What is a 0870 number?
The 0870 area code is a special rate, non-geographical phone number. This means that it isn’t linked to any area in the UK and calls to any number starting with 0870 will be charged at a special rate.
The rates to call a 0870 number are set by the phone number owner up to a certain extent. This type of phone number is typically used to generate income for the owner of the phone number. They are typically used by the following types of organisations:
- Information and support lines
- Event booking and travel ticketing services
- Conference calls
- Pre-sales information
- Horoscopes, tarot and fortune telling
- Adult entertainment, including chat and dating lines
Companies can no longer use the 0870 phone number for customer service lines. In 2015, the law was changed to make it prohibited for companies to charge customers for post-sales customers service.
How much does it cost to call a 0870 number?
Unlike many phone numbers which are charged a flat rate no matter who owns the phone number, 0870 numbers are charged at a different rate. Calls to 0870 phone numbers are charged at the following dual rate:
- The first fee is the access fee. This is paid to the phone company and can cost anything between 12p per minute from landlines and up to 55p per minute from mobile phones.
- The second fee is the service fee, and this is paid to the phone number owner. This can cost up to 13p per minute, 13p per call, or both.
It’s important to note that the owner of the 0870 number is responsible for telling you how much the call will cost.
Some scenarios might result in much higher costs, such as calling from a hotel. This is because hotels will typically charge their own surcharge on top of any calls made, so the actual cost of the call could be much higher than advertised.
Calls to 0870 numbers will not be included in any free call allocation you might have with your phone provider or mobile phone provider. This is because it is a premium rate number with a service charge.
Regulation of 0870 numbers
As the 0870 dialling code is a potential source of income for companies, the use of these numbers is heavily regulated. Companies are no longer allowed to use the 0870 phone number for their post-sales customer services line. Most reputable companies moved away from the 0870 dialling code for any of their customer services lines, even though it is still allowed for pre-sales customer service. This is because the dialling code is very unpopular with consumers.
History of 0870 numbers
Customers are right to be confused and wary about 0870 numbers. When the phone number was introduced in 1996 it was intended to cost the same as any other landline phone number. It wasn’t until 2015 that the national rate rule was changed and the phone numbers were switched to the two-part structure made up of the access fee and service charge. It is the responsibility of the phone number owner to let customers know about the cost of calls, so it is best to avoid numbers if no information is provided.