As of today it is illegal to provide 0845 or 0870 telephone numbers to consumers as an option for contacting Customer Services. The new law was announced in December 2013 and gave UK businesses 6 months to make the necessary changes.
The new law also means that it is also illegal to offer free-phone 080X numbers to mobile users and businesses who offer these telephone numbers should offer a 01, 02 or 03 number to mobile users until June 2015. Tesco have done a great job of this as you can see on their website.
From June 2015 Ofcom will have made 080X numbers free to mobile phone users too.
Earlier today we checked over 90 company websites to see if they had changed their contact information. While many businesses have made the changes necessary we found 50 well-known companies who have failed to comply with the new laws and clearly advertise 0845 or 0870 telephone numbers as their information or customer service lines.
If a customer is forced to use a 08X telephone number to contact customer services then they are eligible to take the company to court and claim back any excessive charges. It is understood that Trading Standards and the Office of Fair Trading will also be involved with bringing complaints against businesses who are not compliant with the new legislation.
During our research we were surprised to find one of the most loved brands in the world, Apple, have failed to update their website to offer an alternative phone number when even a tech giant like Microsoft have managed to comply with the new law.
Even huge utility companies such as Yorkshire Water, Scottish Water and npower have failed to take the steps necessary to change the information on their website for today. We even found some businesses such as Virgin Media have failed to update their social media teams with the necessary information.
A list of the non-compliant businesses is below:
Dorothy Perkins (Arcadia)
First Transpennine Express
House of Fraser
Northern Ireland Water
South West Water
If you would like a copy of the information here is a link to the spreadsheet.