UK Area Codes and Phone Number Information

Customer services call charges

It is illegal to use expensive phone numbers starting 084, 087 or 09 for most types of customer service enquiries and has been since new regulations were introduced during 2014 and 2015.

Banned numbers for customer service

Almost all helplines or customer service lines relating to an existing purchase or a current contract must be charged at standard rates. Numbers starting 084, 087 and 09 are not allowed as they are charged at more than standard rates.

The numbers that must not be used include:

Note that although 0845 and 0870 numbers were commonly used for customer services in the past, they are specifically included in the list of numbers that are no longer acceptable.

Only standard landline rate numbers (starting 01, 02 or 03) or freephone (0800 and 0808) numbers are now allowed for after-sales enquiries. A regular mobile phone number is also acceptable in certain cases – such as for contacting a self-employed tradesman or a small business.

Exceptions to the rules

Premium rate numbers are still allowed for sales lines and pre-sales enquiries. However, the cost of calling such numbers must be clearly advertised wherever they are published.

Paid-for services that aren't part of an existing contract – such as technical helplines or information lines – are still allowed to use premium rate numbers.

The rules also do not apply to a few specific types of business such as package holidays, timeshares, property construction and sales, residential lettings, vending machines and gambling.

How to deal with businesses that break the rules

If you need to contact a company that wrongly uses 084 or 087 numbers for enquiries about an existing order, booking, purchase or service:

Background to the ban

The requirement that customers should not face excess fees for enquiring or complaining about an existing product or service originated in an EU directive. The specific rules were laid out in the Consumer Contracts Regulations of 2013 and came into force in 2014.

Although the rules did not originally cover financial services, the Financial Conduct Authority followed suit by imposing identical rules on banks, building societies and insurers during 2015.

Further infomation:
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