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Government Changes to Premium Rate Numbers

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At the end of 2013, the Government announced changes to consumer law and, as a result, you may need to review the telephone numbers you use for your customer service and complaints lines.

What changes will be coming into force?

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has announced changes to ensure that consumers calling a trader in relation to an existing contract they have with them are charged no more than geographic call rates.

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

When do these regulations come into force?

The changes come into effect in June 2014.

How will the changes affect you?

Not all types of organisations will be affected. There are exclusions such as the financial services, the property sector and government department helplines that are not covered by the proposals.

What do you need to consider if you are affected?

If these new regulations affect your organisation then there are several considerations:

  • You should change your customer service and complaints phone numbers to ones that charge no more than the geographic rate, such as 03, 01, or 02.
  • As a result of changing your phone number you may also need to review your promotional material. We're happy to advise you where necessary.

Please note: The impending changes only apply to customer service and complaint lines and you will still be able to use 084x or 087x numbers for sales lines, business to business calls and technical support lines.

If you have to change your customer service and complaints telephone numbers, what choices are available?

If you are currently using 084x or 087x numbers for your customer service and complaint lines, you will have the choice of switching to either an 080x, 03 or a geographical number (i.e. 01, 02).

We can discuss the options available with you and advise you what would be best for you and your customers.

How can we help you?

Today customer service is a key differentiator, and organisations are under increasing pressure to improve the customer experience and reduce customer interaction costs. Making a call may be the first option for many customers seeking support, but it's just one of many different channels available.

We want to make sure you're aware of this change and support you with any telephone number changes required. Please contact us if you have any questions and we'll be happy to help.

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