The Price Of An 0844 Call
0844 calls recently hit the headlines when wheelchair users wanting to book Paralympic tickets were given an 0844 number to call. After the issue came to light Gerry Sutcliffe, the former Labour Sports Minister, called the practice discriminatory and urged Locog to reimburse any phone call charges incurred.
When Paralympic tickets first went on sale wheelchair users were able to book via the internet as well as on the telephone. However, in view of the success of ticket sales, Locog had to move to selling the few remaining spaces on an individual ticket basis rather than a price band basis and this forced a move to phone line ticket sales.
The 0844 code is charged at a business rate which according to Ofcom can vary between 1p and 13p per minute for landline customers. Businesses can opt to take part of the call cost as income. For example, the Callagenix range of 0844 numbers results in a 5ppm charge to callers from a BT landline with 1ppm (1.25ppm off peak) being remitted to the business as revenue. Locog say that callers on their 0844 number will be charged at 5ppm from a BT landline. They have also confirmed that they will receive no revenue from the call charges.
The basic 0844 code available via Callagenix will divert calls to a nominated business landline. However, using the Callagenix intelligent routing service will also allow for calls to be diverted abroad or to a mobile as well as to other services such as an information line, answerphone or virtual switchboard.
Businesses who want to offer their customers an alternative to the 0844 number may decide to opt for an 0845 number instead. This does not generate revenue for the company. However, as callers are only charged at a local rate regardless of the area in the country which they are calling from, an 0845 number can encourage potential clients to call. Conversely a business may decide to recoup the cost of providing a help desk by opting for a premium rate line.
The Paralympic phone line issue has highlighted the range of phone options open to business nowadays and the way in which business needs to juggle carefully the cost of incoming calls with the sales or revenue which they may eventually generate. But luckily at the end of the day the issue looks to be only a small blip on what is shaping up to be the most successful Paralympic games ever.