Lines 707: Ombudsman welcomes ban on use by public bodies and companies providing public services
The Ombudsman welcomes the prohibition for public authorities and companies providing public services to use telephone numbers at an increased cost for contact with consumers.
The Ombudsman had already taken a position in this respect and, following the investigation of several cases, a number of public services had already ceased to use cost-enhanced numbers. This was the case of the Tax and Customs Authority, ADSE, the Directorate-General for Consumers, the "Sexuality Online Service Line", the "Youth Line" and the Lojas do Cidadão (Citizens’ Shops).
However, other companies – such as CTT, CP, Infraestruturas de Portugal and NOWO – still maintained lines 707 in the scope of legal consumer relations.
With the entry into force of Law no. 7/2020 of 10 April, public entities and companies that provide public services were prohibited from using telephone lines with prefix 707 (which have an increased cost) for contacts with consumers.
Subject to this obligation are all companies providing essential public services, namely water supply, natural gas and liquefied petroleum gases channeled, electronic communications, postal services, wastewater collection and treatment, urban solid waste management and passenger transport, and the concession companies of the central, regional and local public administration.
The Ombudsman continues to monitor cases where, also in the private sector as in the public sector, telephone lines are used with increased costs within the scope of legal consumer relations, namely in support lines and after-sales technical assistance to customers, which places a considerable burden on consumers.