Thursday, 24 March 2011
David Clarke, Director of DBS Telecoms and an expert on 0845 numbers, gives an overview as to the basics of 0845 numbers.
Premium rate numbers such as 0871 are often charged at a higher rate than normal for the caller. 0845 numbers however were put in the place of 0345 and 0645 prefixes, and usually cost the same as local call rates. Costs are between 3p and 5p per minute depending on the service provider. In some cases however, such as when calling from a mobile phone, they can cost more. This depends on your mobile phone network provider. It is free for the owner of the 0845 number to receive calls, unlike 0800 numbers where the call is free to the customer and the owner pays to receive the call.
Typically, 0845 numbers are used for business service departments and public sector organisations. One example of this would be a retail store. A caller will phone the 0845 number and then be directed to their nearest store determined by the origin of the call. This is known as a geographic call plan.
0845 numbers are usually issued privately from telecoms resellers with the option to have extra features to increase customer satisfaction or for various other reasons. “So, for example, DBS can change where your 0845 number is pointed at any time for free” says Director of DBS Telecoms David Clarke. “We can set up diverts so that if you’re not at your desk, the call can follow an agreed plan for an agreed amount of time and divert to mobiles, other phone numbers or voicemails. We can even provide a fax to email service, so that if somebody sends a fax to your 0845 number, instead of printing out you will receive it on screen as an email”.
For businesses, such premium rate services are beneficial. In terms of communication, a company can advertise just one number nationwide rather than having multiple numbers to allocate to different departments or regions for example. This saves a company time and money by only having to produce one advert with one phone number on it, rather than a range of adverts for different stores, each one with a unique number on it.
Some premium rate numbers with the 09 prefix can suggest risky companies such as chat lines, whereas this is not always the case. Many legitimate businesses use a 0845 service for example, many of which are trusted and aim to provide a better service by allowing their customers to get in touch with the relevant department or area.
PhonepayPlus is a regulation organisation for phone-paid services in the United Kingdom. Its aim is to provide long term customer protection and regulate services using a code of practice which all phone number providers must abide by. If consumers feel they are being conned then they can report this to PhonepayPlus who will proceed from there.
Knowing this added protection is out there, both customers and businesses can feel confident in using premium rate numbers and that both parties will benefit from this service.