It is Now Illegal to Provide an 0845 Number for a Customer Service Line

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From 13th June it became illegal to provide an 0845 number for a customer service line.

Yet 28% of people are still unaware of the changes due to come into effect, according to a recent Call Centre Helper poll.

The findings also revealed that:

  • 57% of people are prepared for the changes
  • 6% are not prepared
  • 8% are unaffected as they do not use 0845 numbers as part of their phone number strategy

In the last month, Staples and British Gas have both switched from 0845 numbers to customer friendly alternatives (such as 03 numbers).

However, at the time of writing, many companies (including Thornton’s, River Island, HMV and BMW) are still providing 0845 or similar numbers for their customer service lines, raising concerns that these companies may remain in breach of the regulations after the 13th June.

What exactly is happening on 13th June?

From 13th June 2014, it will be a legal requirement that businesses provide a standard rate number (i.e. 01, 02 or 03) 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.

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.

Your technology provider may be able to help you through the change

While they may not have directly advertised it, it is quite likely that your technology provider will be aware of the upcoming changes and be able to offer you advice on what to do next. They may also have a pre-prepared solution available which will complement your existing technology.

“The implications of the new regulations have already been raised and discussed with Clients of our Cloud Platform, and new 03 numbers assigned to each relevant inbound call flow,” said Darren Sullivan, COO at Ultra Communications. “Technically the process was completely painless for our clients, and also seamless for any consumer persisting with the original numbers.”

What should I do next?

If you think that your contact centre might be affected by the upcoming changes and want to find out more, read our Quick Guide to the 0845 and 0870 number changes.

Published On: 4th Jun 2014 - Last modified: 18th Sep 2019
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