Businesses that offer customer service phone lines face the prospect of court action if they don't scrap premium-rate numbers by the June 13 deadline, leading North East telecoms expert Mike Odysseas has warned.
From this Friday, June 13, it will be illegal to provide a premium-rate number for a customer service line and it will also be a legal requirement for businesses, which offer a complaints or queries phone service to the public, to instead provide a standard rate or freephone number.
Premium rate numbers include those starting with 0845, 0870 and 09. Standard rate numbers include 01, 02 and 03.
Any company that fails to comply with the new law and still offers premium-rate customer service numbers can be taken to court by customers seeking to reclaim excessive charges. In addition, Trading Standards can also take non-complying companies to court.
This new law is part of the Consumer Rights Directive, which aims to clarify consumer law, in particular improving consumer rights when purchasing goods and services in the UK and EU.
Mike Odysseas, managing director of Teesside-based Odyssey Systems, “Friday 13th could be a nightmare day for businesses that haven’t removed premium-rate customer service phone numbers. By law customers will no longer be forced to pay additional charges incurred by calling these numbers when they’re making a complaint or enquiry. The longer companies fail to comply with the law the more opportunity there will be for legal action against them.
“This law change does not apply to business-to-business services, but will affect those consumer-focused businesses that use the revenue from these calls to support their customer service function.”