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The company you’re calling sets the service charge, but you can expect to pay: The company you’re calling should tell you the service charge when you phone (“Calls cost 20p per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge”), but you can also get an idea from the ukcalling website.

08 numbers are now free to call from mobiles as well as landlines – they won’t appear on your bill, and shouldn’t come out of your inclusive allowance either.

If you can’t find a free number, look for an alternative starting with 01, 02 or 03: it’ll cost you less (or nothing, if you’ve got a call allowance).

The cost is made up of an access charge (what your provider charges to connect you) and a service charge.

Virgin Trains and National Express are two big names that should know better: they still use pricey 0871 numbers for new ticket sales.

Swerve the cost by booking online or using one of our fixes. Let us know in the comments below and we’ll add them here.

Don’t get stung by premium rate service numbers: here’s how to dial down your calling costs.

The only thing special about so-called special numbers (or ‘service numbers’) is the hidden charges they can whack you with.

Last modified 04-Aug-2015 11:21