It's that annoying moment when you need to call a helpline or similar from your mobile phone but you'll be charged extortionate amounts for it. Here's how to call 0845, 0870 and 0800 numbers free from your mobile. Check out the best smartphones of 2014.
You might have a smartphone call plan with unlimited minutes, but that’s unlikely to include premium rate numbers. If you’re stuck without access to a landline, calling numbers beginning with 0845, 0870 and 0800 is something to avoid. Many companies use such numbers to offset the cost of tech support, or to make more money.
Mobile networks tend to charge excessive amounts for these types of numbers – even more than when calling from a landline - although Giffgaff (www.giffgaff.com) at least allows you to call 0800, 0808 and 0500 number for free. That typically costs 30p per minute, so a half-hour call to Ikea’s customer service will set you back £9.
Ofcom Ofcom has said that from June 2015, "freephone will mean free" for 0800, 0808 and 116 numbers. That's still a way but until that happens, there is a way to call otherwise chargeable numbers without costing you a penny. Here’s how it works.
How to call 0845, 0870 and 0800 numbers free from your mobile
If you have an Android smartphone or iPhone, head to the App Store or Google Play Store and download the WeQ4U app. It’s free because it includes adverts. Install it and then open it. WeQ4U works with 0870, 0800, 0808 and 0500 numbers by routing the call through an 03 number which is part of your inclusive free minutes. Other 08 numbers, including 0845, are redialled using an alternative number sourced from a database such as the one at saynoto0870.com.
Whenever you dial an number beginning 08, an Android phone will automatically pre-dial an 03 access number. This means you don't even have to open the WeQ4U app. However, iPhone users will have to open the app to dial the number, and then tap the Start Call button.
The app will start the call, using an 03 number, and you’ll hear a message from WeQ4U about queuing. Your phone’s dialling screen will be visible so you can select options in automated systems as usual.
If you do find you’re stuck waiting in a queue to talk to someone, simply tap 9* on the on-screen keypad and the app will notify you when an operator has picked up your call.
If you're not an Android or iPhone user, you can still use the service! Just dial 0333 5432111 (better still add the number as a contact in your address book), and then the premium-rate number you need to call.