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Telecoms

Using premium rate numbers for customer support? Be prepared!

By 22nd May 2014No Comments

On 13th June 2014 a number of changes to the Consumer Rights Directive (CRD) will come into force in the UK, intended to protect consumers during and after a sale has been made. As a result, changes to the way businesses are able to use premium rate numbers for after-sale customer communications have been included in these new regulations.

What does this affect?

  • 084, 087 and 09 numbers, when used for after-sale customer contact
  • Customer service/support/billing lines; sales lines are not affected
  • Business to Consumer transactions only; Business to Business is not affected

If you sell to consumers and are currently using a number that begins 084, 087 or 09, it is likely that you’ll be affected by these changes.  This means that you can only use numbers with a basic (local) rate, such as 01, 02 and the new 03* non-geographic number, to provide after-sales services for customers, including product support or customer service desks.  All affected numbers will need to be updated from June.   Compliance will be monitored so it’s important you make this change.

Exempt Industries

Industries that are exempt from the changes include: Gambling, banking, credit, insurance, pensions and investments, creation of immovable property or of rights in immovable property, rental of accommodation, supply of food and beverages which are delivered regularly to the consumer, package travel, timeshares, and contracts concluded by automated vending machines through a payphone with a telecommunications operator.

Timescales

These changes will come into effect on 13th June 2014. This means that from this date your business must provide a local or mobile number for any after-sales calls.  Any existing 084, 087 or 09 numbers in use must be updated to an 01, 02, 03* or mobile number for your existing customers to call. Alternatively you can promote a free-phone number such as 0800/0808, as these are not affected by this change.  However, please be aware that there may be an increase in the cost to use an 080 number in the summer of 2015.  While numbers with the prefix 0870 are not considered revenue sharing numbers at the moment, they will be in 18 months’ time following expected OFCOM reforms (and will no longer be compliant). They can also still cost customers more than a geographic call.  Therefore, it is recommended that all 0870 numbers are included in any changes made from June 2014.

If you would like to take the opportunity to review your telecoms services, please contact us