UK Calling will herald clear pricing for calls to service numbers beginning 08, 09 and 118.
On 1st July 2015 the charges for 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers will be split into constituent parts: organisations which use them will declare the bit they are responsible for — the Service Charge — and; telephone call companies will set out how much a customer pays to them — the Access Charge. The cost of any call will be the sum of the two charges.
At the same time, freephone numbers, which begin 0800 and 0808, will become free to call from all personal mobile telephone services.
Last year the Consumer Contracts Regulations came in and they mandate customer service lines be charged at no more than the Basic Rate. As a result, lots of companies have abandoned their 0844 and 0845 numbers.
UK Calling represents the final step in exposure of what’s been the case for years — the presence of the Service Charge. Those who can’t justify it will have to switch phone numbers.
Government use of 084 numbers
The Cabinet Office has issued guidance on telephone numbering within Government. It says that geographic rate numbers, which begin 01, 02 and 03, should be the default choice.
Illegal NHS GP Service Charges will have to be declared from 1st July
UK Calling will mean 184 NHS GPs surgeries still using 084 numbers will have to declare their Service Charges, which are up to 7 pence per minute. These cases represent a flagrant breach of a ban introduced five years ago and flies in the face of the NHS’ first principle which is that it is free at the point of need.