Avoid paying higher call charges for 084/087/09 numbers

This month the new Consumer Rights Directive will end expensive premium 084 and 087 numbers for customers calling airlines, train operators and major high street and online retailers, but his still leaves a lot of organisations and companies where customer services, general enquiries and ordering still mean dialling into a premium rate number.

So if you want to avoid paying up to 16p a minute for dialling these numbers, hop along to Saynoto0870. This is an online directory of non-geographic telephone numbers and their geographic alternatives.

The website, which started as a directory of alternative to 0870 numbers (hence the name), also lists geographic alternatives for 0843, 0844, 0845, 0871, 0872, and 0873 numbers, as well as for some 0500, 0800 and 0808 freephone numbers.

Let me give you an example. I wanted to talk to the Land Registry and their number was an 0844 number. After my experience of calling an 0844 number and being charged £5 for an hour long call, I avoid these numbers like crazy. Anyway, by typing in Land Registry (or the offending number) I found an 0274 number on saynoto0870 and called it. The people there just put me through to the same team as I would have reached if I had dialled the 0844 number.

What is a non-geographic number

So a non-geographic number begins 084, 087 and 09. The numbers, when dialled, automatically impose a Service Charge on all callers – apart from 0870 numbers as a successful campaign stopped this in 2009. Calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers, standard 07 mobile numbers and 080 numbers do not attract the additional charge.

Non-geographic telephone numbers beginning 084 and 087 have increasingly been employed for bookings, renewals, refunds, cancellations, customer services and complaints, and for contacting public services including essential health services. That’s why the crack-down has happened.

Which numbers cost more?

While your telephone package may include free ‘inclusive’ calls of up to one hour to standard telephone numbers (beginning with 01, 02 or 03), calls to 0843, 0844, 0845, (0870 not so much after 2009), 0871, 0872 and 0873 telephone numbers are usually chargeable.

Mobile telephones on a contract offer minutes that include free ‘inclusive’ calls to standard telephone numbers, however calls to 084 and 087 telephone numbers are always chargeable. Calls to most 084 and 087 non-geographic telephone numbers are generally not included in bundled minutes from landlines and even less so from mobile telephones. However, a small number of landline providers do include 0870 and a smaller number include 0845 telephone numbers in some of their call packages.

Calls to 084 and 087 non-geographic telephone numbers have a higher charge if called from a mobile telephone, than if called from a landline, making the call price from mobile telephones excessive.

Calls to freephone numbers (0500, 0800 and 0808) are not included in most mobile telephone contract inclusive minutes and are also chargeable when called from most pay-as-you-go mobile telephones.

Thanks to Wikipedia for some of these lovely facts.

4 Comments on this post

  • Mrs Bargain Hunter

    June 16, 2014 at 5:23 pm
    Today I got an email from a company that has done some research into businesses that aren't yet compliant. http://www.ligo.co.uk/blog/50-well-known-businesses-compliant-new-uk-telephone-law/ I guess it's just a matter of time till they are!
  • Ian

    April 27, 2015 at 12:42 pm
    Non-geographic numbers begin 03, 08 and 09. Calls to numbers starting 080 are free from landlines and from 1 July 2015 will also be free from all mobile phones. Calls to numbers starting 03 are charged at the same rate as calling an 01 or 02 number. For most people that means the call counts towards their inclusive allowance on their landline or on their mobile and attracts no additional charges. Calls to numbers starting 084, 087 and 09 attract a Service Charge paid to the joint benefit of the called party and their telecoms supplier and an Access Charge paid to the benefit of the caller's landline or mobile provider. The present arrangement sees landline and mobile providers specifying only the combined cost and service providers specifying only what the call would have cost were it made from a BT line. All that changes on 1 July 2015. From that date, the two components will have to be separately declared. Many users of 084 and 087 numbers will be unable to justify any such Service Charge and will change their number. Ofcom made matching 034 and 037 numbers available in 2007 for this purpose. Post sales helplines for retailers, traders and passenger transport companies no longer use 084, 087 or 09 numbers. This is a direct result of the BIS regulation imposed in June 2014. The government has almost completed the move from 0845 numbers to new 0345 and 0300 numbers for all departments and their agencies. This is a result of the Cabinet Office guidance issued in December 2013. Banks and insurance companies will shortly (summer 2015) be subject to new regulation from the FCA that will mirror for the financial sector the provisions that were applied by BIS to retailers, traders and passenger transport companies last year. The NHS has already banned the use of 084 (in 2010) and 087 and 09 (in 2005) numbers, but not everyone has complied.
    • Mrs Bargain Hunter

      April 27, 2015 at 8:35 pm
      Hi Ian...thanks for the thorough commment. I am really glad that large companies and organisations are starting to be more fair in their pricing, especially lines such as the the passport office which is extortionate.
  • Ian

    April 28, 2015 at 10:58 am
    Yes, most have moved to 03 numbers. This means the caller pays exactly the same as a call to an 01 or 02 number and the organisation being called pays the extra costs incurred in the running of the non-geographic number. Ofcom has confirmed that the only non-geographic numbers to cost the same as calling 01 and 02 numbers are those starting 03. Numbers starting 084, 087 and 09 impose an additional Service Charge paid to the benefit of the called party and their telecoms provider on top of whatever the caller pays to their own landline or mobile provider for simply connecting and conveying the call.

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