So I used to know that 0845 numbers were 12p per minute. So now these are minimum of 15p. But what if the company you are calling don't tell you what the extra charge is? Is there always an extra charge? A lot of companies use 0845 with very long menus obviously to offset the cost of their call centres, so now I have an unknown cost from them... Even my doctor surgery changed to 0845! Does not seem like a step forward to me.
Currently when you call an 0845 number, giffgaff has to pass on about 2p per minute to the benefit of the organisation you are calling and their telecoms provider. From 1 July this fee will have to be declared as the Service Charge and will vary from 1p to 7p per minute depending on the number called. The rates for 0845 numbers will be the same as for 0843 and 0844 numbers.
Revenue sharing was stopped on 0870 numbers in 2009. When you call an 0870 number, giffgaff has to pay out about 0.5p per minute. Revenue sharing returns to 0870 numbers on 1 July 2015 and their rates will be aligned with those for 0871 and 0872 numbers. The Service Charge will be up to 13p per minute.
For 0843, 0844, 0871 and 0872 numbers, most service providers have chosen Service Charge rates that are similar to the enhanced termination rates that currently apply to their numbers. It is only 0845 and 0870 that will see the increase as they align with the rates for other 084 and 087 numbers.
When you call an 09 or 118 number, giffgaff has to pass on anything up to several pounds per minute. Again, most service providers have chosen rates which are similar to the current levels.
Depending on exactly which 084, 087, 09 or 118 number you call, giffgaff's share of the call cost is currently anwhere from under 5p per minute to over £1 per minute.
From 1 July 2015, Ofcom requires that the share be the same amount for every 084, 087, 09 and 118 number and that it be clearly and separately declared. For giffgaff, that figure will be 15p per minute. In the case of calls to 09 and 118 numbers, the changes represent a substantial fall in price.
If a company fails to declare their Service Charge "prominently and in close proximity to their telephone number" then it becomes a matter for the Advertising Standards Authority (for 084 numbers and for 087 numbers with a Service Charge of up to 7p per minute) or for PhonepayPlus (for 087 numbers with a Service Charge of more than 7p per minute, and for 09 and 118 numbers).
Your GP should not be using an 084 number. This was banned by a revision to GP contracts made in April 2010. A contractural ban on the use of 087 and 09 numbers was put in place in 2005.
Under new Ofcom rules that come into force on 1 July 2015, your GP will have to declare that calls to their 084 number incur a Service Charge on top of whatever Access Charge you pay to your landline or mobile provider to make the call. They must specify the exact amount (in the case of 084 numbers this is up to 7p per minute) and the charge must be declared everywhere their number is advertised.
This charge violates the fundamental “free at the point of need” principle and represents an illegal charge for access to the NHS. The only charges that the NHS can make are those approved by Parliament, such as those for prescriptions.
The Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 came into force on 13 June 2014 and compels retailers, traders and passenger transport companies to advertise 01, 02, 03 or 080 numbers for post sales helplines.
The FCA will shortly publish similar regulation for the financial sector. Ahead of this, most banks have already changed their 0845 lines over to the matching 0345 number. Insurance companies have been slower to act.
The Cabinet Office published guidance in December 2013 for government departments, their agencies and public services. It has resulted in a major shift from 0845 numbers to 0300 and 0345 numbers.
Usage of 084 and 087 numbers for "day to day routine communication" is in rapid decline and this trend will continue.