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Heads up if you're doing business in the UK

New rules for declaring cost of calling you by telephone

     
11:59 am on Mar 9, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If you're doing business in the UK and use telephone numbers starting 084, 087 or 09 you'll need to be aware of new Ofcom regulations which come into force on 1 July 2015.

Whenever someone calls one of these numbers, part of what is paid by the caller is retained by the caller's telephone provider and part is paid onwards to the benefit of the call recipient and their telephone provider.

From 1 July 2015, this call cost will be split into the two parts and each will be separately declared.

The caller's provider will declare their Access Charge. This will be a single rate for all calls to these numbers.

All users of 084, 087 and 09 numbers will no longer state what the call would have cost had it been made from a BT landline. Instead, they will be required to declare the part of the call cost that they benefit from, whether directly or indirectly. This will be known as the Service Charge.

This applies to numbers shown on websites as well as in catalogues and in press and TV adverts and on leaflets.

Ofcom have a new website which explains the changes: [ukcalling.info...]

There's a YouTube video at: [youtube.com...]

The provisional Service Charge levels can be looked up here: [ofcom.org.uk...]

e.g. for a number starting 0844 477, look in the spreadsheet for "8444 77" and declare the cost thus:

"Calls incur a 7p per minute Service Charge on top of your phone provider's Access Charge."

or

"Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone provider's Access Charge."

Depending on the number range and level of Service Charge involved, non-compliance becomes a matter for either Advertising Standards or PhonepayPlus.


Those businesses who are unable to justify imposing a Service Charge on callers can arrange to migrate their 084 or 087 number to the matching 034 or 037 number.

Calls to 03 numbers cost the same as calling 01 and 02 numbers and count towards inclusive allowances on landlines and mobiles.

Ofcom made these new numbers available in 2007 specifically for this purpose.
2:41 pm on Mar 9, 2015 (gmt 0)

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In addition, all Freephone numbers (which begin 0800 or 0808) are being made free for consumers to call from all phones, whether mobile or landline.

I am sure that plenty of people will still be confused, but then my experience of customers is that some people seem make a point of finding some way to misinterpret anything.
8:27 am on Mar 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The idea is to simplify things. A number of recent and planned changes should see the UK telephone system eventually end up looking something like this:

Number types
Geographic numbers with area codes: 01, 02
Mobile numbers: 071-075, 077-079
Non-geographic numbers: 03, 08, 09
Unused: 04, 05, 06.

Call charges
01, 02, 03: inclusive in your allowance, else charged at "geographic rate"
(exception: landline numbers in Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man)
071-075, 077-079: inclusive in your allowance, else charged at "mobile rate"
(exception: mobile numbers in Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man)
080: free call from landlines and mobiles
084, 087, 090, 091, 098: numbers with an Access Charge paid to the benefit of the caller's telephone provider and a Service Charge paid to the benefit of the called party and their telephone provider.

Numbers starting 0500 will be phased out by 3 June 2017.
Numbers starting 055, 056, 070, 076 will be reviewed next year and are likely to be migrated or phased out.