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  • "Most people will see this as a change from a number that was an "inclusive" call within their call plan allowance - either when using their landline or their mobile - to a call that they always have to pay for.

    0845 numbers are rarely inclusive in landline call plans and never inclusive in mobile call plans. Rather than the call being effectively "free" for many callers, they will instead be paying up to 11p/min from a landline and up to 41p/min from a mobile with every call further increasing their bill.

    Calls to 0845 numbers incur a 2p/min Service Charge to the benefit of the called party. This Service Charge will shortly have to be declared by users of these numbers. It is in appropriate for any public service already funded by taxation to be imposing this additional charge on callers using their service. The Fair Telecoms Campaign dubbed this "The Telephone Tax".

    After complaints about government usage of expensive 0845 numbers stretching back many years, eventually a Public Accounts Committee enquiry held in September 2013 recommended that public services should be adopting 03 numbers in place of 084 and 087 numbers. At the end of December 2013, the Cabinet Office published guidance to all government departments and public services. This guidance recommends 03 numbers be used. Calls to 03 numbers cost the same as calling 01 and 02 numbers and count towards inclusive allowances on landlines and mobile phones.

    In central government, DVLA, HMRC and others already use 03 numbers. Just yesterday, DWP announced they will be adopting 03 numbers beginning March 2013. Much, if not all, of central government and their agencies is expected to follow over the next few months.

    In local government, Shropshire, Fife, Cambridgeshire and others have already adopted 03 numbers. In Autumn 2013, Carlisle abandoned their plans to adopt 0845 numbers just days before the proposed changeover date and instead opted for 0300 numbers. Lancashire has just started their programme of work to move from 0845 to 0300 numbers, with completion expected by the end of March 2014.

    The proposed use of 0845 numbers by Darlington is going in the exact opposite direction to the rest of government and directly flies in the face of current Cabinet Office guidance.

    Recent legislation published by BIS means that on 13 June 2014, it becomes illegal for traders to use 084, 087 and 09 numbers for post contract customer service lines. It is already inappropriate for callers to be paying a Service Charge when accessing public services. After the BIS legislation comes into force it will be completely inappropriate for government departments to be seen to be using the type of telephone numbers that it has banned businesses from using."
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Darlington Borough Council customer phone line will see slight rise in costs

Darlington and Stockton Times: NEW NUMBER: Darlington Borough Council is introducing a new 0845 number for people wanting to make bill payments NEW NUMBER: Darlington Borough Council is introducing a new 0845 number for people wanting to make bill payments

PEOPLE calling Darlington Borough Council to make payments will soon need to use a different number, with some customers set to see a small increase in charges.

An 0845 number will be in use from Wednesday (February 5), following a system upgrade.

The 24-hour automated line will replace the outgoing local number.

It will be used for people wanting to pay council tax, housing rents, business rates and other council charges.

Local rate numbers are charged at between 2p and 10p per minute from a landline, and from 10p to 41p per minute from a mobile.

0845 numbers cost between 1p and 11p per minute from a landline and between 14p and 41p per minute from a mobile.

The new number, which will be in use from Wednesday (February 5), is 0845-023-2599.

In the meantime, payments can be made by using the old number, 01325-389898.

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