Lines 707: Ombudsman welcomes the reduction of the tariff and the end of these numbers in contact with the Public Administration

The Ombudsman welcomes the determination of ANACOM to reduce the tariff of telephone calls to the telephone numbers beginning with 707 and 708 and to recommend that they should not be used by suppliers of goods and services within the framework of consumer legal relationships. These positions, which were accompanied by the recommendation to the Assembly of the Republic and the Government to amend the law accordingly, are in line with what has been defended by the Ombudsman.

In the opinion of this State agency, it is not legally permitted to use telephone numbers of increased costs in the context of legal consumer relations, namely in the lines of support and technical assistance after sale to customers, made available by private economic operators and by the sector of the State. The cost of these telephone calls is high and consumers are greatly burdened, and they may be forced to exercise their rights, including complaints, after-sales service and information.

The use of telephone numbers beginning with 707 and 708 has covered several companies in the State business sector, namely CP-Railways and Infraestruturas de Portugal, as well as several private companies, namely CTT-mail, aviation companies, insurance, automotive inspection and retail.

CP and CTT have informed the Ombudsman that they are studying possible alternatives to replace telephone lines with increased costs for customers. A response from Infraestruturas de Portugal is awaited.

The Ombudsman will continue to monitor the situation with a view to the complete elimination of these telephone lines when used in the context of consumer legal relationships, as well as with a view to improving the Consumer Law.

In another case, which was organized on the basis of several complaints, the intervention of the Ombudsman led several public services – such as the Tax and Customs Authority, the ADSE, the Consumer Directorate General, the Social Security Institute, the Online Sexuality, "the" Youth Line "and the Citizen’s Stores – had ceased the use of telephone lines with the prefix 707, which entailed high costs for citizens who made telephone contact with the public administration.