The commercial balance of operating a free virtual 0845 service which gives you a robust inbound cloud solution is achievable without the service costing you any money.
However this must be balanced with the negative perceptions created by the higher access charges applied by the mobile networks, these access charges apply when you call 084 or 087. As 0845 is only 2p, 3p, 4p or 5p/minute it is in itself not expensive. However EE & Vodafone charging 40+p/minute on top have created negativity linked to 0845.
Also adjustments in BIS regulations mean that retailers & UK trading companies have to adopt a 01, 02, 03 or 080 number for customer service/complaint lines. Government departments have been similarly advised by cabinet office guidance. New FCA regulations is doing the same within the financial sector.
This means that you can usually just replace the 0845 number with 0345 and that this call will not have the same price as the 0845 would have, and in the majority of cases will already be included in your ‘mobile bundle’ talk time allowance, and so no access charges apply.
A Timeline of UK Legislative Changes
Ofcom made matching 034 and 037 numbers available in 2009 for users of 084 and 087 numbers to migrate. Many have now taken that option. This mainly affects sales and enquiry 0845 number lines.
Published through the BIS on 13 December 2013, regulation 41 of the consumer Contracts regulations 2013 requires retailers, traders and passenger transport companies to use 01, 02, 03 or 080 numbers for post sales helplines.
The new rules came into force on 13 June 2014 where an organisation hasn’t complied, regulation 41 offers the right to a refund of all call costs over and above whatever an equivalent call to a 01, 02 or 0300 telephone number would have cost.
Ofcom published regulations on 12 December 2013 requiring all users of 084, 087 and 09 numbers to declare the service charge anywhere their number is advertised. The new rules came into force on 1 July 2015.
The cabinet office published guidance for significant government departments, their businesses and other bodies across the wider public sector landscape on 26 December 2013. This recommended they stop the usage of 084 and 087 numbers and as an alternative used 01, 02, 03 or 080 numbers. UK departments have complied by switching from 0845 to 0300 or 0345 numbers. This includes HMRC, DWP, and most local authorities.
The FCA has recently published similar regulation for the financial sector. From 26 October 2015 banks and insurance companies have to provide numbers starting 01, 02, 03 or 080 for customer contact.
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