New rules on UK helpline numbers – 6 weeks to deadline

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New rules on customer helplines will come into force in the UK on June 13, 2014. The rules require customer helplines for most industries, including Premium Rate Services (PRS), to be charged at standard, mobile or free rates.

The PhonepayPlus Code of Practice already mandates non-PRS numbers for customer helplines (geographic numbers, 03 or 084 ranges, and under certain circumstances 087), but the new rules will go further.

The legislation has been published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and implements the EU Consumer Rights Directive (2011).

From June 13 the use of numbers on the 09, 087 and 084 ranges to operate a telephone line for consumer contact about a product already purchased will be prohibited.

All helplines relating to consumer contracts are covered by the Directive, with the exception of some specialist sectors: gambling, package travel, timeshare, and financial services.

Further details are set out in the government’s original press release https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-cuts-off-costly-calls

Specific guidance for PRS providers can be found here http://www.phonepayplus.org.uk/For-Business/Code-and-Help/Code-Compliance-Updates/Effect-of-changes-in-consumer-law-on-the-use-of-premium-rate-numbers.aspx

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