regulations.
These changes do not affect calls made to ordinary landline (geographical) numbers or mobile numbers. They do not affect calls made from payphones, international calls, or calls to the UK when calling from overseas.
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 the charges clearly. Wherever you advertise or promote one of these services, 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 5p per minute plus your telephone company’s access charge” is likely to be considered to be compliant – but we recommend you seek independent advice from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) industry-advertisers web page and visit CAP (Committee of Advertising Practice) for information about the types of marketing materials you will need to update.
Your new pricing information must be ready to go in your advertising, promotional material and communications from the point of the change, which is expected to be on 1 July 2015.
Further details of the change and advice can be found on the Ofcom information website here:
If you wish to discuss these changes in further detail, then call us on 0844 543 0900, where your account manager will go through how you may be affected.