By Daniel Hunter

Premium rate phone numbers for after sales calls are to be outlawed by the government.

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) has announced that it intends to ban companies from offering customers premium rate phone numbers if they want to contact them about products and services they have purchased.

The ban would prevent firms from offering 0844, 0870 and 09 numbers, and require them to publish geographical numbers or those that do not charge more than the standard landline or mobile fees.

Certain government-backed sites, such as the Student Loans Company and Citizens Advice, will be able to maintain premium rate phone numbers.

The government plans to introduce legislation from the end of this year, with the new law coming into effect by the middle of 2014.

"The new regulations within the Consumer Rights Directive would ban customer helplines from charging more than the basic rate of a phone call to contact the trader about something they have bought,” said a BIS spokesperson.

“The regulations set out what charging arrangements would be acceptable. Essentially the caller should not be charged more than the geographic rate or not more than the standard mobile rate if calling from a mobile."

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