What is a 0844 number?
The 0844 area code is a special rate phone number which is not geographically linked to any area in the UK. These phone numbers are typically used for information and customer service phone number. They are charged at a higher rate than many landline numbers and are therefore very unpopular with customers.
The law was changed in 2014 to make it against the law for companies to use 0844 numbers for their customer service lines. As a result, many companies moved away from these phone numbers in favour of freephone numbers or non-geographical landline numbers, such as 03 numbers. However, some companies still use the 0844 dialling code. Some examples of 0844 in use include:
- Information and support lines
- Travel and ticketing services
- Pre-sales customer service
- Conference call services
How much does it cost to call a 0844 number?
Calls to 0844 numbers are more expensive than regular phone numbers because they are charged at a dual rate. This means the caller pays an access fee to the phone company followed by a service fee to the owner of the phone number. This additional service charge is very unpopular with customers and can be easily exploited by scammers.
The access fee for calls to 0844 numbers can be as high as 55p from a mobile and the service fee can be up to 7p per minute, 7p per call, or a combination of the two. This level of ambiguity around the cost of calling 0844 numbers is a large part of the reason they are so unpopular with companies.
I received a missed call from a 0844 number, what now?
If you receive a missed call from a 0844 number, or if you answer the call and they immediately hang up, the best option is to ignore the call. A common low-level scam is to purchase a 0844 phone number and then call hundreds or thousands of phone numbers and hang up. The scammer relies on curiosity getting the better of people and them returning the call.
If you return the call, you will likely be listening to a long recorded message, or a fake dialling tone which keeps you on the phone for longer. The scammer then receives the service charge for all of the calls made to the phone number.
0844 as company phone number
If you see a 0844 number listed as an official company phone number on a third-party, you might be right to be suspicious. Most reputable companies do not use 0844 phone numbers anymore. Before calling a 0844 number, check the official company website to ensure it is the correct number.
Another popular scam is for individuals to purchase 0844 numbers and then list them as the official phone number for companies on third-party money-making websites. When customers call the number thinking it is the official phone number for a company, their call will often be redirected to the correct free phone or landline number. Despite the redirected call, the caller will still have to pay the service charge to the owner of the phone number. Before calling a company, it’s important to check you have the official phone number.