Five telecoms operators have committed themselves to fighting more effectively against fraud linked to call-charge numbers beginning with 070 or 0900. On Wednesday, they signed a code of conduct before Federal Telecommunications Minister Alexander De Croo (Open-Vld party), who aims to have the text become a royal decree by the end of this year.
Call-charge numbers are used by service providers to offer information, games or votes at higher tariffs. A considerable number of abuses have been observed within this sector.
“Consumers complain about their bills to the telecoms operators,” Ilse Haesaert, an expert at the Agoria technological federation explained. “However, while the operators supply the numbers, they are not responsible for content.”
After a year of negotiations, Voo, Orange, Proximus, Telenet and Colt have now established a clear procedure so that customers are sent not back and forth between services. How it works is that when a consumer notices a problem with his/her bill, (s)he needs to contact the service provider linked to the call-charge number. If (s)he does not receive a response within five days, the complaint is automatically deemed approved and he or she is reimbursed.
The operators thus commit themselves to greater transparency and will have to share information on the service provider and on the action they need to take. They will also better collaborate among themselves to prevent a blocked service provider from trying his luck with a different operator.
“We have one difficulty left: one operator (3starnet – editor’s note) does not want to participate in the initiative,” says De Croo. “We are therefore going to transpose these rules into a royal decree to make them binding on all actors.”
The royal decree is expected by the 1st of January 2018.