Effective “June 2014” you will need to have replaced many of your 084 and 087 (and where applicable 09) numbers alternatives in order to remain compliant with new laws.
In October 2011 the EU passed The Consumer Rights Directive (CRD) with the aim of simplifying consumer rights in certain important areas. It became UK law in December 2013 and comes into force across the EU in June 2014.
As a result of this, UK businesses cannot incur their existing customers (consumers only, this it does not apply to businesses) costs beyond a local rate call to contact them. There are some exceptions but essentially consumers calling them for support, service or billing must be able to do so without paying more than the local rate. This change is mandatory from Friday June 13th 2014.
This, in practice, means that 084 (including 0845) / 087 and 09 numbers are prohibited and your customers should advertise an 01, 02 or 03 number, a mobile number or a freephone number for consumer call to business calls relating to support, service or billing matters. For more background to this, including the list of exempted industries, please see the PhonePayPlus guidance.
We have previously praised the virtues of 03 numbers and these represent a natural alternative where a geographic number is not appropriate. We charge a line rental for 03 numbers and a wide choice of Gold Numbers are available. We will be introducing this offering of 03 numbers via our website very soon! The line rental will be payable annually in advance, but will not be expensive!
Naturally, geographic numbers can be allocated for the appropriate area and again, Gold Numbers are available for instant purchase through our API or portal. It is important to note that all 01 / 02 / 03 numbers should be similarly in-bundle and therefore there is no end-user disadvantage or gain if an 03 is chosen over a geographic, and vice-versa.
Finally, Freephone numbers are also available and represent the best value to end-users. However, there are key changes coming which will, we think, dramatically increase the volume of calls coming to them but, we suspect, will increase the costs too. Whilst many companies will be trying to push Freephone numbers as a replacement it would be dishonest to do so without your customers being clear about these changes. We have already enabled the changes to control any costs as we described previously.
Naturally, we cannot advise on your legal obligations but if you have any queries regarding alternative numbers, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Thanks as always for working with us.
All the best
D Kobale CEO