All you need to know about current 0845 charges

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The complete guide to the cost of 0845 phone number charges for 2022

With most people now using mobile phones to make their calls, the use of 08 and 09 numbers has decreased significantly since we first set up this website in 2013.

As more forward thinking businesses converted to 03 numbers, which are free to call from a mobile, the companies left using 08 numbers are few and far between.

Strangely, however, those that do remain seem intent on keeping them as they for a rather nice income stream for them, even though it costs their customers to ring them. In fact, back in 2016, there were a series of scams with firms using 08 numbers to generate premium revenues from unsuspecting customers, who would be kept on hold for significant amounts of time to rack up the call charges.

These days, you will find most of the firms using them are in the events sector, particularly ticket booking services and a selection of delivery companies who use these for their parcel tracking service. The aim, of course, is to discourage you from phoning them but if you do, they want you to at least contribute something towards their staff costs.

The good news, however, is that since 2014 it has been illegal to use them for customer service lines and that, at least, spares hard pressed consumers from parting with even more money.

In terms of how the users of these numbers make their money, it is through a very simple mechanic whereby the cost of calling 0843, 0844 and 0845 numbers are made up of two separate parts. The first part is an access charge which goes to your phone provider, and the second part is a service charge set by the organisation you are calling. Is it most often the first part which is where the premium rates apply.

The service charge for calls to 084 numbers is set anywhere between 0p and 7p per minute and whatever they choose to charge, the cost MUST be clearly displayed wherever the phone number is advertised or promoted. This is the money that a business will receive if you call them from your mobile or landline.

The access charge however is where the real costs rack up, and this goes directly to your phone provider. Rates can vary from 25p to 70p a minute, but they will vary across providers. To make it easy, we’ve compiled the following table of the top six UK mobile phone providers to help you make sense of their charges.

ProviderService ChargeAccess Charge
BTAll six providers charge between
0-7p per minute
31.41p a minute
EE67p a minute
Giffgaff25p a minute
O265p a minute
Three65p a minute
Vodafone70p a minute on contract
50p a minute on PAYG

As you can see, prices vary dramatically across providers with 0845 calls being as cheap as 25p a minute on Giffgaff and as expensive as 70p a minute on Vodafone.

If you regularly need to make calls to these types of numbers it’s worth checking with your provider if they do any kind of discounted bundle or perhaps, changing your provider. We’ve included links to the call charge pages of each of these providers within the table – just click on their names for more details.

For even more detail on other providers, please visit Ofcom’s guide page for current rates

0845 charges change from 1st July 2015

Following considerable work by Ofcom the way 0845 numbers are charged changed at the start of July 2015. The communication for this is through a separate website and communication process known as UK Calling.

From 1 July 2015, the cost of calling 0845 numbers has been split into two separate parts;

The access charge: This is what a provider will charge you, per minute, for connecting the call.
The service charge: This is the remainder of the call charge. The organisation you are calling decides the service charge, and must communicate it. For example, if the service charge was 50p per minute, the organisation you are calling might decide to say “Calls cost 50p per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge”.

Now whilst the access charge will vary dramatically across providers, and there are sixteen different ones listed on the Ofcom website, the access charge will vary between absolutely nothing and 7p per minute.

The key here is that providers must tell you before you make the call what they are going to charge you so that you know roughly how much you will pay to make your call.

We still feel this is an unacceptable state of affairs as far too many firms are using these 084 numbers to drive revenues from their customers. The worst offenders are those who put technical help or support lines on the numbers then expect you to pay 15-20p a minute to stay on the phone.

Even worse in our opinion are the Utility Companies who still persist in this practice and make money from your misery. The queues are so bad in most cases that if, for example, you search for “customer services number for eon” you will see the first result has a description that reads “We’re sorry – we’re currently receiving a lot of calls, which may mean long waits.”

Many of them now have a ‘place in the queue’ ring back system but far too many of us want the problem sorting straight away so hang on the phone. Making money from your own inability to handle people’s calls is just wrong. The worse you are the more money you make and that just can’t be right.

There’s still a long way to go before using 0845 numbers gives the user experience most of us would want and expect.

Call Costs to 08 Numbers – 8 Months On

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.

Alternatives

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!

0845 numbers set to be standardised

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.

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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.

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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.

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We are all in favour of transparency and hopefully OFCOM’s plans for standardisation will bring a measure of clarity to this murky area.