Back in July 2015 the telecoms watchdog “Ofcom” made some significant changes to the way in which calls to 084 numbers are charged in the UK. If your organisation is still using one of these as your published number for customers to call, you might want to consider migrating away from it based on the pretty high pence per minute rates your customers are paying to call you.
In fact, if you deal with consumers as opposed to business customers you are no longer allowed to publish 084 or 087 numbers for customers to contact you.
Calling an 084 number nowadays can cost anything from 7 pence per minute to over 50 pence per minute depending upon your number and if it’s being called from a landline, or a mobile phone. Lots of people are getting wise to the fact these numbers can be expensive to call and are avoiding ringing them which could start costing you valuable calls from new and existing clients if you don’t act now.
Our advice would be to switch to your normal geographic 01 or 02 number or alternatively consider using a new 0333 number. You can even ask your current provider if you can have the 034 version of your 084 number which simply changes the 8 to a 3.
Understanding Service Charges and Access Charges
The cost of calling 084 numbers, 087 numbers, 09 numbers and 118 directory enquiries numbers is now made up of two parts: An Access Charge and a Service Charge. But it is sometimes difficult to determine the actual cost of these calls.
In the past you will have seen or heard messages saying something like;
“Calls cost 20p per minute from a BT landline. Other landlines may vary and calls from mobiles may cost considerably more.”
These types of messages can be very confusing if you’re not calling from a BT line as there was no instant way to know just how much the call was going to cost. The changes are reported to have been designed to make it easier for everyone to understand how much calls to these numbers cost.
How it works now
Since 1 July 2015, the cost of calling service numbers is now made up of two parts:
The Service Charge: This is the part of the call cost that is passed on to the organisation you are calling and/or their telecoms supplier. It is intended to help cover the cost of the service being provided and organisations can select from a range of different charge rates.
An access charge:
The Access Charge is a fixed, per-minute rate charged by your own phone company for calls to all numbers starting with 084, 087 or 09, as well as for calls to ‘118‘ directory enquiries services. If your phone company charges 5p per minute for calls to service numbers – that is their access charge. If the organisation you are calling states that calls will cost 20p per minute, you would see information like the below:
“Calls cost 20p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.”
This would mean that the total cost of the call would be 25p per minute, which is made up of 20p per minute (the service charge), plus 5p per minute (the access charge).
Different rates apply depending on which operator you use and the tariff you have chosen. You can find more information about this on the Ofcom website o their UK Calling.
We hope this information will be helpful to you and if you have any questions at all, please give us a call on 0800 505 3350. Alternatively visit our Call Routing and Phone numbers page for more information.