Hambleton to revert to its old phone number to make calls cheaper

The Advertiser Series: Council dumps 0845 number Council dumps 0845 number

A DISTRICT council is taking a step backwards – in an effort to make life cheaper for callers.

Hambleton District Council is phasing out its 0845 1211 555 number - and urging customers to now only call it on its old number - 01609-779977.

The 0845 number was introduced in 2004 to enable residents across the district to call on the local rate.

But with many people now using mobiles and with 0845 numbers not included in many inclusive call allowances, calls are often more expensive to such numbers.

“There are a number of reasons to justify this change,” said the authority’s portfolio holder for customer services, Coun Nigel Knapton.

“But the main reason is we are listening to our customers and making it cheaper for them to contact us.

“In addition new legislation is being implemented in June which states that customers should not be made to pay extra for attempting to rectify problems which are not their fault.”

He added: “Callers should not pay substantial charges to access core public services, particularly for vulnerable or low income groups."

Comments (2)

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5:46pm Fri 11 Apr 14

colin1977 says...

It would make sense if the article actually told people what the number is.........01609 779977........
It would make sense if the article actually told people what the number is.........01609 779977........ colin1977
  • Score: 0

11:47am Sat 12 Apr 14

Ian_SE says...

In 2003, BT scrapped the price differential between calling local and distant 01 and 02 numbers. At a stroke "local rate" ceased to exist. Thereafter, calls to 01 and 02 numbers cost the same amount irrespective of distance called.

In 2004, BT moved their customers on to inclusive price plans where an unlimited number of calls to 01 and 02 numbers, of up to 60 minutes duration per call, were included for a fixed monthly fee. Calls to 0845 and 0870 numbers were not included in these deals instantly making them relatively more expensive than calls to 01 and 02 numbers.

In moving to an 0845 number in 2004, Hambleton Council made exactly the wrong move, forcing residents to pay over the odds for their calls to the council for the next decade. Calls to 0845 numbers incur a Service Charge of around 2p/min to the benefit of the called party. Callers were subsidising the running costs of the 0845 line through this hidden charge.

Where this subsidy is gained by services already paid for by taxation, the Fair Telecoms Campaign dubbed this the "telephone tax". The National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee subsequently investigated this stealth charge and each produced damning reports on the subject. The latter also called upon the Cabinet Office to produce a policy recommending 03 numbers be used in place of 084 and 087 numbers.

The Cabinet Office published guidance for all government departments and public services on 26 December 2013. It recommends 01, 02 and 03 numbers be selected as the default option and that where both new 01, 02 or 03 numbers and old 084 or 087 numbers are offered, that the 01, 02 and 03 numbers must be advertised as the 'primary' numbers.

The Cabinet Office guidance is the main reason for Hambleton Council changing their number. Indeed, the council representative's quote comes directly from the Cabinet Office guidance document. Many other councils around the country have also been forced into making this change. These include Lancashire County Council and Rochdale Borough Council. All others must follow. Nationally, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Student Loans Company have also changed to 03 numbers in recent weeks and Citizens Advice has also been forced to commit to this change.

On 13 June 2014 it becomes illegal for traders to use 084, 087 and 09 numbers for customer service lines. The legislation was published by BIS on 13 December 2013. The new rules are based on an EU Directive published in October 2011. A number of retailers have recently changed their numbers and all others must follow. It would be inappropriate for government departments and public services to continue using the types of telephone numbers that it has banned traders from using hence the Cabinet Office guidance.

From 26 June 2015, all users of 084, 087 and 09 numbers will be required to declare the Service Charge incurred by callers. This will make it clear that the called party is financially benefitting from the call, and by how much. The legislation was published by Ofcom on 12 December 2013. The intention is that 084, 087 and 09 numbers will return to being used purely for chargeable services paid for as the call is made. These include recorded-information lines, international call-forwarding gateways and subscription-free conference calling facilities.
In 2003, BT scrapped the price differential between calling local and distant 01 and 02 numbers. At a stroke "local rate" ceased to exist. Thereafter, calls to 01 and 02 numbers cost the same amount irrespective of distance called. In 2004, BT moved their customers on to inclusive price plans where an unlimited number of calls to 01 and 02 numbers, of up to 60 minutes duration per call, were included for a fixed monthly fee. Calls to 0845 and 0870 numbers were not included in these deals instantly making them relatively more expensive than calls to 01 and 02 numbers. In moving to an 0845 number in 2004, Hambleton Council made exactly the wrong move, forcing residents to pay over the odds for their calls to the council for the next decade. Calls to 0845 numbers incur a Service Charge of around 2p/min to the benefit of the called party. Callers were subsidising the running costs of the 0845 line through this hidden charge. Where this subsidy is gained by services already paid for by taxation, the Fair Telecoms Campaign dubbed this the "telephone tax". The National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee subsequently investigated this stealth charge and each produced damning reports on the subject. The latter also called upon the Cabinet Office to produce a policy recommending 03 numbers be used in place of 084 and 087 numbers. The Cabinet Office published guidance for all government departments and public services on 26 December 2013. It recommends 01, 02 and 03 numbers be selected as the default option and that where both new 01, 02 or 03 numbers and old 084 or 087 numbers are offered, that the 01, 02 and 03 numbers must be advertised as the 'primary' numbers. The Cabinet Office guidance is the main reason for Hambleton Council changing their number. Indeed, the council representative's quote comes directly from the Cabinet Office guidance document. Many other councils around the country have also been forced into making this change. These include Lancashire County Council and Rochdale Borough Council. All others must follow. Nationally, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Student Loans Company have also changed to 03 numbers in recent weeks and Citizens Advice has also been forced to commit to this change. On 13 June 2014 it becomes illegal for traders to use 084, 087 and 09 numbers for customer service lines. The legislation was published by BIS on 13 December 2013. The new rules are based on an EU Directive published in October 2011. A number of retailers have recently changed their numbers and all others must follow. It would be inappropriate for government departments and public services to continue using the types of telephone numbers that it has banned traders from using hence the Cabinet Office guidance. From 26 June 2015, all users of 084, 087 and 09 numbers will be required to declare the Service Charge incurred by callers. This will make it clear that the called party is financially benefitting from the call, and by how much. The legislation was published by Ofcom on 12 December 2013. The intention is that 084, 087 and 09 numbers will return to being used purely for chargeable services paid for as the call is made. These include recorded-information lines, international call-forwarding gateways and subscription-free conference calling facilities. Ian_SE
  • Score: 8

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