4.1.1The use of 08x numbers in the UK has been met with increasing concern and anxiety as, unlike most other numbers, they are rarely included in “inclusive minute” bundles.

Sites like saynoto0870.com became very popular, giving savvy-dialers a chance to save some pennies and find a ‘standard rate’ or ‘geographic’ number to call instead. Several mobile apps are available to address the same issue, some even taking over your dialling and calling the cheaper option automatically for you.

New regulations mean that post-sales phone lines can no longer be charged at a premium rate – meaning that 0844, 0845, 0870 and 09 numbers cannot be used for these services. They should instead use an 01, 02 or 03 number, or even an 0800 number (though these are usually chargeable from a mobile currently).

You can read the Government Press Release about this at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-cuts-off-costly-calls

So why do Companies use these numbers?

The clue to the main cause of controversy lies in one of the terms used to describe such numbers – “revenue generating”. Yup, some Companies were receiving an income from you calling them.

Very often the ‘revenue’ will have done little more than offset the cost of the routing and other processes behind the scenes that helps ensure calls are answered by a particular person in a particular way, but there is no hiding from the fact that many Companies made money from calls.

These numbers were able to be controlled and managed in ways that was not always practical with standard landline and mobile numbers, and this was another part of the attraction, but there is little point in running a helpline that can be routed to different people on different days if no one wants to pay to call it!

This is precisely how many of the 08x numbers that we have provisioned were used, and the Intelligent Call Routing, IVR services, Auto Attendant, Virtual Switchboard, Voice2email and fax2mail services were very popular with these numbers as they were often available at no cost. It made perfect sense for small charities to use such services and to be able to run a professional helpline at minimal cost in this way, but times are changing.

The helplines that are using our telephony services are not affected by the new regulations, and we will continue to support those services, but we still encourage organisations to consider moving to an 03, standard landline or freephone number instead. 03 numbers are charged as any other landline (01 or 02) number, and we were one of the early adopters. 03x are more common now.

We still operate our LiveHelp ‘support-on-demand’ service using an 087 number, where calls are charged at 10p per minute normally, but we also operate regular landline numbers and a freephone number, and will accept any call on any number without question.

Our new Telecoms services can be provided from a little as £12 a year, providing a range of services on any are code or an 033 code. 030 is reserved for charities, and we provide these also.

If you have any concerns about your use of 08 phone numbers, or want an honest appraisal as to the best way forward, please contact us on 033 3340 3380.