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Ofcom's proposed call cost advice

The following illustration is from Ofcom's consultation - Simplifying Non-Geographic Numbers.

This shows the type of call cost advice which Ofcom proposes to be applied as a mandatory requirement for ALL references to Premium Rate (09 and 087) and Business Rate (084) numbers.

I will leave it to readers to imagine the illustrations that would accompany other examples, but the text (using current cases and rates) would be as follows:

To enquire about your Tax Credits, CALL: 0845 300 3900
This call costs 2p per minute plus your phone company's access charge.

To book an appointment at the surgery, CALL: 0844 477 1799
This call costs 5p per minute plus your phone company's access charge.

It must be noted that this is doing nothing more than making the present situation transparent. The present "access charges" (which are not applied on calls to geographic numbers) extend to around 40p per minute.

Some may be content to pay a premium to perhaps further the career of a singer. It is wholly unacceptable for citizens to suffer a "Service Charge" when contacting HMRC or DWP, or accessing NHS services.

The additional "Access Charge" which telephone companies (other than BT, which is prohibited from doing so) feel entitled to add on calls to these types of numbers makes use of these numbers by public bodies even worse. Not only are they receiving financial subsidy from callers, they are also helping telephone companies to boost their revenue.

Ofcom is expected to come forward with a response to the consultation and proposals for implementation in the Autumn of 2011.

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