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Spain set to ban high-tariff customer service lines: No more 901 or 902 numbers
08 September 2020 @ 19:47

CONSUMER affairs minister Alberto Garzón intends to ban 901 and 902 phone numbers, as well as any others which carry a higher tariff than for a call to a regional landline.

Despite public pressure, many companies still use higher-rate or even premium-rate numbers for their customer service departments, which can give consumers quite a shock when they see their phone bills.

This is especially the case with 901 and 902 numbers, given that, at first glance, the caller may not register that they involve a charge at all – free-phone numbers start with 900, which looks a little too similar, and also means those who do not realise the former combinations are higher-rate lines may assume they are cheaper than a regional call or even free of charge.

Making a national call from a landline phone – to anywhere in the country – is normally free of charge, depending upon the telecommunications company involved, but ringing a 901 or 902 number from a landline is typically about 56 cents for a five-minute call plus IVA (value-added tax) at 21%.

Calling a 901 or 902 number from a mobile phone varies according to the network operator, but is on average about €2.82 plus IVA at 21% for a five-minute call.

But as most customers know, they will normally spend longer than five minutes on a call – even though 'hold queues' for Spanish companies in general are not very long, at busy times it can take up to five minutes to get through and then, if the call is a complaint, can take at least another 10 or 15 to resolve.

And yet calling a regional number from a mobile phone can cost just a few cents, or even be free of charge.

Alberto Garzón, from United Left – a party which merges with Podemos to become Unidos Podemos ahead of general elections and is therefore now part of the national government coalition – says having to pay a premium tariff to call a company's customer service department is 'a clear case of abuse' and is 'fairly generalised'.



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