Important changes to non-geographic numbers

Some major changes to non-geographic numbers are being introduced on 1st July 2015 by Ofcom.

Ofcom are introducing changes to the way calls to 0800,  0808, 084, 087, 09, 116 and 118 numbers are billed. These changes are being introduced to improve clarity for consumers, making it clearer on how much they will be charged to call these service numbers.

From 1 July 2015, the cost of calling service numbers will be made up of two parts:

An access charge: This part of the call charge goes to your phone company, charged as pence per minute. They will tell you how much the access charge will be for calls to service numbers. It will be made clear on bills and when you take out a contract.

A service charge: This is the rest of the call charge. The organisation you are calling decides this, and will tell you how much it is.

Which numbers are affected

These rules will apply to all consumer calls to 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers across the UK.

Calls to 0870 and 0845 numbers that had traditionally been considered as ‘National non-geographic’ and ‘Local non-geographic’ could now attract a higher call charges under the new regulations.

These changes do not affect calls made to ordinary landline (geographical) numbers or mobile numbers. They do not affect calls made from payphones, international calls, or calls to the UK when calling from overseas.

What you need to do

Review all your promotional materials, website and advertising. When the new system comes into effect, companies and organisations that provide services using 084, 087, 09 or 118 numbers will be required to communicate the charges clearly. Wherever you advertise or promote one of these services, you must ensure that the relevant service charge is displayed in a prominent position, and in close proximity to the telephone number, in all cases.

Check the wording: as an example, a statement along the lines of “Calls will cost 5p per minute plus your telephone company’s access charge” is likely to be considered to be compliant – but we recommend you seek independent advice from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) industry-advertisers web page and visit CAP (Committee of Advertising Practice) for information about the types of marketing materials you will need to update.

Your new pricing information must be ready to go in your advertising, promotional material and communications from the point of the change, which is expected to be on 1 July 2015.

Further details of the change and advice can be found on the Ofcom information website here: