Thursday, 2 July 2015

Guide for businesses to the UK Calling changes 1 July 2015

Guide for businesses to the UK Calling changes 1 July 2015

If your organisation uses a ‘non-geographic’ service number for people to contact you – that’s one beginning 08, 09 or 118 – you need to be aware of major changes to how these numbers are charged.

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 changes will be implemented on 1 July 2015 under the strapline ‘UK Calling’. The communications regulator Ofcom is working with major phone companies to communicate the changes to consumers.

In future, the cost to the consumer of calling a service number (starting 084, 087, 09 or 118) will be made up of two clear parts:

1. An access charge.

This goes to the caller’s telephone company, charged as pence per minute.

2. A service charge.

This is the remainder; it includes any revenue going to the service provider (that is you, the party being called), as well as revenue going to the ‘terminating call provider’ (or TCP: the company that provides the number to you).

In another change happening at the same time, all Freephone numbers beginning 0800 or 0808 are being made free for consumers to call from mobile phones, just as they usually are from landlines.

What you need to do

Speak to the company that provides your 08 or 09 telephone number. If you haven't done so already, you may wish to discuss with your TCP how the changes will affect your organisation and the way you use service numbers.
Ask them to confirm the service charge for your number or numbers. Your TCP should be able to let you know the service charge linked to the number or numbers you currently use.
Decide if the service charge is suitable. If you are not happy with the service charge linked to the number or numbers you currently use, you may need to consider changing your telephone number(s).
Review all your materials and advertising. If your business or organisation is contacted on a number beginning 084, 087, 09 or 118, you must ensure that your service charge is clearly displayed wherever you advertise or promote that number. The service charge should be prominent and in close proximity to the number itself. The recommended form of wording is:

“Calls cost xp [or xp per minute] plus your phone company's access charge.”

This is likely to mean that your service charge should be provided alongside the related number in all communications directed towards current or potential users of the service, where the use of the number is promoted or advertised. These communications are likely to include as a minimum:

  • Any broadcast advertisements on television or radio;
  • Any press advertising;
  • Any online advertising, including paid-for search listings;
  • Advertising bill boards and posters;
  • Public notices, press releases and other public relations material which promotes access to the service offered on the numbers, or promotes contact with the organisation using the number;
  • Point of sale displays and other fixed advertising;
  • Packages, wrappers, labels, tickets, timetables and price lists;
  • Service directories; and
  • Company websites.


If you use a Freephone number to be contacted, you may wish to discuss with your TCP the implications of calls to your organisation becoming free from mobile phones. It is likely that in most cases the cost of receiving Freephone numbers will increase.
Dialling service numbers

Most businesses make outbound calls to 08, 09 or 118 numbers.
The new charging system (the access and service charges) applies to calls made from residential lines and consumer mobile phones. Phone operators will continue to have flexibility over how they charge for these calls from business phones.

Service Charge Caps

Calls to numbers starting 0800 and 0808 will be free to call for consumers. There will be caps on the maximum amount of the service charge for the other affected non-geographic numbers, with the exception of 118 directory-enquiry numbers, with the caps varying according to the number range. The 084 and 087 ranges will be capped at 7p and 13p respectively (per minute or as a fixed fee and including VAT). The 09 range will be capped at £3.60 per minute and £6 per call (including VAT).


PhonepayPlus and the Advertising Standards Authority will be responsible for enforcing the requirements for including service charge information in advertising.
More Information

For more information on how this affects you please contact: Plum Communications Limited 0161 622 3500 or email

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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

New Code of Practice for Premium Rate Calls

PhonepayPlus launches new Code of Practice 1st July 2015

On 1st July 2015 Phonepay Plus which regulates Premium Rate Numbers in the UK released this statement:

Following the end of the stand-still period in which European Union member states could comment on the proposed thirteenth edition of the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice (the ‘Code’), PhonepayPlus launches the Code today which takes immediate effect. In addition PhonepayPlus gives notice of various other determinations, and of the publication of various other documents in support of the Code.

The 13th Code of Practice

We issued a statement following consultation on the Code on 26 March 2015, which outlined our final determinations in light of the constructive feedback from 14 parties, including two trade bodies who represent a significant range of stakeholders’ interests. This detailed statement on the Code consultation can be found on our website here.

Ofcom has already signalled that the 13th Code proposals meet the tests set out in the Communications Act 2003 and it has today given its final approval to the Code following the EU stand-still period. Ofcom's statement on the Code can be found here.

The key changes that you will find in the 13th Code are:

·          A new rule requiring providers to possess any qualifications and/or licences necessary in law before operating a PRS.

·          An updated rule on the requirement not to take advantage of vulnerable consumers.

·         The removal of any spending caps currently contained within the Code or prior permission regimes - with the amounts and actions associated with them to be set outside the Code.

·         The raising of the “forced release” cap on live chat and sexual entertainment services from £30 to £45 per call (incl. VAT) – with new requirements to inform consumers clearly when they have spent £15 (incl. VAT) and require them to clearly opt in to continue when they have spent £30 (incl. VAT).

·         The raising of the single purchase cap, and monthly subscription cap, on Children’s Services from £3 to £5 (incl. VAT), and a new purchase cap for Children’s Services of £20 (incl. VAT) per service in any given billing cycle.

·         The removal of a universal requirement for all PRS to supply and promote a non-PRS UK phone number for consumer enquiries (but to maintain appropriate and effective free or low-cost complaints processes).

·         The introduction of Special Conditions to apply to defined higher risk service types – these will replace existing “prior permissions” regimes.

Notice of caps, thresholds and actions associated with section 3.12
The removal of spending caps and other amounts and actions previously found in the body of the Code has been made possible by a new framework for imposing such caps, thresholds and actions as required. This is set out at section 3.12 of the Code.
PhonepayPlus published the first Notice of caps, thresholds and actions on 26 March 2015 and the requirements set out in that Notice take effect as of today. The Notice is found on our website here: Notice of actions and thresholds under paragraph 3.12

Special Conditions Notices
The changes to the Code also led to a full consultation on new Special Conditions for a range of service types that PhonepayPlus considered to pose a higher level of risk. The framework for Special Conditions is found in section 3.11 of the Code, and the introduction of Special Conditions is to make sure those risks are managed and achieve high compliance standards. 

The proposals were set out in a consultation paper published on 31 March 2015: Guidance and new Special conditions associated with the 13th edition of the Code of Practice.

Following consultation PhonepayPlus is publishing ten (10) Notices of Special Conditions. The Special Conditions Notices take effect as of today.
They can be found on our website here. 

Implementation of changes with a technical element
Following dialogue with industry stakeholders in relation to the changes taking effect as of 1 July 2015, there are a small number of regulatory standards that are being introduced for the first time and that require technical developments. PhonepayPlus will look to collaborate with industry members to make sure all technical standards are fully implemented before 1 August 2015. During this period PhonepayPlus will not take enforcement action in relation to these standards. A list of standards to which this transition period applies is set out below:

·         Reminders provided in call after £15 has been spent;

·         Consent to further charges in call after £30 has been spent;

·         Receipt requirements set out in PPV2 (see Notice of Special Conditions for (i) ‘Pay-Per-View services’).

Guidance in support of the 13th Code
PhonepayPlus issues Guidance in support of its Code of Practice to assist people in understanding its expectations and help industry achieve high compliance standards. A full review of Guidance took place during the Code Review Project, and we set out our review findings in the consultation paper published on 31 March 2015.

PhonepayPlus proposed changes to seven pieces of Guidance. Following consultation some amendments have been made, including the decision to separate the advice given on ‘Privacy’ from that dealing with ‘Consent to charge’. These changes are explained in our Final Statement on Guidance and Special conditions. 

The full collection of Guidance includes both those items consulted upon earlier this year and the existing Guidance which continues to offer effective advice for compliance with the 13th Code. Those items of Guidance that have been transferred across to continue to support the 13th Code have had minor factual amendments to present correct information and clear paragraph numbering from the new Code.

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