Freephone numbers are finally free, literally

You can now make free calls to 0800 and 0808 numbers from both mobile and landline numbers, a new development that Ofcom prefers to call the biggest change to telephone calls in more than a decade.

At the same time, changes have been implemented on calls to service numbers like 084, 087, 09 and 118 which are used by businesses, competitions, directories and helplines. These will include calls made for voting in popular shows like X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing.

As per the new rules, you will now be able to view the exact cost of making calls to these numbers, which will include access charge and service charge levied by the company being called.

The service charge will have to be disclosed by companies whenever and wherever they advertise their numbers and ditto applies to network providers in terms of access charges.

The move bids goodbye to situations where you could make calls to certain service numbers without fully comprehending the actual costs of making such calls. Ofcom estimates that customers in the UK spend over £900 million every year while making calls to service numbers. That will surely change this year.

So, whenever you see a service number advertised by a business, competition, directory or helpline, the pricing should reflect as “calls cost Xp per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge.” This will also enable you to compare access charges offered by various network providers to select the best rates as per your needs.

The new rules by Ofcom lays to rest those days where customers were levied disproportionately high charges by rogue operators who simply stated 'costs may vary'.

Ed Richards, Chief of Ofcom, said, "These changes will be the biggest for UK telephone customers in more than a decade. We expect them to restore people's confidence in using phone services, and to increase competition."  

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