Travel operators and major online and high street retailers are to be included in the EU Consumer Rights Directive that will ban the use of 084 and 087 numbers for customer services and complaints lines.
The changes that will be enforced in June 2014 will mean that customers calling these companies with an enquiry or complaint will no longer have to pay more than the basic rate of a phone call.
With a view to overhaul UK consumer law, the Directive aims to clarify and simplify consumer rights so that customers are better informed and protected when making a purchase of goods or services.
Originally some sectors were exempt from the rules, including travel companies, financial services, gambling and social services, but as the changes became law last week, it was announced that travel companies are also expected to comply with the changes by June 2014.
Some companies have already announced plans to change their general enquiries number to a national rate number, including Jet2 and TrekAmerica
CEO of 03NumberShop, Mahmood Mazhar, said of the changes: “We definitely think that these new rules should be embraced across the board. By removing higher and premium rate numbers from customer service and complaints lines, customers will be more inclined to interact with their chosen companies as they will not be paying over the odds to do so.
“Companies need not worry about the changes as the management services that are used with 08 numbers, such as call queuing, voicemails and virtual receptionist, are still available for use with the 03 number range and virtual geographic numbers, meaning that their telephony setup will stay the same, except their customers will not pay up to 40 pence per minute to call them.”