It’s been 8 months since we wrote about OFCOM’s announcement to standardise call costs for 0845 and 0800 numbers. At the time of their announcement, calls to 0800 and 0845 numbers from mobile phones were extortionate; varying from 14p to 35.8p per minute depending on the number you are ringing, the time of day and the carrier you are using. Well 8 months on and… it’s still the same.
With the delay in this stardardisation becoming implemented, it has forced more and more people to start looking for alternatives. There are now numerous apps on all the different app markets that offer the ability to call some 08 numbers as standard rates, and for those who pay for minutes within their contract, these call will come straight out of there. All of this is unlike calling 08 numbers from your mobile where they do not come out of your contracted minutes and costs are added on to your monthly phone bill at high rates.
Apps such as ‘0800 Buster’ and ‘0800 Wizzard’, are either free or seriously cheap so OFCOM needs to get its act together to begin introducing their proposed standardising of these call costs.
Where do we Stand Now
OFCOM’s latest word on this is that the changes will be made in June 2015 and that the changes will be “the biggest for UK telephone customers”… Well we certainly think so!
OFCOM have recently announced that they want to see a standardisation of call charges across a range of 08 numbers in the UK and this could be good news for consumers.
Many businesses run 08 numbers as part of their customer care programme but what many people don’t realise is that whilst 0800 is free and 0845 charged at a ‘local’ call rate, 0870 numbers and 0871 numbers can be extremely expensive. This means that it you want to phone your utilities supplier to complain they are charging you for the privilege of doing so and in some cases you won’t be aware of this.
What many people don’t realise though is that calls to 0845 numbers can vary as well and whilst they are typically no more than a local call rate they can be set to be much higher. With some businesses experiencing high call volumes very day this becomes a major revenue stream for them and supplements what they already make selling their products and services. Clearly there is nothing wrong with them doing this, as long as they tell you that you are being charged. At the moment too many businesses hide the call charge information away or fail to display it in some cases and as such you are left with a large bill weeks after making the call which can be an unexpected shock.
We are all in favour of transparency and hopefully OFCOM’s plans for standardisation will bring a measure of clarity to this murky area.