MoneyMagpie

Jan 07

Ofcom looking to curb nasty 0845 numbers

About time too!

The telephone regulator, Ofcom, is consulting on whether to change the system for non-geographic telephone numbers  such as 0800 and 0845 numbers. I hope they do because it’s a nightmare for a lot people on low incomes who only have a mobile phone.

Right now HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) insist that their customers use 0845 numbers to contact them. Unlike 0800 numbers, which are free from landlines, these incur a charge, as we know. Costs from some mobile phones to an 0845 number are particularly high – up to 40p a minute. With some numbers they put a proper landline alternative and, of course, you can always look them up on the excellent saynoto0870.com.

Now many of HMRC’s lowest income customers use mobile phones rather than landlines. Not only that, but many of the helplines for benefits and jobs are also 0845 numbers.

Ofcom’s consultation document recognises the confusion faced by consumers about what different phone numbers mean and how much calls cost. The document acknowledges that the higher costs faced by mobile phone users fall particularly on people on lower incomes, who are more likely to live in mobile-only households.

Ofcom is proposing a simpler numbering system to make non-geographic numbers and their prices more intuitive, making 0800 numbers free from mobiles as well as landlines, and encouraging the use of 0345 (which is charged like the geographic 01/02 numbers and usually included in call bundles).

And about time too! What has taken them so long! Honestly, these numbers have been around for years and people on low incomes have been forced to use them for years. I do wish these things could be sorted out quicker than they are.

We’re certainly supporting this move at Moneymagpie and I look forward to a fairer system asap.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

10 thoughts on Ofcom looking to curb nasty 0845 numbers

  1. This non-geographic number rollout to most UK business is a massive BT con. They lost a lot of revenue when everyone’s landline calls became free in call-inclusive packages so they persuaded all UK companies to ‘hide’ their landline numbers. Who cared if the number was 0141, at least people knew where he company was based. OK so some people had local & national call charge differences but it’s hardly an issue these days. It’s like hiding your domain name registry behind a godaddy-type frontman when you hide your landline number customers no longer know where you are and so fraud is encouraged and people’s call-inclusive packages of free landline calls are made a fool of by BT. OK so we would find out that Sky’s call-centre is in Livingston but the Scottish accents kind of gives it away anyway – doh! BT are the crooks, they should spend less on advertising and corporate shmoozing and more on giving value for money. Thanks for listening!

  2. This non-geographic number rollout to most UK business is a massive BT con. They lost a lot of revenue when everyone’s landline calls became free in call-inclusive packages so they persuaded all UK companies to ‘hide’ their landline numbers. Who cared if the number was 0141, at least people knew where he company was based. OK so some people had local & national call charge differences but it’s hardly an issue these days. It’s like hiding your domain name registry behind a godaddy-type frontman when you hide your landline number customers no longer know where you are and so fraud is encouraged and people’s call-inclusive packages of free landline calls are made a fool of by BT. OK so we would find out that Sky’s call-centre is in Livingston but the Scottish accents kind of gives it away anyway – doh! BT are the crooks, they should spend less on advertising and corporate shmoozing and more on giving value for money. Thanks for listening!

  3. seriously how come its ok for a hospital and surgeries to have 0845 numbers costing me a fortune if I have to ring them when out as they are not open before I leave and closed before im back home or have a massively long wait on before you get through to a person????????????????????

  4. seriously how come its ok for a hospital and surgeries to have 0845 numbers costing me a fortune if I have to ring them when out as they are not open before I leave and closed before im back home or have a massively long wait on before you get through to a person????????????????????

  5. Its not quite as simple as 0845 are expensive & geographic numbers are cheap. Depending on when you are calling and if you are using a landline or a mobile either one could be the “best” option.

    The table at gtitelecom.com/incoming_calls/NGN_numbers/Compare_NGN/ gives some clues to the mess the UK phone network is in.

    Not sure why OFCOM feel they need to consult on this, surely the solution is simple just set a maximum charge for each number type. That way everyone knows the the maximum they will pay is & carriers are still free to compete by charging less (if they want).

  6. Its not quite as simple as 0845 are expensive & geographic numbers are cheap. Depending on when you are calling and if you are using a landline or a mobile either one could be the “best” option.

    The table at gtitelecom.com/incoming_calls/NGN_numbers/Compare_NGN/ gives some clues to the mess the UK phone network is in.

    Not sure why OFCOM feel they need to consult on this, surely the solution is simple just set a maximum charge for each number type. That way everyone knows the the maximum they will pay is & carriers are still free to compete by charging less (if they want).

  7. An easy way of finding an alternative to expensive 0845 or the even worse 0870 numbers is to visit saynoto0870. where geograohic phone numbers for hundreds of companies and organisations can be found.

  8. An easy way of finding an alternative to expensive 0845 or the even worse 0870 numbers is to visit saynoto0870. where geograohic phone numbers for hundreds of companies and organisations can be found.

  9. I’m with Talktalk and have all geographic numbers free anytime ( except the Channel Islands!) . However , more and more businesses are going over to 0845 or 0844 numbers, which are not only charged for , but we have no idea at all what they’ll cost us until we see the bill! Some amounts are excessive, and there’s no consistency with the charging. I’ve tried bringing this up with Talktalk, to no avail at all- they simply ignore my questions or tell me they’re ” charged at local rate”, which is ridiculous because they don’t charge for local calls!! I can call New Zealand absolutely free , but I can’t call my local surgery or either of our banks in Plymouth without paying for the privilege! And , more and more companies etc. are going over to these numbers. It’s so irritating, to say the least! If I must pay , then the charge should be universal , whatever the telephone supplier, and be shown upfront on all occasions.
    Please do something about this, as it seems a bit of a moneymaking exercise to me!
    Thank you.

  10. I’m with Talktalk and have all geographic numbers free anytime ( except the Channel Islands!) . However , more and more businesses are going over to 0845 or 0844 numbers, which are not only charged for , but we have no idea at all what they’ll cost us until we see the bill! Some amounts are excessive, and there’s no consistency with the charging. I’ve tried bringing this up with Talktalk, to no avail at all- they simply ignore my questions or tell me they’re ” charged at local rate”, which is ridiculous because they don’t charge for local calls!! I can call New Zealand absolutely free , but I can’t call my local surgery or either of our banks in Plymouth without paying for the privilege! And , more and more companies etc. are going over to these numbers. It’s so irritating, to say the least! If I must pay , then the charge should be universal , whatever the telephone supplier, and be shown upfront on all occasions.
    Please do something about this, as it seems a bit of a moneymaking exercise to me!
    Thank you.

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