Say no to 0870

… and other non-geographic numbers.

In recent years, more and more companies have been moving to “non-geographic” numbers (generally with a dialing code starting with 05 and 08, or worse still, a premium number which begins with 09).

If you have an inclusive tarif which means that all calls to geographical landlines are “free” (well, included in the standing charge), you may be charged extra (sometimes a premium) for calls to non-geographic numbers such as 0845, 0890 numbers.

There is always an underlying “geographic” landline number beneath the “non geographic” one.  Some organisations will give this number out, on request.  Unfortunately, some organisations (shamefully, this includes HMRC) will not give out the underlying geographic landline number that “underlies” the non-geographic number.  Personally, I am not sure why a company would want to put off its customers/potential customers in this way, but that is another debate.

However, at there is a growing database of corresponding geographic landline numbers.  It is possible to search for an alternative number by either company name or by non-geographic number and find the underlying geographic number.  It is also possible to add your own entry should you discover an underlying geographical number that isn’t already listed.

A quick guide to UK dialing codes:

  • 01 geographic landline code
  • 02 geographic landline code
  • 03 non-geographic code (charged at or below rates for geographic numbers)
  • 0500 national freephone numbers
  • 055 corporate numbers
  • 07 radio, personal or mobile numbers
  • 0800, 0808 national freephone numbers
  • 0844 non-geographic numbers (up to 5p/min from BT landline)
  • 0845 non-geographic numbers (up to 4p/min from BT landline)
  • 0870 non-geographic numbers (up to 8p/min from BT landline)
  • 0871, 0872 non-geographic numbers (up to 10p/min from BT landline)
  • 09 premium rate numbers

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