Ofcom has introduced changes to the way calls to service numbers are billed, with effect from 1 July 2015. The cost of calling service numbers needs to be displayed in two parts:
- An access charge: This is the charge the phone company makes for connecting the call. This part of the call charge goes to the customer's phone company, charged as pence per minute. They will notify customers how much the access charge will be for calls to service numbers.
- A service charge: This is the charge made by the organisation being called, of which customers must be made aware of. The service charge part of calling 084 and 087 numbers will be capped at 7p and 13p respectively (per minute or as a fixed fee and including VAT).
For instance, the caller's phone company charges 10p per minute for calls to service numbers and the service charge for the company being called is 7p per minute. In that case, the company would need to provide a notice like this:
“Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company's access charge.”
These rules apply to all consumer calls made to 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers across the UK, with the aim of delivering clearer call rates for everyone. They do not apply to calls made to ordinary landline numbers, 01, 02, 03 numbers or mobile 07 numbers. Nor do they apply to calls made from payphones, international calls, or calls to the UK when roaming overseas.
PhonepayPlus and the Advertising Standards Authority are responsible for enforcing these requirements and have the power to impose penalties for non-compliance.