Stop the call confusion

08 September 2005

Phone on tableAdvertisers quoting 084 or 087 telephone numbers that suggest a ‘local’ or ‘national’ call rate have been told that they need to make the cost of calls to those numbers much clearer to consumers.

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) – the body responsible for writing and enforcing the advertising rules for non-broadcast media - has told advertisers who quote 084 and 087 (or non-geographic numbers) in their non-broadcast advertisements that they must:

  • not describe calls to those numbers as being charged at ‘local’ or ‘national’ rate.
  • state the maximum cost of calls to BT customers and indicate that call costs using non-BT phone lines may vary.

On their introduction, calls to 084 numbers were charged at the BT standard local rate and those to 087 numbers were charged at BT standard national rate. Calls made from other phone companies were often more expensive.

BT has abolished its standard rate for the majority of its customers, making the description of calls being charged at local or national rate meaningless for them. As a result most consumers dialling 084 or 087 numbers have no idea what the cost of those calls will be.

CAP Secretary, Roger Wisbey said “Advertisers might think that by including non-geographic numbers in their ads, they are being more customer-friendly by enabling consumers to call them at a local or national rate from wherever they are based in the UK. In fact, those calls might cost consumers far more than anticipated. The new requirements should help to ensure that consumers are more aware of the charge for making calls to 084 and 087 numbers.”

Read the Ad Alert on Advertising 0845 and 087 numbers.

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