Telephone number changes – 0845 ain’t dead yet!

Contact center management

Telephone number changes – 0845 ain’t dead yet!

You’re probably aware that the regulator Ofcom imposed a change to the revenue regime on all UK numbers beginning 08, 09 and 118, which took effect on the 1st of July 2015.  This suggests another review of inbound telephony numbering may be worthwhile, after CCICACR (the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations) which came into effect on 13th June 2014, probably prompted your last review  (for advice see item J in the attached document).

By 27th of July 2015, Ofcom was sufficiently concerned about the lack of compliance by some Communication Providers concerning their charges under the 2015 changes, that it wrote an open letter to all CPs reminding them of their obligations on pricing calls to Service Numbers. So the last 13 months have seen a variety of changes affecting inbound numbering, and a lot of sometimes confusing and conflicting information has been circulating.

So here are Syntec’s Seven Simple Steps to all these changes:-

  1. All calls to UK Freephone (080) numbers are now free from consumer landlines and mobiles. If you receive calls on UK Freephone numbers, you will probably be charged a higher rate for calls from mobiles.
  2. Calls to all other 08 numbers, and to 09 and 118 numbers, now consist of:-
    • An Access Charge, which is set by the CP carrying the call, and must be a pence per minute charge and must be the same for all non-Freephone Service Numbers, and
    • A Service Charge, which is set by the CP hosting the number range that is called (which will be the CP terminating the call except where the number has been ported).
  3. All number-ranges beginning 084, including 0845, may be set at any Service Charge not exceeding 7ppc / 7ppm inc VAT; all number-ranges beginning 087, including 0870, may be set at any Service Charge not exceeding 13ppc / 13ppm inc VAT.
  4. If you use Service Numbers (other than 080), you must indicate the vat-inclusive Service Charge wherever you display or advertise the number (e.g. calls to this number cost 7 pence per minute plus your provider’s Call Setup and/or Access Charge)
  5. If you conclude a sale by telephone, you must provide 01, 02, 03 or 080 numbers for consumer post-sale contact (i.e. for customer service for order progress, delivery and return queries, fault reports etc), unless you are in an exempt line of business (generally gambling, construction, residential lettings, package travel, timeshare, financial services).
  6. Every 084 and 087 number has an equivalent 03 number, available from the same CP as the original 084 and 087 number, which will be charged at the basic geographic rate.
  7. BT retail have announced that calls to 0845 and 0870 numbers (regardless of Service Charge) will continue to be included in some of their bundles.

For reference, the Syntec 084 and 087 number-ranges are set at the following Service Charges:-

Service chargePPM inc VATSyntec number ranges
SC00430844527, 0844530
SC00870843843, 0844204, 0844269, 0844271, 0844482, 0844767, 0844782, 0845092, 0845811
SC014130870027, 0870811, 0871283, 0871629, 0871666, 0871855

A full list of all the service charges (there are 80), and all the affected Syntec number-ranges including 09, can be found in this document.

Taken together, this may suggest that a move to, for example, 0845 for sales and 03 for customer service, could be worthwhile. Or perhaps you want a local feel and need regional 01 and 02 numbers (we have over 600 exchanges to choose from). Or indeed you might want Geographic or Freephone numbers from another country – we can provide numbers from almost every major country in the world. Or maybe you need numbers to help with tracking the performance of your sales and marketing activity?

By now you may well be wanting to stop reading and start talking, and as always, my colleagues in the sales and customer service departments at Syntec are ready to help with information and advice, without obligation, whether or not you are an existing customer.  Advice is integral to our approach to business.