Ofcom are changing the way that companies in the UK can use 0844, 0845 and 0871 numbers for customer enquiry lines thanks to the EU’s Consumer Rights Directive.

If you currently offer telephone support for your existing customers via an 084 or 087 number you will need to arrange to use a different number type.

This UK legislation is going to be brought into effect by the 13th June 2014. This means that by that date all existing-customer enquiry numbers (save for those used by Financial Services) will have to start with the digits 01, 02 and 03 in their number prefixes.

This new regulation has been brought into effect because mobile networks charge varying prices when calling 084 or 0871 numbers and often charge a premium to call them,  whilst calls to 020 numbers are often included in minute-bundles or are a constant price.

Mobile network operators will be forced to announce the call charges to callers when calling a non-geographic numbers in an attempt to show up the mobile networks blatant price hiking when calling non-geographic numbers. This should have the effect of embarrassing the mobile networks into reducing the cost to call non-geographic numbers.

What do you need to do next?

As always there is a solution and SwitchboardFREE can help.

If you fall into the bracket of businesses that will have to switch then you are going to need to change your numbers for a local geographic number or an 03 number. This doesn’t mean that you will lose the SwitchboardFREE functionality that has served you so well in the past. We have a wide variety of geographic numbers available as well as 0203, 0207, and 03 numbers. All of these numbers are available at a very small cost to you and your company and offer all of the features you currently associate and enjoy with SwitchboardFREE.

Setting up these numbers couldn’t be simpler and for more information on any particular number set then please click on the appropriate link below.

Local Geographic Numbers   0203 Numbers   0207 Numbers   03Numbers  

It is good to remember that only customer enquiry or support numbers are being targeted by this new law so many organisations are advertising a separate number for their customer support but keeping their standard 084 number for everything else.

If you don’t want to go to the additional trouble of offering a separate phone number, there is also the option of keeping your 084 number for sales and other departments and then offering your customers an email link for all enquires and support. As long as this is clearly marked on your web site, you will not be in breach of the new regulations.

Get your business ready now

For more information or help in setting up a new number then give us  a call on 0844 884 3010 and our support staff will be able to help you with any questions you may have.

“Help-line charges over basic rate

41.—(1) Where a trader operates a telephone line for the purpose of consumers contacting the trader by telephone in relation to contracts entered into with the trader, a consumer contacting the trader must not be bound to pay more than the basic rate.

(2) If in those circumstances a consumer who contacts a trader in relation to a contract is bound to pay more than the basic rate, the contract is to be treated as providing for the trader to pay to the consumer any amount by which the charge paid by the consumer for the call is more than the basic rate.”

– The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013


To see new law in detail, which is entitled “The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Payments) Regulations 2013” (SI:2013/3134), then click here.