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 a 084, 087 or 09 number.

The changes only apply to after-sales phone numbers in B2C relationships. If you work with consumers rather than businesses, you 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 I need to do?

If you currently use a number starting with 084, 087 or 09 for your after-sales support you 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.

You could still use 084/087 numbers after June 2014, so long as they’re advertised with an alternative ‘basic rate’ number.

If you would like to talk with us about any issue related to this news story just get in touch, call our friendly customer services team on 0800 002 9040 or use our contact form.

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. You are still allowed to use the numbers mentioned above as your 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 companies.

Businesses types 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.

What can BeLogical do to help?

We can discuss the regulatory changes with you and provide clarity and support you in areas of uncertainty. If you need support reviewing your existing numbers, we can help you reserve and set up new numbers. If you would like any more information please  call our friendly customer services team on 0800 002 9040 or use our contact form.

This information in intended as a guide only. If you have any concerns we recommend that you seek legal advice.