Money alert: Callers to be given clearer charges on premium numbers

From next month, if you call a premium-rate number you will be told the cost of the call but also that an access charge will be added

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The Independent Online

From the start of next month, if you call a premium-rate number starting with 084, 087, 09 and 118, you will be told the cost of the call but also that an access charge will be added depending on which phone supplier you use. Meanwhile your phone company will have to let you know what your access charge is.

The changes are designed to make it easier to work out how much you'll pay if you use a so-called "service" number. But the effect will be that many people cut down on these costly calls, reckons Dan Howdle of the comparison site Cable.co.uk. "Upfront warning of the cost of calling 08, 09 and 118 numbers will cause a sharp decline in their use."

The Fair Telecoms Campaign has been battling for five years for the changes, and for public-sector bodies and companies to stop using rip-off 084 and 087 numbers.

"The identification of the 'service charge' makes it clear that 084/087 numbers should never be used where the imposition of a charge for the service delivered to callers cannot be justified," the campaigners said.

Meanwhile freephone numbers beginning 0800 and 0808 will finally actually become free if you're calling from a mobile phone.

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