From the 13th of June 2014 it will be illegal to provide an 0845 number for a customer service line in the UK. Businesses as a legal requirement will have to provide a standard rate number as part of their customer service lines (for example an 01, 02 number) this is a result of 63,000 who supported the costly calls campaign.
No Customer Will Have to Pay Extra
This law is being implemented so that no customer will have to pay extra service charges frequently associated with 0845 numbers, when they are there to enquire about a product.
These actions to minimise the use of 0845 numbers will be implemented as part of ‘The Consumer Contracts Regulations’ and will apply to any existing customers and those who already have contracts with companies. It aims to eliminate the chances of companies luring customers in with a free phone number and then expecting existing customers to dial a premium rate line when enquiring about a product or service. The consequences if companies do not implement these changes to the 0845 numbers will be court action. Consumer Minister Jo Swinson spoke on the mater ‘It really is unfair that consumers are being stung in this way. For too long, some businesses have been trying to extract every extra penny from their loyal customers.’
The Public Should Not Pay for Public Service
The government have deemed it inappropriate for the public to have to pay high call charges for vital public services. The Financial Conduct Authority is also looking into these changes for banks, insurance companies and investment brokers.
Large companies such as Tesco and the Environment Agency have already made the change get rid of these 0845 numbers ahead of the law changing, making calls cheaper for their customers. The Environment Agency had previously been criticised for using a 0845 number and charging flood victims up to 41p per minute! Tesco made this pre-empted change just to benefit their customers.
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