With the new legislation, all entities providing essential public services must provide free or low-cost customer support lines. But do you know what they are and what you pay on other value-added lines? This is what we will explain in this article. Thus, to protect the consumer and put order in this area in particular, Decree-Law No. consumer contact. This need arose due to the fact that many companies have customer support lines that cost much more than a regular call.In fact, with the new legislation on November 1, 2021, value-added lines can still exist (numbers starting with 7, 808 or 30). However, these cannot be the only form of contact with consumers. That is, the customer must have alternatives.Also read: Telecommunications: how to change operator and what precautions to take?
What are customer helplines?
Commonly known as consumer helplines, these allow the consumer to contact your supplier for matters relating to the sale of a good or the provision of a servicesuch as: technical problems and assistance; billing; payments; renewal or cancellation of services.
How can you identify a free hotline?
Well, the answer is simple – by the callsign. Thus, all telephone lines that start with 800 are free for the consumer. On the contrary, all other lines have costs. Note that, if these lines are not value-added, they may be included in the package of minutes available in your tariff.
What do the value added lines consist of?
They are also customer support lines, but with a additional cost to the base rate. In other words, they have a higher cost than what you pay for a normal call, according to your tariff. In fact, these telephone lines are very common in television contests or participation in sweepstakes, but not only! They are also used by many economic operators for customer helplines.To combat these additional cost lines for the consumer, the Government decided to create new rules. Thus, since November 1, 2021, all suppliers of goods and services with the possibility of customer support via telephone call are obliged to provide alternative lines to those with added value. They can be toll-free lines or at the cost of a normal call (to a fixed or mobile number).
What value-added lines exist and what are their costs?
There are several value-added customer support lines. The cost of each varies. depending on the prefix. Furthermore, all include VAT (23%). So we have the lines starting with:707 and 708 They have a maximum cost of:11 cents per minute from the landline;16 cents per minute if the call is made from the mobile network. from the first minute onwards, billing is made by the second;760 They have a maximum price per call from 74 centsregardless of the duration and time of the call;761They have a maximum price per call from €1.23regardless of the duration and time of the call;762They have a maximum cost per call from €2.46regardless of the duration and time of the call;808maximum cost of 9 cents in the first minute; in the following minutes, the maximum cost is 3 centsif the call is made during normal hours (between 9 am and 9 pm), and 1 cent if made during economic time (between 9 pm and 9 am on weekdays and on weekends and holidays all day); from the first minute onwards, billing is made by the second;809 They have a maximum cost of 3 cents per minute and billing per second after the first minute;Audiotext services – lines 6Finally, there is also a customer support line dedicated to audiotext services – numbers that always start with 6. Examples are the following services: televoting; contests; hobbies; telesales; erotic lines.The price of these calls is set by the providers. This type of call always starts with a 10-second message, charged at the price of a call according to its tariff, where the user is alerted to the price to be paid, in addition to the nature of the service. Cheerful guy taking part in online meeting and showing ok sign while looking at laptop screen, using headset with microphone. Happy male freelancer having video call while working from home
Customer support lines: learn how to avoid unnecessary costs
First of all, I knew that many telecom operators already allow block calls for certain numbers? Well, in particular the outgoing calls to lines whose number starts with 7 – that is, those that normally have a higher cost for the consumer. So, contact your operator and check if there is such a possibility. If yes, activate the lock and avoid unnecessary costs on your monthly bill. On the other hand, when you need to contact the supplier of goods or services, choose whenever possible, for no-cost alternative contact numbers started by:two;9;30;800; finally, the 808 (low cost). Sometimes there is also a contact for calls from from abroadwhich usually appears with the national code (00351 or +353). This number can be used within the country, just like any other landline number, and has the cost of a local call.Calls to numbers starting with 30 are generally priced the same as calls to geographic numbers, that is, starting with two.
Customer helplines: what changes with the new law?
With the entry into force since last November 1, 2021 – Decree-Law No. 59/2021, companies providing essential public services must provide a customer helpline. This must be free or, alternatively, it must correspond to a number starting with 2 or 9. In other words, it must correspond to one of the traditional fixed or mobile numbers.
What are essential public services?
As its name implies, essential public services are all those that any citizen needs for a decent quality of life, regardless of age, sex, race or religion. So, an entity providing essential public services means companies that provide services for the supply of:water;electricity;piped natural gas;electronic communications;postal services;sewage collection and treatment; urban solid waste management;or collective passenger transport. the remaining providers of goods and services are not required to have a telephone contact line with the consumer. Still, if they do, they must necessarily have a free or low-cost option. In addition, all entities that provide customer support lines are required to disclose in the various forms of contact with the consumer (website, invoice, contracts, emails, etc.) the customer support number, as well as the price of the respective calls.
How is the information disseminated?
The priority to inform are the free lines and geographic or mobile lines (those starting with 2 and 9). Then, if applicable, must indicate, in ascending order of price, the number and price of calls made from the remaining lines.Therefore, whenever it is not possible to indicate to the consumer a fixed price for the call, the information “Call to the national fixed network” or “Call to national mobile network”.If the provider provides a value-added line in addition to the toll-free or low-cost line, it cannot provide a better quality service on this additional line than the latter option. Ie, cannot offer better quality because one line is more expensive than another.Also read: Claim for an essential public service: what is it and how does it work?