It is now illegal to provide an 0845 number for a customer service line.
From 13th June 2014, it became a legal requirement that businesses provide a standard rate number (i.e. 01, 02 or 03) for their customer service lines.
This law has been passed to ensure that no customer is forced to pay an additional charge – frequently incurred with 0845 and similar numbers – when making a complaint about a faulty service or product.
A number of high-profile names have yet to show any signs of change
According to a report published by The Fair Telecoms Campaign, however, a number of high-profile names have yet to show any signs of change, raising concerns that these companies may remain in breach of the regulations after the 13th June deadline.
The report identifies Staples, British Gas, Thorntons, River Island, HMV, WHSmith, BMW, Toyota, Megabus and British Airways as just a handful of the 300 companies who have yet to move away from 0845 and similar numbers.
Only around 57% of people are aware of the upcoming changes
A recent NewVoiceMedia survey, run in conjunction with Call Centre Helper, has suggested that a lack of awareness could be part of the reason why many companies haven’t yet complied.
The findings revealed that only around 57% of people are aware of the upcoming changes, while approximately 31% had no idea that anything would be happening, and a further 12% were not sure.
These findings are particular alarming given that that 39% of contact centres are still providing 0845 numbers to their customers.
What exactly is happening this summer?
From 13th June 2014, it will be illegal for companies to provide premium-rate numbers (including 0845, 0870 and 09) for their customer service lines. This law was passed as part of “The Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013″ on 13th December 2013.
This applies to any phone line that is in place for existing customers (anyone who has a contractual relationship with a company or is an ongoing receiver of a company’s services) to make a query or complaint. This law does not apply to value-added services, such as technical support or sales lines.
What do I need to do?
If you think that your contact centre might be affected by the upcoming changes, read our Quick Guide to the 0845 and 0870 number changes to find out what you need to do next.