The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has withdrawn the premium-rate number 0900-1824 of MyOffice. Callers were put on hold without ever actually speaking to anyone. An investigation has revealed that, between September 1 and October 28, 2016, consumers and businesses called the above number a total of 3,522 times. The total damage amounted to EUR 10,500 or EUR 2.98 per caller (on average).
MyOffice had been active since 2012 as a provider of directory assistance, among other services. The company has already suspended its activities.
About directory assistance using 090x-numbers
Providers of directory assistance services are allowed to set their own rates. However, these rates are often higher than calling to geographic phone numbers. When using directory assistance for example, consumers also pay the higher rates when being connected with the requested phone number. In this way, the costs for a call using directory assistance can thus quietly add up. In 2016, directory assistance services using 090x numbers received negative media coverage: consumers do not always realize that they still pay the high call rates for the 090x number after being connected with the requested phone number. That is why ACM is currently investigating whether it can prevent these types of undesirable practices by enforcing the correct use of premium-rate numbers.
About 090x premium-rate numbers for customer service purposes
090x-numbers can also be used for customer service purposes. Calls to customer services currently cost up to EUR 1 per call plus the normal charges. From July 1, 2017, businesses can no longer charge any additional costs on top of the normal charges for calls to their customer services.