How to Call Premium Rate Phone Numbers for Free
Premium rate phone numbers are non-geographical numbers that start with the prefixes – 0873, 0871, 118 and 09. Also referred to as revenue sharing numbers, they are commonly used by services such as competitions, support lines and others. They’re called premium rates because they’re far from cheap to call.
These phone numbers are not usually included in contract minutes. They’re also not classed like geographical phone numbers such as 01, 02 and 03, which are cheap to call.
It’s against the law for companies to use 08 numbers for customer support. The Consumer Contracts Regulations came into force on June 13th 2014. It prohibits helpline phone charges in excess of the basic call rate. Instead, the law requires companies to use standard phone numbers.
Despite the rules, several companies are still using premium rate phone numbers. Want to know how to call revenue sharing numbers for free?
In this post, we teach you how to call premium rate phone numbers for free.
How Much Do Premium Rate Phone Calls Cost?
Premium rate phone numbers are usually made up of two parts:
- Access charges
- Service charges
The access charge part of the call usually goes to the phone company. It’s charged as a pence per minute. Generally, the telecom firm must inform its customers how much the access charge is for calls to customer service numbers. This should be clearly indicated when you take out a contract and on your bill.
The service charge is usually decided by the company you’re calling. The company must tell you how much the service charge is. Basically, phone companies should indicate in your bill a premium rate phone call cost (x pence per minute) plus the telecom’s access charge.
For every phone call you make to a premium rate phone number, the owner of the number makes money off your time. Typically, they get 2 to 13p per minute. While it does not sound like a lot, if the company has a premium rate phone number as its customer service line, they do make a lot of money per year.
If you call a 084 premium rate phone number, the service charge is up to 7p per minute and 13p per minute if you call the 087 number. Let’s take an example. Say your phone company charges you 7p per minute for calls to service lines. This is their access charge. The service charge for the premium rate phone number you want to call is 20p per minute. In this example, the call would cost 27p per minute.
What Premium Rate Phone Numbers Should I Avoid?
The following are premium rate phone numbers you should avoid.
070 – This is a premium rate phone number that is often mistaken for a mobile phone number. In fact, calling this phone number, thinking it’s a missed call, will cost you between 45p and £1.10 a minute. This rate is never included in free minute allowances. The phone number is usually set as a follow-me service, and it allows the owner to divert the call from another number.
Businesses or sole traders who don’t want to give out their private mobile number will often use this premium rate phone number. Scammers also use this phone number, so be careful.
09 – This is another number you should avoid. Commonly used for chat, TV voting, horoscopes and professional advice lines, you’ll pay:
- An access charge of 8p – 65p per minute
- A service charge of 1p to £3.60 per minute
This means, if you call a chat line or horoscope line starting with 09, the total call charge will be 9p to £4.25 per minute.
118 – Directory enquiry services that start with the 118 number are also classed as Premium rate services. The rate for calling the 118 number is set at the same rate as for calls to 09, 084 and 087 numbers. It varies between 2p and 13p per minute for landlines and 5p to 55p per minute for mobile. This is the access charge.
The service charge for the 118 number is up to £2.50 per call and 75p per minute plus VAT. Other premium rate phone numbers you should avoid include:
Small, medium-sized and large businesses often use these numbers for their customer services and sales lines. If you call a line starting with 0843 or 0844, you’ll pay 65p per minute as an access charge and 7p per minute as a service charge. This is also the same when you call a line starting with 0845.
The service charge for calling the 0870 line is 13p per minute, while the access charge is 65p per minute for your call. To access the following premium rate phone numbers – 0871/2/3 – you’re going to pay 65p plus up to 13p per minute as a service charge.
However, if you call the 0800 and 0808 lines from a landline, it’s free. Since July 2015, calling these numbers from mobile is free too. Before the 2015 changes, people had to pay up to 40p per minute to call the 0800 and 0808 lines from their mobile phones.
Phone numbers that are not bad include:
- 101 – UK Police non-emergency number
- 111 – NHS non-emergency number
- 112 – EU-wide emergency number
- 105 – National power cut service line
- 999 – emergency services
- 123 – Speaking clock
Phone lines starting with 116, such as 116 000 (missing person/children hotline), are free from landlines and mobiles across the EU.
Read: Ofcom Call Costs Guide
How to Call Premium Rate Phone Number for Free
The following are ways to call premium rate phone numbers for free.
Call premium rate phone numbers for free with WeQ4U. Available as a free Android and iPhone app, the WeQ4U service allows you to call 08 and even 01,02 and 03 lines for free without queuing. When you use WeQ4U, you save 45p per minute on 084 and 087 lines. No ads or queues.
WeQ4U works with every 0800 and 0808 number. For other 08 numbers, WeQ4U will use an alternate number to route your calls. These alternate numbers are usually sourced from publicly available sources.
Overall, WeQ4U is successful in routing over 70% of calls. In addition, the service has some automatic checks in place. As such, the chances of finding a duff number is negligible. But if you do come across a duff number, contact WeQ4U and inform them.
This service does not record any callers but delivers all calls straight to the call centre. They also don’t share your personal details. WeQ4U takes privacy very seriously. If you don’t have the WeQ4U app, you can still use the service. Just add 0333 5432111 to your speed dial, and WeQ4U will connect you straight away when you call.
Another site that will save you money is Saynoto0870. It lists free numbers for several companies in the UK. Saynoto0870 allows you to search its database and find an alternative number to premium rate phone numbers. Here is how it works.
Head to the site, click “Search to find an alternative number.” Enter the company name phone number to search for. You can search phone numbers starting with 084, 087, 080, 01, 02 and even 03. Since Saynoto0870 is free to use, you may find invalid phone numbers posted by scammers. To stay safe, check the comments.
If you find an alternate phone number, use WeQ4U to call.
Call 08 numbers at a fraction of the cost with Wizard Apps. There is no need to spend more than 65p per minute calling 08 numbers such as 0844, 0845 and 0870 from your mobile. Barritel offers the 08 Wizard, a money-saving app full of the most popular businesses using 08 numbers and even 10, 02 and 03 numbers.
To get started, download the app from Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Launch the app, dial a 08 number, and the app will search in the database. If the number is there, it will present it together with the local rate number to call. Currently, the database has over 27,000 numbers to choose from.
Call charges are usually taken from your bundled minutes. Besides the search function, the app auto-suggests company names and allows contact integration.
Many companies have changed their numbers and updated their websites, but they are yet to update their signage or email templates. For updated numbers that are not costly, check the company’s official website. If the company website displays the 084 or 087 number, try calling the matching 034 or 037 numbers. These lines are cheaper, unlike the 08 numbers.