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UK passes law protecting consumers from expensive customer service calls – will US companies comply?

As of yesterday, the UK made it illegal to offer expensive non-geographical numbers for customer service. Will major US companies adopt this approach?


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Toward the end of 2013 legislation was passed in the UK to prevent businesses using expensive non-geographical phone numbers for complaints and informational inquiries. Even though the calls were relatively cheap from fixed lines, the costs were high for mobile users; it was not uncommon to spend $10 on a fifteen minute phone call as these types of numbers are excluded from many cell-phone tariffs.

From June 2015 the UK regulators will make all Freephone numbers free to both cell phone users and landline users.

The UK government gave all businesses until today, June 13th, to make sure that they were compliant with the new regulations by providing numbers that begin with 01, 02 or 03 for UK consumers who wish to contact customer services; it is still OK to offer these premium numbers for sales inquiries.

Some data from Ligo shows that many businesses in the UK have failed to update their websites and offer their customers alternative telephone numbers.

 Here are four US companies that are not complying yet:

  • Apple
  • HP
  • Dell
  • Symantec

Not to mention other US companies that don’t fall into the tech category.

You can find the full list of of companies here.

Even Microsoft has managed to make the necessary changes to its websites.

Getting their Own Back

Some smart people have set up these expensive non-geographic numbers so that they get paid every time marketing companies call them – Lee Beaumont from Leeds, UK has managed to earn more than $500 from unwanted cold calls in the past two years.

Not surprisingly, he now looks forward to sales and marketing calls.

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Kevin is KnowTechie's founder and executive editor. With over 15 years of blogging experience in the tech industry, Kevin has transformed what was once a passion project into a full-blown tech news publication. Shoot him an email at kevin@knowtechie.com or find him on Mastodon or Post.

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