If your organisation uses a ‘non-geographic’ service number for people to contact you - that’s one beginning 08, 09 or 118 - you need to be aware of changes made in 2015 to how these numbers are charged.
The cost to the consumer of calling a service number (starting 084, 087, 09 or 118) must now be made up of two clear parts:
Review all your materials and advertising. If your business or organisation is contacted on a number beginning 084, 087, 09 or 118, you must ensure that your service charge is clearly displayed wherever you advertise or promote that number. The service charge should be prominent and in close proximity to the number itself. The recommended form of wording is:
“Calls cost xp [or xp per minute] plus your phone company's access charge.”
This is likely to mean that your service charge should be provided alongside the related number in all communications directed towards current or potential users of the service, where the use of the number is promoted or advertised. These communications are likely to include as a minimum:
The numbers where access and service charges apply are those beginning 0843, 0844, 0845, 0870, 0871, 0872, 0873, 09, and 118.
Phone-paid Services Authority and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regulate this area. More information is available on their websites, including details about what types of material falls within their remit.
The 084 number range, and any 087 numbers with a service charge of less than 7p per minute (or 7p if the call has a fixed per-call charge),are regulated by the ASA.
The 09 and 118 number ranges, as well as any 087 numbers with a service charge of 7p per minute (or a 7p fixed per-call charge) or higher, are regulated by Phone-paid Services Authority (all figures are inclusive of VAT).
Phone-paid Services Authority and the Advertising Standards Authority are responsible for enforcing the requirements for including service charge information. More information about their penalties for non-compliance is available on their websites (and the website of the ASA’s sister body, the Committee of Advertising Practice.