As one retail giant would have us believe, "every little helps".
And, as a consumer, we will shortly be saving a few pennies on our telephone bills due to new European rules being introduced in June.
Unfortunately, it does mean more bureaucratic red-tape for businesses. Then again, when did new rules mean anything else?
Most businesses, whether they are aware or not, will shortly be subject to the snappily-titled Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013, which change how businesses are required to deal with consumers who place orders online, via telephone or by mail order.
And hidden away, deep within the text of the new Regulations, is section 41 … which requires businesses to ditch premium rate telephone numbers (ie. most of those beginning 084, 087 or 09) for customer service calls.
Some sectors of industry are exempt, such as banking, insurance, letting agents, door-to-door milkmen and package holidays, but most industries will be caught.
Interestingly, the rules do not apply to all telephone calls. For example, a business can retain a premium rate number for general enquiries, sales enquiries, placing orders and technical support … it is only calls relating to an existing order that are covered, such as when a consumer is chasing up a delivery time or helplines for returns or complaints.
Fortunately, a service has been set up to allow businesses to simply replace the ‘08’ element of their premium rate number with ‘03’, the rest of the number remaining the same.
But the clock is ticking – less than 1 month until businesses have to consider switching from premium rate to basic rate numbers.
These notes have been prepared for the purpose of an article only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.