When free isn’t free

The key when calling a number beginning 0300 is to ensure that you are on the correct calling plan in the first place.

If you have inclusive calls to 01 and 02 numbers, this will also cover calls to 03 numbers.

If you are paying a per-minute rate for calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers you’re probably on the wrong call plan.

Most people make calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers as part of an inclusive allowance. Outside of that allowance, landline providers charge up to 12p per minute, e.g. weekday calls made when only a “weekend” plan is in force. Mobile providers charge up to 45p per minute, e.g. exceeding a contract’s monthly call allowance or pay-as-you-go without a call bundle.

It only takes about 45 to 60 minutes of calls per month on a landline with a “weekend” deal for the “anytime” deal to work out cheaper.

It only takes about 10 to 20 minutes of calls per month on a mobile paying a per-minute rate for the next contact up in size (e.g. almost double the minute for less than a fiver extra) or a pay-as-you-go call bundle (e.g. 100 minutes for £5) to work out cheaper.

This site is being updated to make it absolutly clear that calls to 0300 Numbers are NEVER actually free. However in practice you will NOT BE CHARGED ANYTHING FOR MAKING THESE CALLS.

Wilst you may not pay any additional charges to call 0300 numbers from a mobile as long as you have inclusive minutes- this does not translate to the actual call being ‘free’ as all 0300 numbers are chargable.

If you have any questions or queries please note them below and we will find out the answer and get back to you ASAP with a reference to the answer.

It has been pointed out that saying that te calls are ‘free’ is incorrect as their is technically a charge for calling a telephone number that begins with 0300. But all telephony providers allow you to call 0300 numbers from your plans allowance meaning that you do not have to actualy pay anything extra when making the call as they will be treated as being geographical numbers and as such will come out of your minutes.

Switch from 0800 to 0300 | What it means

To save on calls all you have to do is replace 0800 with 0300 at the start of a Telephone Number before calling.

BIS Regulation amendments dictate that traders, retailers and public transport companies have to adopt an 01, 02, 03 or 080 number for their customer scontact lines. Governmental offices have also been smandated by new Cabinet Office Guidance. The latest FCA regulations will shortly do the same for companies opperating in the financial sector.

The bottom line of this is that you can generally replace the shart of an 0800 number with 0300 to ensure that the call will not attract charges and will be taken from your inclusive minutes allowance.

For example The Department for Work and Pensions who had previously used 0800 608 8545 before making the switch to 0300 608 8545 during 2014.

A timeline of 0300 Changes

Ofcom published regulations on 12 December 2013 requiring all users of 084, 087 and 09 numbers to declare the Service Charge everywhere their number is advertised. The new rules came into force on 1 July 2015. Those who cannot justify the Service Charge must change their number to stop imposing it. Ofcom made matching 034 and 037 numbers available in 2007 for users of 084 and 087 numbers to migrate. Many are now taking that option. This mainly affects sales and enquiry lines.

Published by BIS on 13 December 2013, Regulation 41 of the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 requires retailers, traders and passenger transport companies to use 01, 02, 03 or 080 numbers for post sales helplines. The new rules came into force on 13 June 2014. Where an organisation hasn’t complied, Regulation 41(2) gives the right to a refund of all call costs over and above whatever an equivalent call to an 01, 02 or 03 number would have cost.

The Cabinet Office published guidance for central governmwnt departments, their agencies and other bodiesbacross the wider public sector landscape on 26 December 2013. This suggested they stop using 084 and 087 numbers and instead used 01, 02, 03 or 080 numbers. Most departments have complied by switching to 0300 or 0345 numbers. This includes HMRC, DWP, and most local authorities.

The FCA has recently published similar regulation for the financial sector. From 26 October 2015 banks and insurance companies must provide numbers starting 01, 02, 03 or 080 for customer.contact. This spells the end of usage of expensive 084, 087 and 09 numbers.