Premium rate phone numbers: how to recognize these calls that can ruin your bill

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You receive phone calls Who hangs up as soon as you answer? Does an SMS ask you to urgently call your bank due to a problem with your card or bank account? Another SMS invites you to come and get a victory in a contest (in which you have never participated)?

When searching on the Internet (doctor, vet, administration, etc.) are you asked to click on a number? Be careful, because it can bea premium rate number.

To avoid falling into the (many) traps and avoid being charged on your telephone billHere are some tips.

A practical website

The first thing you need to know, insists the General Directorate of Competition, Consumer Affairs and the Fight against Fraud (DGCCRF), is that in case of doubt, before calling a telephone number, there is a very practical site:, an information platform that informs you of the applicable rate in case of calls.

The site also provides information about the company using the number, as well as the nature of the service provided, through its reverse directory.

The other information to share is that it is possible to protect yourself by activating thecall blocking option towards premium rate numbers, a procedure that must be carried out with your telephone operator. Since 2018, telephone operators must offer this free option to block calls to these paid numbers.

What are these numbers that will most likely hurt your bill?

What you should also keep in mind, before dialing a number, is that only certain number formats A surcharge may apply:

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  • Special 10-digit numbers starting with 081, 082, or 089
  • Short 4-digit numbers starting with 10 or 32 through 39
  • And short 6-digit numbers starting with 118

What happens to companies and healthcare establishments?

Since 2008, the law prohibits the use of a higher rate number to “collect a call from a consumer in order to obtain the correct execution of a contract concluded with a professional or the processing of a claim.” That is, “customer service” or “after-sales” must be accessible to the consumer, without having to resort to a premium rate number.
The provision by a healthcare establishment or healthcare professional of a special rate number for patients is also prohibited, reminds the DGCCRF.
Despite the law, this can still exist. A practice that is especially harmful to consumers and worries the authorities. Therefore, the multiplication of calls within the framework of periodic follow-up (for example, due to a long-term illness) can represent a significant cost for the patient, for example.

Prices that may vary.

These premium rate numbers (the cost of which is deducted directly from your telephone bill) are part of the special or short numbers used by professionals to provide services (meteorology, clairvoyance, information, etc.).

This surcharge is added in these cases to the price of normal communication. It remunerates the price of the service provided by the editor and may depend on the duration of the call (billing by duration), or be a flat rate, regardless of the length of the call (billing per call). The bill can quickly skyrocket…

The fact that the call has a surcharge must be specified to the consumer at the start of the call The crackdown on fraud is underlined by a free price information message.

The case of the numbers in 08.

HE numbers in 08, the so-called “non-geographic” numbers, correspond to value-added services (VAS). The service can be free or… paid.

The special or short numbers used are assigned by Arcep (the regulatory authority for electronic communications, mail and press distribution) to operators known as value-added service (VAS) operators, who pay a fee in exchange for a tax. annual.

The General Directorate of Competition, Consumption and Fraud Prevention

What are the prices of these numbers?

When checking out, various fees apply. The figures for 08 thus respond to three types of pricing:

  • free : It is 100% free for the user, even calling from a mobile. This free rate corresponds to codes 0800 to 0805
  • trivialized : the cost of communication can be charged (this depends on your operator and your subscription), but without payment for the service itself. This price corresponds to codes 0806 to 0809.
  • increased or recharged : that is, with a paid service, in addition to the cost of communication. This price corresponds to codes 081, 082, 089 and four-digit numbers of type 3xxx

TO “color” signage Therefore, it was introduced to allow users to more easily identify the price of VAS numbers:

  • Violet for paid services (increased or recharged prices),
  • grey for free services with a paid call (commoditized prices)
  • green to get completely free prices, even from a mobile

Enough to help you navigate (a little) better.

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