Simplified call charges to help consumers07 Apr 2012 | Filed under: Industry News
Calls to 0800 telephone numbers could be free from all phones, including mobiles, under new proposals published recently by Ofcom.
This major step is part of detailed plans to tackle consumer confusion about how much it costs to call businesses, public services and other organisations on 03, 08, 09 and 118 numbers.
Currently, the vast majority of 0800 phone numbers incur a charge for mobile callers of up to 21p a minute. Under today’s proposals, calls to 0800 numbers from a mobile would be free for consumers, in line with landlines.
Under the new proposals, Ofcom also proposes to clarify and simplify how calls to 08, 09 and 118 numbers are charged for. Services provided on these numbers include information, banking, directory enquiry and entertainment services.
Currently, unless they are using a BT line, callers are unable to tell how much they will be charged for such calls. In addition, callers are not able to understand how much the call costs as opposed to the cost of the service being provided via the call. Under Ofcom’s proposals, consumers will in future be presented with clear, transparent information on both.
The change to freephone, plus the other proposed changes, would create a new, simpler system for call charges – helping consumers regain trust in these numbers. Ofcom’s proposals follow new powers introduced in changes to the Communications Act in May 2011, as a result of revised European telecoms legislation.