Just over a month ago we gave you up a heads-up on the new Ofcom rules about 087 numbers, to get you ready for the implementation of the new rules.
Remember, the new rules are all about making 08 numbers clearer and fairer for consumers to use. They came into effect on 1st August and this is what you need to know:
1: You should stop charging higher prices for calls to 0870s than you charge for regular 'geographic' numbers ie 01, 02 or 03 numbers.
2: This applies to calls from landlines AND mobiles
3: If you charge more for an 0870, you MUST tell the customer upfront, either with a clear message on your advertisement or website etc or with a recorded message (no charge to the caller) at the beginning of the call. Failure to do so can result in a hefty fine.
4: You can only refer to 0870 as 'national rate' in connection with the numbers IF you charging the same rate as for 01, 02 and 03 numbers.
5: 0871 numbers will be officially classified as Controlled Premium Rate Services - this is to remove the ambiguity about 'National Rate' and opportunity for abuse that this name allowed. The rules applying are now controlled by PhonepayPlus (formerly ICSTIS).
Your customers should pay the same to call 0870 as they would to call 01s, 02s. And 0870s can now be included in telephone companies' call packages - for landlines and mobiles. This, of course, makes them free to call for all intents and purposes.
That means good news for your response rates, in theory.
But remember, if you choose to charge above the normal 01, 02 rate for 0870 you are legally obliged to tell the customer upfront. It must be prominent and crystal clear in your marketing materials or via a free recorded message at the beginning of the call.
As we told you last month, the new legislation also outlaws revenue sharing, so from 1st August we have to charge you for your incoming 0870 calls.
However, we only charge you 3.5p a minute - exactly the same as we charge for your 03 calls and still less than you'd pay for 0800.
Here are your choices:
1: Keep your 0870 exactly as it is now? - accept the incoming call charges and perhaps look forward to more business rolling in.
2: Switch to an 0845? We'd have to advise caution at this stage. Ofcom have got 0845s in their sights now. An announcement is due later this year or early 2010.
3: Switch to a Planet Numbers 0844? You may consider this is your best option. Consider the following:
If this feels like a good option, click here to see the 0844 numbers currently available.
Remember, you can run your 0870 in parallel with your new 0844, with automated announcements from us, to let your customers get used to the switch.
Yes, it's confusing isn't it! If you'd like to chat through all this stuff a bit more, call us during normal office hours on: 08450 777 777.
The Planet Numbers Team
PS: don't forget you also get FREE Airmiles with every 0844 number you order.
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