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ACM enforces new rules for directory assistance services, withdraws phone numbers that were used incorrectly

Since the stricter rules for directory assistance services went into effect, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has withdrawn 163 phone numbers from the 0906 series. Over the next couple of weeks, ACM will withdraw approximately 250 more.
In late 2022, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK) tightened the rules for directory assistance services at the request of ACM. Those rules were adjusted because of the recurring problem of unexpectedly high phone bills resulting from people not realizing they were calling paid services that put them through to other numbers. Under those new rules, it is prohibited to put callers through using 0906-numbers. In addition, the rules regarding other phone services have also been clarified or tightened.

Strict checks

Following the announcement of strict checks, ACM has withdrawn 153 numbers from the 0906 series at the request of number holders and number users. After checking all 1,657 active 0906-numbers, ACM found violations with 10 of these numbers, and subsequently withdrew those numbers as well.

Not in accordance with their intended use

ACM has now checked all 0906-numbers. These numbers may be used for free or paid information services. After checking those numbers, it turns out that no service is offered on approximately 250 numbers. This means that the use of these numbers is not in accordance with their intended use. ACM will therefore withdraw these numbers in order to prevent these numbers from being used for an illegal service (directory assistance or otherwise) in the future. In addition, ACM will soon complete its checks of all information numbers in the 18xx series. These numbers can be used for subscriber information services where callers are able to seek phone numbers and public information about another subscriber, such as an address or how a company or organization can be reached.

Dealing with misleading practices

“With these adjusted rules, we are much better able to deal with misleading practices of directory assistance services. This will prevent a lot of nuisance for consumers and businesses, as well as unnecessarily high phone bills”, says Manon Leijten, Member of the Board of ACM. “We take a critical look when issuing phone numbers, and we will keep on checking whether the rules are followed.”

It remains important that everyone calling a paid information number stay alert. Make sure, in any case, that you know what service it is you are using, what it costs, and who the provider is. If you suspect that a paid information service does not comply with the rules, you may file a report with ACM’s consumer information portal ConsuWijzer.

See also