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FINALLOG

 

The rules on phone numbers such as 084, 087 and 09 numbers are changing.

Important information

The government announced that, on June 13th  2014, the rules on how companies use non-geographic phone numbers (such as 084, 087 and 09 numbers) are changing.

Customers should not be made to pay extra for attempting to rectify problems that are not their fault, or for making an enquiry  regarding an existing product or service they have.

What’s changing?

From the 13th , customers must have access to basic rate phone numbers for any after-sales support or service, rather than being forced into using an 084, 087 or 09 number.  The changes only apply to after-sales phone numbers in B2C relationships. If a company works with consumers rather than businesses, it must provide a basic rate phone number (such as 01, 02 or 03 numbers) for any form of after-sales support or service. A  consumer is defined as “an individual acting for purposes which are wholly or mainly outside that individual’s trade, business, craft or profession”.

What do companies need to do?

If a company currently use a number starting with 084, 087 or 09 for after-sales support it must ensure that callers pay no more than the basic rate on any such call.  The most straightforward way of doing this is to provide customers with a phone number for these services starting with 01, 02 or 03.  The company can still use 084/087 numbers after June 2014, so long as they’re advertised with an alternative ‘basic rate’ number.

What is the basic rate?

The basic rate is the amount you pay on calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers. For mobile phone calls, it is the amount you would pay on a number beginning with 07.

Does the change affect all phone numbers?

No, only the post-sales phone numbers are affected. Companies are still allowed to use the numbers mentioned above as sales numbers.

How about 0800 and 0808 numbers?

0800 and 0808 numbers are free from landlines, and are therefore unaffected by these changes.

Are there any exceptions?

Some businesses are exempt from these changes, including Residential Lettings, Package travel agents and Construction.

Businesses excluded from the regulation:

•  Gambling as covered by the Gambling Act 2005;
•  Construction and sale of immovable property including building of new properties;
•  Residential letting contracts;
•  Package travel contracts;
•  Timeshare contracts;
•  Supply of consumables by regular rounds, such as milkmen;
•  Purchases from vending machines;
•  Single telecom connections (for example, payphones and café internet connection);
•  Financial services are generally exempt although warranties, credit agreements and insurance which are offered in conjunction   with the sale of a non-financial goods or services, will still need to meet the requirements for cancellation of ancillary contracts and additional payments not being a default option.

Contracts only partially covered by the regulation:

•  Passenger transport contracts are exempt from cancellation rights and from most of the information requirements;
•  Low value off-premises contracts (value less than £42) are exempt from the information and cancellation provisions of the regulations but subject to those on additional payments and charges and delivery and risk;
•  Items dispensed on prescription are exempt from the information and cancellation provisions of the regulations.

What are the benefits?

A key objective of the change is to provide clarity for consumers and businesses on their respective rights and obligations. Providing a number, which customers can call at basic rates, brings improved customer satisfaction. “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,” said Consumer Minister Jo Swinson.

The government have considered the benefits for consumers and businesses; details can be found on page 20 of their Impact
Assessment report.

Impact assessment

Are you experiencing Domestic Violence?

IF YOU ARE UNSAFE OR IN DANGER PLEASE CALL 999., otherwise call the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline: 0808 2000 247.

Please note: when you browse the internet, your computer stores information about the websites you have visited.  A violent partner may be able to discover this.  There are ways of deleting this information but the best advice is to not to use a shared computer at all. Find an internet cafe or go to your local library or visit a friend.  If you cannot do that then the advice given in the article may help you:
Covering Your Tracks Online