Companies who abuse toll numbers to be fined

20th May 2008, Comments 0 comments

The Dutch anti-spam supervisory commission will crack down on companies which let customers wait for more than 10 minutes.

20 May 2008

THE NETHERLANDS - De Telegraaf writes that the Dutch anti-spam supervisory commission OPTA will be cracking down on companies which abuse toll numbers starting this summer.

It reports that "Firms such as power and cable companies which let customers wait on the line for more than 10 minutes can count on firm measures from the telecommunications watchdog OPTA."

The paper says that as a result of new legislation, holding customers on the line more than ten minutes will automatically be classified as "abuse".  The commission will be given the opportunity to fine abusers of the Dutch toll number 0900 up to EUR 450,000.

De Telegraaf reports that thousands of Dutch companies have a 0900 toll number. Mobile phone users can be charged up to EUR1.20 per minute above the standard rate "often to the consternation of many consumers".

The anti-spam watchdog is also preparing to crack down on conmen who abuse the toll number by offering services which do not exist.

"People are asked to call about rooms for students, concert tickets or to test drive a car. Callers are held on the line for as long as possible, after which the connections is broken."

On Monday, OPTA levied its highest fines on spammers ever. Two businessmen were fined a total of EUR 510,000 for sending 4.5 million e-mails offering people the opportunity to work at home.

A toll number was listed, and people who responded were kept on the line for as long as possible. The commission found that there was never any intention of providing work – the objective was to earn money from the profits generated by the toll number.

[Radio Netherlands / Frank Scimone / Expatica]

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