Lotteries back down in payments fiasco
23 March 2005, AMSTERDAM — Following a request by Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner, three Dutch lotteries are setting up a free telephone number for people who want to block the automatic withdrawal of money from their accounts.
23 March 2005
AMSTERDAM — Following a request by Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner, three Dutch lotteries are setting up a free telephone number for people who want to block the automatic withdrawal of money from their accounts.
The minister was responding after it was revealed that the Postcodeloterij, BankGiroloterij and Sponsorloterij wanted to deduct EUR 5.25 from 3.5 million subscribers' bank accounts to buy a "present" for Queen Beatrix. The monarch is celebrating her 25th year on the throne this year.
People who did not wish to pay the money had to ring a paid telephone line to cancel the withdrawal. About 16,000 people dialled the number on Monday and Tuesday, paying euro 15 cents per minute each for the call, newspaper 'De Telegraaf' reported on Wednesday.
The lotteries will set up a new telephone and free number (0800 1155), which will be active from Thursday morning. Until then, the existing number (0909 0011) will remain in use for euro 1 cent per minute because the lotteries claim it is technically not possible to make it a free number.
Minister Donner had previously approved of the withdrawal of money for Queen Beatrix's jubilee present, but is opposed to making people pay to refuse the payment. The withdrawal will occur on 25 April.
A spokeswoman for the lotteries said the telephone costs of those who have already called the paid number cannot be re-paid.
Half of the EUR 5.25 deducted from lottery participants' accounts will be allocated to charities that Queen Beatrix approves of, such as Unicef, Jantje Beton, the Oranje Fonds and the Prinses Beatrix Fonds.
About 20 percent will be allocated to mailing and logistical costs, while 30 percent will be used as extra prize money.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news