Payphone Access Charge
From 1 April 2015, BT waived the PAC charges for Helplines Partnership members operating their helplines on free to caller numbers. The potential saving to helplines is substantial as it currently costs 70p per minute for calls from BT payphones, and this will have a significant impact on a helpline’s ability to be able to respond to highly vulnerable callers.
This saving applies to all member helplines operating under the Helpline Freephone Range (formerly Special Freephone Tariff), or who have numbers beginning with 0800, 0808 or 0500. In addition any helpline on the 116 range will also receive relief.
Further details can be found in our Frequently Asked Questions below:
What are the number ranges for which PAC charges will cease?
- 0808 80x xxxx - HLP's Helpline Freephone Range (HFR)
- 0808 xxx xxxx, 0800 xxx xxxx and 0500 xxx xxxx - only HLP members' helpline numbers on our records which support the wellbeing of callers
- 116 xxx
Will the PAC charges apply to all payphone calls?
No – it is just BT payphones at this stage. There are about 57,000 BT payphones across the UK. We are engaging with the other payphone providers, and will encourage them to follow BT’s positive lead.
Is it free to call a helpline with an 0800 number from a BT phone box?
Yes, it is free to the caller.
Will only Helplines Partnership members receive this relief?
All helplines that are on the 116 range of numbers will receive relief from PAC. Otherwise, only Helplines Partnership member helplines will be exempt. Helplines Partnership membership is only available to helplines that can meet a minimum standard of service delivery which includes confidentiality, safeguarding and having appropriate staff/volunteer recruitment and training. This helps to ensure the relief is targeted to helplines that are well placed to be able to offer good quality support to vulnerable callers.
Is the PAC waiver for all members?
No – it is for voluntary organisation members only.
What do we need to do?
You do not need to do anything. We will provide a list to BT every month listing all the numbers that are eligible to receive the relief. It may take up to 6 weeks for a new helpline number to be registered for PAC relief.
Will we see the PAC charge on any of our invoices?
- If you are a BT customer – you will not see PAC charges on any invoices after 1 April 2015.
- Customers of all other telecoms providers – BT updated all their billing systems so you should not see any PAC charges on invoices after 1 January 2016.
Our helpline barred payphone calls due to cost barriers. What should we do?
Your helpline can decide whether or not to have the restriction removed. If you wish to do so, you will need to contact your provider. There is a small chance you will receive a call from a non-BT payphone and still have to pay the providers PAC charge.
What if we have any queries?
If you have any queries or concerns please contact Nicola James
(Head of Membership). If your query is with BT, please do still contact us, and we will raise it directly on your behalf through our channels.