Farewell fares – Free phone finally forced for firms

A new consumer law has been passed banning premium rate helplines including 084x and 087x numbers, which will come into effect on 13th June 2014.

This means that customers calling helplines to complain will no longer have to pay more than their standard rate, stopping unnecessary costly calls. The new rules mean that airlines, train operators and major high street and online retailers are required to offer customer service or complaint lines with normal landline and mobile charges apply, ie 01, 02, 03 or 0800.

Consumer Minister Jo Swinson said at the time:

“It really is unfair that consumers are being stung in this way. For too long, some businesses have been trying to extract every extra penny from their loyal customers.

From next year (2014), if something goes wrong with a cooker, or commuters want a refund on their season ticket, they will now pay the same to phone a helpline as they do to call friends or family.

We want consumers to be confident to shop with a range of traders. The new rights announced today will mean consumers are entitled to the same level of protection whether they are purchasing goods or services online, at home or in a shop.”

Although some businesses may be exempt from these changes, including those in Finance, Travel, Public or Charity sector organisations.

Despite this, we highly recommend companies consider using 03 numbers in place of any existing non-geographic number. 03 numbers are generally cheaper to dial, being included in any inclusive minutes on mobile, without any of the stigma’s attached to 08 numbers.

For more information on the new laws visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-cuts-off-costly-calls

For more information about the benefits of 03 numbers please visit our 03 numbers page at: http://www.smart-numbers.net/03-numbers

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