Telephone numbers which begin with an 0845 prefix are UK business numbers with no specific location and typically cost more than calls to a normal landline number.
Therefore callers to these numbers are charged the same rate whether they are phoning from the office next door or all the way from Unst, the most northerly of the Shetland Isles, to the Isles of Scilly.
As with all numbers starting 08, the fee for 0845 numbers is made up of two parts; an access charge paid to your phone company and a service charge levied by the organisation you are calling.
Although prices do not vary due to distance from the organisation you are calling, charges do vary according to your telecoms provider and the organisation you are calling.
Is 0845 classed as an area code?
In short, 0845 is not an area code. It is a non-geographic number, which means that it is not limited to use or linked to any single area. It is for this reason that many UK companies purchase 0845 numbers. However, they are not as popular as they once were.
Charges due to phone companies vary from the eight to 15 pence per minute paid by Talk Talk customers to the 45p to 62p levied by the Vodafone and O2 mobile networks.
On top of this, organisations being called are able to charge an additional service charge of up to seven pence. Organisations which require customers to call an 0845 number must clearly state the service charge element of the call fees on all advertising and paperwork.
Recently, consumer groups have protested against the use of 0845 numbers for the provision of services by Government departments and other public and health agencies, accusing them of “profiteering” from people who have no option but to call a statutory service.