Price reforms for value-added telephone services: providing consumers with greater clarity

Paris, 30 September 2015

Starting on 1 October 2015, the rates charged for calls to special numbers starting with 08 and to short numbers will be simpler and more transparent. This will include a clear separation of the price of the call and the rate charged for the value-added service (VAS).

Clearer information for consumers

Enterprises and public services will now have three types of number available for providing their services: freephone numbers, numbers charged at the “normal” rate, and premium rate numbers.

- calls to a freephone number will not be billed, and will not be deducted from the callers’ fixed or mobile flat rate plans;
- calls to numbers charged at the “normal” rate will be billed as a call to a geographical fixed number. They are therefore included in unlimited calling plans;
- calls to premium rate numbers will be billed over and above the “normal” calling rate.

Transparency for consumers will be ensured by the obligation to display calls to premium rate numbers on detailed telephone bills, and by the reverse directory created by operators and service providers. The directory site will be available starting on 1 October

Transparency will be further improved thanks to the new pricing display graphics being introduced with the reform, which associate a different colour with each of the three types of number: green for freephone numbers, grey for “normal” rate numbers, and purple for premium rate numbers.

These improvements help to further the actions being carried out by public authorities to guarantee a high level of protection for consumers of electronic communications products.

Public authorities will be vigilant in ensuring application of these new rules

France’s Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Repression, DGCCRF, will work to ensure the quality, accuracy and fairness of the pricing information made available to consumers when the changes introduced by the reform come into effect, notably in sales and marketing documents, and the recorded messages on pricing that are played at the start of calls to premium rate numbers.

The authorities remind the public that fraudulent use can be made of premium rate numbers, such as invitations to call these numbers based on false promises or for fictitious reasons. In addition to the normal inquiries that the DGCCRF conducts to battle against these abusive practices, a hotline number – 33 700 – and a dedicated website ( are available for consumers who have fallen victim to such practices.

DGCCRF and ARCEP invite operators and service providers to contribute to the actions being taken by public authorities to better regulate this sector, by performing the work needed to create a supervisory body to establish and enforce a code of professional conduct.