Effective June 2014 you will need to have replaced many of your 084 and 087 (and where applicable 09) numbers alternatives in order to remain compliant with new laws.
In October 2011 the EU passed The Consumer Rights Directive (CRD) with the aim of simplifying consumer rights in certain important areas. It became UK law in December 2013 and comes into force across the EU in June 2014.
As a result of this, UK businesses cannot incur their existing customers (consumers only, it does not apply to businesses) costs beyond a standard basic rate call to contact them. There are some exceptions but essentially consumers calling them for support, service or billing must be able to do so without paying more than a standard rate call. This change is mandatory from Friday June 13th 2014.
This, in practice, means that 084 (including 0845) / 087 and 09 numbers are prohibited and your customers must advertise an 01, 02 or 03 number, a mobile number or a freephone number for business-to-consumer business. For more background to this, including the list of exempted industries, please see the PhonePayPlus guidance.
We have previously praised the virtues of 03 numbers and these represent a natural alternative where a geographic number is not appropriate. Simwood does not charge a monthly rental for 03 numbers and a wide choice of Gold Numbers are available. They can be allocated instantly through the portal or API.
Naturally, geographic numbers can be allocated for the appropriate area and again, Gold Numbers are available for instant purchase through our API or portal. It is important to note that all 01 / 02 / 03 numbers should be similarly in-bundle and therefore there is no end-user disadvantage or gain if an 03 is chosen over a geographic, and vice-versa.
Finally, Freephone numbers are also available and represent the best value to end-users. However, there are key changes coming which will, we think, dramatically increase the volume of calls coming to them but, we suspect, will increase the costs too. Whilst many companies will be trying to push Freephone numbers as a replacement it would be dishonest to do so without your customers being clear about these changes. We have already enabled the changes to control any costs as we described previously.
Naturally, we cannot advise on your legal obligations but if you have any queries regarding alternative numbers, please do not hesitate to contact us.
[This article was edited on 16th April to clarify that the requirement is for a ‘basic rate’ number to be provided as opposed to ‘local’ rate to avoid confusion. It is recognised that these terms are often used interchangeably as most operators, including Simwood, no longer recognise the concept of a ‘local’ number but that the whole of the UK Geographic number range is treated as one area irrespective of the location of the party making the call]