New regulatory provisions for 0800 numbers in Germany will become effective on May 26th, 2015.
In our opinion the most important changes are:
1. Purpose of use
Calls to Freephone services incur no charges for the caller either for the telephone service (call) or for a service beyond this.
By way of derogation, downstream services which are not free of charge are permitted where all of the following requirements are met:
- A clear distinction is made in particular in advertising material between the call which is free of charge and the downstream service which is subject to separate contractual arrangements.
- Use of an 0900 premium rate number is not circumvented. The service concept provides special reasons why it is not possible to use an 0900 number.
- There is no risk of consumer deception. The caller is aware, before making the call, of the service concept and of the fact that the call will result in a contract for a downstream service and hence in charges payable by the caller. No consumer complaints are anticipated.
- The downstream service is not billed for through the telephone bill for the subscriber of the line from which the call is made.
The following services with the appropriate concept are deemed to meet these requirements without the need for special approval:
- (physical or virtual) prepaid phone cards for national and international calls requiring authentication by the caller (eg with a PIN);
- reverse charge calls;
- acceptance of orders for goods or services delivered to the caller after the call ("order acceptance");
- acceptance of donations to non-profit, charitable and/or church organisations ("donation hotline").
An applicant or assignee may also apply for a specific business model to be recognised as permissible in accordance with the above requirements; no special form is required for the application. The Bundesnetzagentur will publish on its website a list of the business models recognised as permissible.
Freephone numbers should not be used if it is expected that the use of the numbers will result in mass call traffic liable to cause network overload.
Advertising material for Freephone numbers, other references to such numbers (eg on customer cards) and contracts (including general terms and conditions) should draw the caller's attention to the fact that charges may be payable for calls from other countries.
2. Ban on third tier use
The use of a number by the assignee for a third party within the scope of a service rules out the use of the number by that third party for another third party (ban on third tier use).
Although this information has been compiled with extraordinary diligence, telequest & Internet Solutions GmbH assumes no liability for their up-to-dateness, completeness and correctness.
The customer is in spite of handing out this information obligated to gather all necessary information about the legal and regulatory provisions and the Code of Conduct of the particular country himself.