Does your business use a ‘non-geographic’ telephone number for people to contact you?
The cost of calling these numbers which typically start, 08, 09 or 118, is often unclear, especially when calling from a mobile. And for that reason from 1st July 2015, Ofcom is making changes to the pricing of ‘non-geographic’ numbers in the UK.
Research has shown that callers dialling these numbers are confused about how much it costs to call these numbers.
As a business owner you need to be aware that Ofcom is bringing in new regulations to make it clearer for both customers and businesses that use these numbers. The changes are outlined below:
What are the changes?
• All Freephone numbers which begin 0800 or 0808 will be made FREE to call from all phones, whether mobile or landline. 0500 numbers are not part of these changes and calls from mobiles to these numbers may still be charged for however, Ofcom has advised these numbers will be withdrawn from use in 2017.
• The cost of calling service numbers starting 084, 087, 09 and 118 will be made up of two parts:
1. Access charge: This part of the call charge goes to the caller’s phone company, charged as pence per minute. They will tell you how much the access charge will be for calls to service numbers.
2. Service Charge: This is the rest of the call charge. Your non-geographic number provider you are calling decides and will tell you how much it is.
The total cost for the call is the access charge plus the service charge of the number you are calling.
More details on these changes can be found at www.ukcalling.info, a specific site launched by Ofcom to outline the changes.
So what do I need to do if I have one of these numbers?
• Speak to the company that provides your 08 or 09 telephone number. If you haven’t done so already, you may wish to discuss with your number provider how the changes will affect your business and the way you use service numbers.
• Ask them to confirm the service charge for your number or numbers. Your number provider should be able to let you know the service charge linked to the number or numbers you currently use.
• Decide if the service charge is suitable. If you are not happy with the service charge linked to the number or numbers you currently use, you may need to consider changing your telephone number(s).
• Review all your materials and advertising. If your business or organisation is contacted on a number beginning 084, 087, 09 or 118, you must ensure that your service charge is clearly displayed wherever you advertise or promote that number. The service charge should be prominent and in close proximity to the number itself. The recommended form of wording is:
“Calls cost xp [or xp per minute] plus your phone company’s access charge.”
This is likely to mean that your service charge should be provided alongside the related number in all communications directed towards current or potential users of the service, where the use of the number is promoted or advertised. These communications are likely to include as a minimum:
• Any broadcast advertisements on television or radio;
• Any press advertising;
• Any online advertising, including paid-for search listings;
• Advertising bill boards and posters;
• Public notices, press releases and other public relations material which promotes access to the service offered on the numbers, or promotes contact with the organisation using the number;
• Point of sale displays and other fixed advertising;
• Packages, wrappers, labels, tickets, timetables and price lists;
• Service directories; and
• Company websites.
Should you require more information on how these changes could impact your business or if you want require more information on how much these numbers will be to cost from any UK provider then call our team on 01302 260195