|Service numbers with a surcharge
|Typically 11p to 62p per minute, plus up to 7p per call (see below)
|0843, 0845, 0870, 0871, 0872
What are 0844 numbers?
Telephone numbers starting with 0844 are 'service numbers' charged at special rates.
Unlike traditional landline phone numbers, 0844 numbers are not associated with any specific geographic location.
Calls to 0844 numbers are typically charged at higher rates than calls to normal landlines due to the inclusion of a surcharge or 'service charge' to pay for the service being provided. Common uses for 0844 numbers include:
- Chargeable information and support lines
- Event ticket and travel booking services
- Conference call services
- Pre-sales information lines
Using 0844 numbers for customer service lines is now forbidden by law and most reputable companies no longer use such numbers for enquiries.
0844 number call costs
Special two-part charging arrangements apply when calling 0844 numbers:
|Set by your phone company and charged whenever you call any number starting 084, 087, 09 or 118.
|Varies from around 12p per minute on landlines to up to 55p per minute from mobiles.
|An extra charge that benefits the organisation you are calling. They are responsible for informing you of what charge rate applies.
|Up to 7p per minute, 7p per call or a combination of both.
Total 0844 number call costs will typically be anywhere from 11p to 62p per minute, plus up to an additional 7p per-call charge.
This means that 0844 numbers will usually cost more to call than a normal landline. They will not be included in any free call allowances or bundled minutes that your tariff offers.
Missed calls from 0844 numbers
Some low-value scams have been run using 0844 numbers. Typically, the owners of a rogue 0844 number will automatically ring thousands of regular landline and mobile phone numbers, but hang up almost immediately. The people who receive these calls then see the 0844 number in their list of missed calls – and many will call the number back out of curiosity.
The 0844 number's owner then makes money from each call back they receive. Often, they will arrange for the 0844 number to connect the caller to a long recorded message or even a fake ringing tone, as a way of keeping them on the line for longer and increasing the call cost.
This kind of scam is often known as a 'callback scam', 'cost trap' or 'wangiri'.
The easiest way to avoid falling victim to the scam is simply not to call back unfamiliar numbers that start with 070, 084, 087 or 09.
Expensive 0844 numbers for companies and public services
Companies are prohibited from using service numbers such as 0844 numbers for post-sales customer service lines and most organisations have also stopped using them for other enquiries due to their unpopularity with the public.
If you find an 0844 contact number for an organisation when searching online, double-check the details on their own official website first. The number you have found may well be a money-making number that belongs to a third-party and not the organisation itself. Such numbers will usually still connect to the organisation you want to contact, but will cost more than calling direct and are a potential security risk as a third-party could be listening in or recording your call.