• Michael Bolt

Premium Rate Number – No Longer Rated!

As you may have already heard as of the 13th June 2014 businesses operating with 087, 084 and other premium rate numbers could find themselves in breach of the new regulations according to the BIS Guidance. The new regulations state that popular numbers such as 0845 and 0870 can no longer be used for consumer services such as complaints and helplines. Whilst this seems to be welcomed with open arms by the consumer who will no longer have to suffer inflated charges calling these numbers, it will cause a massive upset and headache for the thousands of businesses who have these numbers in circulation on printed material, websites and business cards. There is one exception though when it comes to the new BIS guidance for businesses providing technical support. “Provided it is clear to the consumer that the line exists to provide technical support for a product already purchased (e.g. a laptop, tablet, software, machinery, white goods or other electronics), businesses are still able to operate using the premium rate number.” The reason for this being that technical support is being charged separately from the original purchase via the cost of the call. Having said that, businesses who operate using a technical support line will need to have a clear separation between their technical support line and consumer services to ensure they are not breaching regulations. In other words a technical support line should not have a facility where consumers are able to complain about a product already purchased.

If you are a business, what can you do?

The preferred alternative to the premium number is the non-geographical number starting with 03. 03 numbers are by law only allowed to be charged at local rates so often they are included within call minute packages including the minute packages from your mobile phone providers. As the 03 number is a non-geographic number it does not pin you down to a geographical location for exclusivity. You may also find as the 03 number is a consumer friendly number; there could be an increase in consumers willing to call your number. Depending on how long you have been in business depends how much your current number has been circulated. If you have been operating for a number of years who knows who may have your existing number. The ideal solution for the switch would be to place a pre-recorded announcement on your existing line to inform callers of your new consumer friendly number. This simple effective solution will ensure your business is still capturing all new and existing business – so your everyday operation will not be affected. NMT can implement this on existing customer setups from as little as £2 per month and if you are a new customer with an 03 number requirement – we’ll add it for free. To take advantage of this offer call one of our Customer Service Team on 020 3303 3303 quoting reference PRERECORDDEAL.

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