Loan Shark Hotline. HOORAH it’s not a freephone.

The government’s just launched a new hotline for reporting loan sharks… about time. The number is 0300 555 2222. On GMTV this morning I was asked what I thought about the fact it wasn’t a freephone… yet my view is for many people 0300 numbers are better and will work out cheaper than an 0800. It’s possible someone actually did some joined up thinking in launching this.

What is an 0300 number?

These have been launched instead of 0870s and are a massive improvement. 0870s, while called National Rate, are actually cut down premium rate numbers (see Saynoto0870), which the company being called can get a cut of the profits from; yet 0300 numbers are the real thing and there’s no profit sharing.

What you pay on 0300s…

  • The same cost as a normal call. Whatever tariff you’re on the cost of an 0300 number is the same as calling a normal phone number.
  • If your calls are free, it’s free. So if you’ve got free inclusive calls, then calling 0300 won’t cost you. E.g. If you’re on BT’s free evening calls package then call 0300 in the evening and the call is free; but if you pay for a call in the day, you’ll pay for an 0300 during the day.
  • This works on mobiles too. If you’ve inclusive minutes on your mobile the 0300 number will be included in that.

Why 0300 could be better than 0800s.

These days calls from mobiles are more common, and a growing number of those on low incomes or transient residence only have mobiles not landlines. Yet call a ‘freephone’ 0800 number on your mobile and usually it ISN’T free, in fact it can cost upwards of 10p/minute on some tariffs. Yet with a 0300 number you know the call will be as cheap as it can be from a mobile; usually much cheaper than calling an 0800.

Now I’m not saying this 0300 number is always right, in a perfect world I’d have an 0800 number for calls from landlines and 0300 for calls from mobiles or force mobile providers to make 0800s free from mobiles too. Yet until that happens, I hope others don’t feel to berate this hotline over the fact it isn’t freephone; it’s actually not as simple as that.

Comment and Discuss.