Using 080 numbers? Call costs to transfer to your marketing budget | DMA

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Using 080 numbers? Call costs to transfer to your marketing budget

Consumers are currently charged for 080 calls from mobiles, typically paying as much as £0.90 per minute. Ofcom wants to change that: it’s planning to transfer that cost to your marketing budget.

But there are a number of issues with this plan, not least of which is that few marketing executives are aware of the plans existence. The DMA asked members: “Is your company likely to continue to offer 080 numbers to consumers or will you consider switching to an alternative number range?” Almost 56% were unaware of the proposed changes.

Another issue is the lack of a ceiling on the cost of calls from mobiles. So how can you budget? Many marketing campaigns use 080 numbers to maximise response from consumers. The cost of calls from landlines and telephone boxes are ‘known’ charges – typically less than £0.05 per minute for advertisers.

However calls from mobiles are much higher (and vary from network to network), in some cases consumers are charged up to £0.90 per minute.

Who should pay?
Most of us will agree this is an unacceptably high charge, but transferring this variable cost to advertisers is not the answer. The result could be that firms may choose to switch to another number range which is not free to the consumer. Indeed, the DMA research showed that 37% of marketing executives who are aware of the changes were likely to switch to an alternative number range.

In principle, making 080 calls from all phones (whether from a mobile, landline or telephone box) free for consumers is a sensible idea, and the current cost of a call from a mobile is excessive. However, the current proposal just moves the unjustifiable cost of mobile calls from the consumer to businesses.

The real solution is to make this change fairer for all parties, and set a reasonable cap on the charge for a call to a 080 number – whether mobile, landline or telephone box. This will ensure that both the consumer and the business know the cost of using the 080 range.

By DMA guest blogger Graham Smith, member of the DMA Contact Centres & Telemarketing Council, Marketing Director of SCi Sales Group

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