Telephone numbers that start with 0845 are ‘business rate numbers’ which tend to cost more than calls made to standard numbers. As well as the cost per minute, calls made to 0845 numbers typically involve an additional ‘access charge’. This fee is meant to pay for the service supplied. Unlike phone numbers that start with 01 and 02, the 0845 number is a UK wide number. One of the benefit of 0845 numbers for businesses is that they are non-geographic numbers.
Who uses 0845 numbers?
To understand who uses 0845 numbers it’s worth looking at what they’re used for. For businesses, 0845 numbers offer them a way of making an income. This comes from the ‘access charge’ that makes up the cost. Apart from income generation, the 0845 number has some common uses. These include:
- Charging for the use of information and support lines.
- Making bookings for events and travel.
- Offer conference call services.
- Pre-sales information lines.
Any company or organisation is able to make use of a 0845 number. The use of these numbers is not limited to any one type or size of business. For example the catering equipment company, Nisbet’s use 0845 numbers for a wide range of their services. On the other hand, the accounts software company Sage use 0845 numbers to offer information and support lines for their products. Likewise when it comes to pre-sales information, the vehicle tracking company ‘Tracker’ use a 0845 number for people to call for more details.
Also, the use of 0845 numbers is not limited to the private sector. They are also used in the public and voluntary sector. For example, both the NHS in Wales and the Salvation Army are two bodies that use 0845 numbers to provide information and support. NHS Wales use the number for several dental helplines that members of the public can contact. The Salvation Army makes use of 0845 numbers for enquiries relating to item collection as well as their family tracing service.
When are 0845 numbers not used?
While businesses are free to use 0845 numbers, there is one area where they cannot use them. Since 2014 it has been against the law for a company to offer a 0845 number for people to call their customer service line. If someone wants to contact the customer service department, then the business has to provide a standard rate number (i.e. 01, 02 or 03) for them to call. At the start, the ban only applied to retailers, traders and passenger transport. This changed in October 2015 when it was widened to include the financial sector. The idea behind the ban is that the customer shouldn’t have to pay more than the standard rate when raising a concern.
The move away from 0845 numbers
Although the use of 0845 numbers is reducing, they are likely to be around for a little while longer – and many companies buy 0845 numbers for use as booking helplines, among other uses. There continued use by will be affected by things such as:
- 03 numbers – The use of standard rate 03 numbers provide an alternative non-geographic number option for businesses and customers.
- Call Costs – The cost of calling 0845 numbers, including from a mobile is likely to see customers look elsewhere for other ways to make contact.
- Inclusive call packages – Some telephone and mobile providers are now including 0845 numbers as part of their inclusive call packages.
Customer pressure is likely to see organisations opt to move away from the use of 0845 numbers. This was the case with public sector bodies. There are, for example, very few Government Departments, local authorities or local health bodies using 0845 numbers. Most have moved to using alternative lower cost phone numbers.
Technology will also play a part in any decision to move away from the use of 0845 numbers. It can allow a company to use a standard rate 01 or 02 number without it being linked to a set location. This is because technology such as VoIP enables a business to transfer that call across the Internet to another location. The result is that an organisation doesn’t have to use a 0845 number. It removes the need for them having to rely on the traditional exchange network.