The government has announced that premium rate customer service phone numbers are to be banned as part of the implementation of the EU’s Consumer Rights Directive.
It is estimated that customers calling premium 084 and 087 numbers to complain costs up to £2 billion per year, accounting for 12% of total call traffic, with many major retailers such as Argos and PC World using the numbers.
Under the new plans, retailers and other businesses affected will be required to offer phone numbers that cost no more to consumers than the cost of a call to a landline or mobile phone.
Not all companies will be affected by this move, however, with the gambling, financial services and the travel and transport industries excluded from the regulations. Government departments are also exempt from the legislation.
The plans were unveiled by consumer minister Jo Swinson, and are expected to be implemented by 13th June 2014.