Caravan Guard cut call costs for customers

On New Year’s Day 1985, comedian Ernie Wise made Britain’s first cellphone call. Incredibly it has only taken two decades for nearly every person in this country to owns a mobile (and often use it as their primary telephone). Yet despite this revolution, mobile phone users still face problems when interacting with their fixed-line counterparts.

The issue is a financial one. Since Orange introduced charges for dialing freephone numbers in December 2005 all British networks today charge for calls to these numbers. There are certain limited exemptions (such as Childline) but in a world where mobiles are ubiquitous, is the term ‘freephone’ misleading?

Specialist insurance firm Caravan Guard certainly think so. The company discovered during research that caravan and motorhome owners could be paying up to £2.50 for a ten minute call when ringing the industry standard 0800, 0845 and 0870 numbers from mobile phones. If a caravan owner made a call to their insurer from their mobile while on holiday, they could be charged as much as 25p a minute.

And despite the proliferation of ‘free minutes’ packages, nearly every provider excludes ’08’ numbers from these deals. The issue became a political one when Liberal Democrat Shadow Business Secretary John Thurso called for customer service numbers to be free of charge regardless of the device being used. Amazingly, some customer service lines using the 0870 prefix can cost up to 40p a minute from any line. This means that if placed on hold for an hour, the call could cost almost £25.

Following this research Caravan Guard has now placed a standard ’01’ number on its adverts, website and policy documents. Standard ’01’ numbers are generally included in ‘free minutes’ packages and cheaper to call from a mobile when charges apply.

Director Ryan Wilby is in charge of communications at Caravan Guard and recognises the costs caravan owners face when on holiday. “By analysing our incoming calls we have found that 20% of caravan and motorhome owners call our call centre from their mobile – many when they are away with their ‘van. We know that the 0845 numbers, and 0800 freephone numbers can still be costly to call from mobiles. It’s for this reason we now provide an additional ‘local’ standard landline number for mobile phone users to call – it means customers can always choose the cheapest option when calling us.”

In case you’re curious and are looking to save the new number in your mobiles, the inclusive mobile minute friendly number is 01422 396 777. For more information about Caravan Guard please click here.