Expensive premium rate telephone numbers have been a bone of contention for consumers and businesses for years, but all that is about to change from 1st July 2015.
Ofcom, the UK regulator for telecommunications, TV, radio and postal services, has ruled that companies utilising premium rate numbers MUST make their charges transparent. The days of the dreaded ”calls from other operators and mobile numbers may vary” messages are about to end!
Service Charges and Access Charges
From July, all premium rate numbers must state their call charges in terms of two elements, an access charge and a service charge.
The access charge relates to that part of the call charge that is paid to the telephone company while the service charge element relates to any additional charges paid to the organisation you are calling. Your telecoms provider will have to make their access charges clear on your bill and when asking you to sign a contract.
What it means in practice
When calling 08, 09 and 118 numbers in future, you’ll be greeted by the message “Calls cost X pence per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.
Freephone calls from mobiles
Up until now, freephone numbers (0800 and 0808) have only been “free” when called from a landline. These new Ofcom changes mean that from 1st July calls to freephone numbers from mobiles will also be free.