What are 0845 numbers?
The 0845 area code is a non-geographical premium rate phone number. This type of phone number is commonly used for customer service and information phone lines. As they are charged at a much higher rate than landline phone numbers, they have become very unpopular with customers. Many companies have phased out the use of 0845 phone numbers, but they are still popular in many industries, including:
- Information and support lines
- Ticketing and travel information lines
- Pre-sales customer support
- Conference call services
As mentioned above, the 0845 phone number can still be used for pre-sales customer support but it cannot be used for post-sales customer support. The law was changed in 2014 to make it illegal for companies to use the 0845 phone number for customer service as it was decided this was unfair on the customer. Many companies moved away from 0845 numbers towards non-geographical landlines such as 03 for their customer support lines.
How much does it cost to call 0845 numbers?
Calls to 0845 numbers are charged for two separate rates. The first is the connection fee which is payable to the phone company. The second is a service fee which is payable to the owner of the phone number. The service fee makes the phone numbers easily exploitable by scammers.
The access fee for 0845 phone numbers can be as much as 55p from a mobile phone and the service charge can be as much as 7p per minute, 7p per call or a combination of the two. As a result of this opaque fee system, the 0845 number isn’t trusted by many consumers and companies have moved away from it as a result.
History of 0845 numbers
One reason for the mistrust of 0845 numbers is that they were originally introduced as a local rate phone number. The 0845 dialling code was introduced in 1996 as a local rate number. In 2001, the 0345 and 0645 dialling codes were shut down and transferred to the 0845 system. It wasn’t until 2015 that the 0845 number was moved to the dual-rate system of charging an access fee followed by a service charge. This change in use is one of the reasons consumers are wary about calling 0845 numbers. There has also been a wave of scams using 0845 numbers.
Scams using 0845 numbers
The service charge system is one easily exploited by scammers. The first scam involves purchasing a 0845 number and then using it to call many different phone numbers and hanging up. This scam relies on the curiosity of the person receiving the call, or their desire to not appear rude. When the caller returns the call, they might listen to a long pre-recorded message or a fake dialling tone which keeps them on the line for as long as possible. The scammer then receives the service charge for this call.
Another common scam is to use third-party sites to promote a 0845 number as the official phone number for a well-known company. When individuals call the number, the call is redirected to the official line but they are still paying a service fee to the owner of the 0845 phone number, not to the company.
The best way to avoid these scams is to ignore calls from 0845 numbers and to check the official phone number of a company before trusting a third-party site.