Ofcom: Remember, Remember the 1st July- Ofcom have published new guidelines to simplify consumer pricing for all 08 number ranges, ensuring clear pricing guidance as to how calls to 08 numbers are displayed on web content, advertising and literature.

The Sky is the Limit 

As far back as 2004, Ofcom started carrying out public consultations to determine the use of non-geographic numbers (i.e. numbers not linked to a specific location). This is a large market, regulated by Ofcom; In 2009 alone, consumers paid around £1.9 billion for calls to these numbers and they accounted for 12% of the total call traffic volume.

Currently, for most numbers there is a limit on how much BT can charge for calls. Other providers are not restricted as to how much they can charge but in many cases landline providers set their call charges around BT’s prices.

After research, Ofcom concluded that there was significant consumer confusion over how much it costs to call companies, public bodies and other organisations, in particular those starting 08, 09 and 118. Ofcoms research showed that consumers weren’t confident in how much the calls were costing them-mainly because each phone company sets its own prices, and information on pricing can be difficult to find and complex and therefore difficult to pass onto the consumer. But consumers, as a result, weren’t using these numbers for fears of escalating costs.

Ofcom: New Legislations Come Into Place

Its taken a while, but finally, on July 1st 2015, Ofcom will implement new and important changes which will make it much easier for consumers to understand how much they are paying for calls and who receives the money.

You need to be aware of these changes and how they affect you.

To summarise Ofcoms changes;

– All consumer calls to Freephone numbers, regardless of whether they are made from landlines or mobiles, will be free of charge to the caller, so ‘free will mean free’.

A new tariff structure will come into play for revenue sharing ranges to simplify the breakdown of the charge. This process is referred to as ‘unbundling.’08 (business rate) / 09 (premium rate) / 118 (directory enquiries) will have to split and making transparent to consumers the money that is paid:

  • to their phone company
  • to cover the costs of routing and managing the non-geographic numbers;

Ofcom have also changed the cost of receiving the call service; and, where this occurs, payment for the service the consumer is receiving.

-In addition, businesses who are using 08 numbers now have a legal obligation to clearly promote the cost of calling their 08 numbers on any advertising or promotional material. This will need to be in the form of;

”Calls will cost you X pence per minute plus your phone company’s access charge”

This statement must be displayed in a prominent position and in close proximity to the 08 number advertised and these changes will come into force from the 1st July 2015.

Ofcom: Pricing Caps

There will also be a pricing cap to these revenue sharing calls as follows;

  • 084x — Service Charge up to 7 pence per minute or per call
  • 087x — Service Charge up to 13 pence per minute or per call
  • 09xx — Service Charge up to £3.60 per minute or £6.00 per call
  • 118xxx — various Service Charges — For Directory Enquiry services only.

(Service Charges given here are inclusive of VAT)

Other Number Changes

Ofcom are also currently reviewing some other number ranges to determine how these should be managed in future. These ranges are 055 (used by businesses for corporate numbers); 056 (used by voice-over-internet services); 070 (personal numbers) and 076 (used by pagers).

Independent Advice

To find out more about how Ofcoms changes may affect your business, please don’t hesitate to contact PSShelp as below;

Call US: 877 289 7770

Call UK: 0800 012 4054

Email: info@psshelp.com

www: www.psshelp.com