Non-geographic call services (NGCS) – Changes and your responsibilities

changes to non geo numbersAs a provider of NGCS there are some important changes that we need to make businesses aware of.

What are the changes?

 The changes that come into effect in summer 2015 and will impact any organisation that uses 084x or 087x number services. From 1st July 2015 you will be required to advertise the cost of calling your non geographic number in a particular fashion so that you comply with the new requirements set by Ofcom, PhonePayPlus and the Advertising Standards Agency.

The change will affect you if you use any 084x, 087x (including 0843, 0844, 0845 and 0870) number.

The cost to call these NGCS numbers will be now be split into two parts;

An access charge (which will be stipulated by the caller’s phone company), and

A service charge (which has already been set for your number range).

Why the Change?

Research has found that telephone users are confused about how much it costs to call service numbers. This means people can lack confidence in these numbers, and sometimes avoid using them. The new system will introduce greater confidence into this important market by enabling organisations to say how much calls to them will cost. The communications regulator Ofcom is working with major phone companies to communicate the changes to consumers.

What you need to do

Prepare to update all your materials and advertising. When the new system comes into effect, on 1st July 2015, companies and organisations that provide services using 084 or 087, numbers will be required to communicate the charges clearly. Wherever you advertise or promote one of these service numbers, you must ensure that your service charge is displayed in a prominent position, and in close proximity to the telephone number, in all cases.

 

Check your wording. As an example, you could advertise this as the following:

“Calls to this number will cost Xp per minute plus your telephone company’s access charge”

Xp = relates to the banding for your specific number range

 

This is likely to be considered to be compliant – but we recommend you seek individual advice from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) at asa.org.uk/industry-advertisers

Your new pricing information must be ready to go in your advertising, promotional material and communications from the point of the change, which is the 1st July 2015.

From the 1st July 2015, companies that use NGCS services will be subject to monitoring by the Advertising Standards Agency and PhonepayPlus and we have set out the recommended standards required to help ensure you do not fall foul of the new regime and its regulatory authorities.

Is there an alternative?

You need to decide if 08 type numbers are still the most appropriate contact numbers to publish to the type of callers you wish to attract to your organisation. There are other number ranges available like 03, or even Geographic Numbers. If you would like further information about these alternative numbers and the additional services we can add to your Inbound numbers then please do not hesitate to contact us.