The recent regulatory changes to the 0871 prefix will impact on many Open Telecom customers, and any businesses that are considering purchasing an 0871 number. This article is written to provide compliance advice to ensure compliance to the new regulations.
The reason behind the changes
In February 2009, Ofcom published its review into the 0871 number range, which contained a package of measures aimed at improving customer protection and pricing transparency. As a result of this review, Ofcom has decided that all 087 numbers – with the exception of the 0870 prefix – will be formally recognised as premium rate numbers, putting them under the remit of the premium rate regulator, PhonepayPlus.
In order to ensure a smooth transition to premium rate regulation of the 0871 prefix, PhonepayPlus has a announced a six month implementation plan to allow providers of 0871 services to comply with the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice. All service Providers of 0871 numbers must ensure complete compliance by 1st August 2009.
Pricing information and compliance advice
Pricing information is required by PhonepayPlus to ensure that customers are given thorough information regarding the costs associated with a call before they incur any charges. There are two types of pricing information that aim to improve pricing transparency and consumer protection.
Written pricing information
The requirement of written pricing information is detailed in Section 5.7 of the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice.
5.7.1 requires that Service Providers must ensure that all users of premium rate services are fully informed, clearly and straightforwardly, of the cost of using a service prior to incurring any charge.
5.7.2 requires that written pricing information must be easily legible, prominent, horizontal and presented in a way that does not require close examination.
Written pricing information is required on all promotional material that has your 0871 number listed on it. It is essential that new and existing 0871 customers provide our compliance team with copies of all promotional material so that we can review it prior to publication. Please note that your 0871 number will not be activated until your pricing information has been reviewed and approved by our compliance team.
Verbal pricing information
Verbal pricing information must be played to a caller prior to the call being connected. The requirement of verbal pricing information is also detailed in section 5.7 of the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice.
5.7.2 requires that spoken pricing information must be easily and audible and discernible.
The requirement of spoken pricing information can be fulfilled by using the Custom Announcement Messages feature within eConsole.
Custom announcement messages
The Custom Announcement Message feature allows customers to upload custom audio files that are played prior to calls being connected. This feature is available across all of our service plans, and we thouroughly recommend that customers consider using our professional voice over services in order to ensure compliance. Our compliance team suggests the following script for verbal pricing information:
Welcome to XYZ Limited, calls to this number are charged at 10 pence per minute from a BT landline, calls from other network providers may be higher and from mobiles significantly more.
Compliance advice on call management features
Providing Services Without Undue Delay.
Under the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice, it is a service provider’s responsibility to ensure that services are provided without undue delay. Undue delay is determined by PhonepayPlus on a case by case basis. However, PhonepayPlus will take into consideration the type of service that is being offered and the value of the service to its customers. The following call management features are potential causes of undue delay:
Customers who wish to use Call Divert functionality are required to consider the waiting time that a customer is likely to face before a Call Divert is added to your 0871 number. 0871 customers are likely to be in breach the Phonepayplus Code of Practice if their customers calls are kept routing through a Call Divert for an excessively long time. It is recommended by our compliance team that calls are set to ring destination numbers for no longer than 30 seconds, and that calls should ultimately be routed through to a Voice to Email service.
Queuing calls on a 0871 number will not be permitted unless special permission is granted by PhonepayPlus.
Note: The recent regulatory changes to the 0871 prefix will impact on many Numberstore customers, and any businesses that are considering purchasing an 0871 number. This article is written to provide compliance advice to ensure compliance to the new regulations.