One2Call Blog

Are your 0845 or 0870 number illegal?

Jul 7, 2014 9:30:51 AM / by One2Call posted in 0845, 0870, Blog, call centres, customer service, Law, national call rates


A blog by <a title="Alex Hodgson Google+" href=" rel=author" target="_blank">Alex Hodgson</a>.

We recently came across this article ( warning that as of 13th June 2014 it is illegal to use 0845 or 0870 phone numbers for customer helpdesk numbers.

We've seen little coverage of this elsewhere in the media so we don't think this has been communicated too well by the industry at all. Hopefully we can help change that!

What exactly is changing. and why?

A key point is 0845 and 0870 numbers aren't going to be illegal altogether!

We're no legal experts, but reading the article above, the spirit of the law seems to be that it's unfair to use potentially high charging numbers for lines which your customers, when they need to use them, have no option but to do so.

The change was prompted by a glut of complaints after the recent floods from flood victims who were racking up high call bills simply for trying to get through to insurance companies to lodge their complaints.

Am I affected?

Once again, big ups to Call Centre Helper who have produced this handy guide ( and here's a table from within it:


What number do you use for your customer service line?
You will be able to keep your 0800 number for customers calling in from landlines. However you will also have to provide a clearly-indicated 03 number alongside it – for customers calling in from a mobile phone. This is because 0800 numbers dialed from a mobile phone still incur premium rate charges.

01 numbers
e.g. Swansea 01792

No changes necessary.

02 numbers
e.g. London 0203

No changes necessary.
From 13th June 2014, it will be a legal requirement that these numbers are no longer provided for customer helplines. They must be switched to an 01, 02 or 03 number.

(or any other number beginning with 084 or 087)

Premium numbers beginning with 09


You can also download full details of the new law at the bottom.

If you are really worried about how this change will affect your business get legal advice. One of our customers, Ironmonger Curtis, are experts in business law and may be able to help.

What can I do?

We're recommending that if you are using an 0845 or 0870 number you change to an 03 numbers (such as 0333 or 0345).

The reason people can rack up such high bills from 'non-geographic' (eg/ national) numbers like 0845 and 0870 is because calls from mobiles can cost up to £0.45 per minute.

03 numbers are charged as local rate calls, even from mobile numbers. A knock on effect of this is that calls to 03 numbers are usually included in your free minutes on your mobile contract!

A bit of 0845 history

Here's a bit of history from on 0845 from one of our Directors, Danny Kirkby;

"0845 numbers used to be called ‘local rate’ non-geographic and used to cost about 3.5 p per minute to call them from anywhere, which was the same as calling 01, 02 number then (5-10 years ago). Now 01 and 02 are much cheaper but 0845 have remained at a higher rate.

"The rate you pay when calling these numbers are set by the CALLER’S provider. So mobile companies may charge up to 45p per min and they pocket the difference! When calling from a landline the rate is set by the CALLER’S provider again and this is typically from 1p to 3.5p per min and there is no profit for anyone other than the 0845 supplier, and this is very little.

03 number are the new ‘local rate’ non-geographic and are truly charged at ‘local rate’ the same as 01, 02 numbers in the UK. So if you have inclusive minutes on mobile contracts, when calling 03 numbers these are included and you won’t be charged extra. When calling from a landline you will be charged the same rate as calling any 01, 02 number. You as the receiver of the call will subsidise the caller and the non-geographic service at approximately 1p per minute.

"We have quote a few customers now, especially web businesses, asking for 03 numbers because they are more mobile friendly. We have some quite nice numbers yet to be claimed, and for high volume users we can offer bundles to get the charge rate very low".
We can help

Call us on 0114 230 0080 or email if you think you need to change your number.

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