From Wednesday July 1st all UK mobile and fixed-line phone users will be able to call freephone (0800 and 0808) numbers without charge.
On the same day companies will need to change how they display the cost of calling numbers starting with 084, 087, 09 and 118 to ensure users understand how much their phone provider is charging and how much they’re paying the company or organisation they’re calling.
Under new rules imposed by telecoms regulator Ofcom, callers will pay an ‘access charge’ to their phone company and a ‘service charge’ to the company or organisation they’re calling.
As well as being shown on bills, the new charges must be clearly shown on adverts and, for example, on-screen prompts urging viewers to vote in competitions and quizzes.
Such adverts previously advised callers: “Calls cost xp per minute from a BT landline. Calls may vary from other landlines and calls from mobiles may cost considerably more.”
The new system will require the number owner to state how much they’re charging in addition to the phone company’s access charge so users understand the full cost of calling.
Sharon White, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “UK Calling is the biggest change to telephone calls in over a decade.
“Together we spend around £900 million a year calling service numbers, so it’s important that people understand the cost before they pick up the phone.
“Callers will be able to see what they’re paying and where their money is going. You can visit ukcalling.info for more information on the changes, and what they mean for you.”