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Traffic authority scraps peak-rate phone line after consumer group complaint
By thinkSPAIN Team Thu, Aug 8, 2019
TRAFFIC authorities have replaced their driving fine appeal helpline after a leading national consumer group reproached them for using a peak-rate number.
FACUA-Consumers in Action formally requested the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) in April to scrap its premium-charge phone number, calling this practice ‘unacceptable’
For drivers wishing to complain about or appeal against fines issued as a result of on-road camera footage or that taken from other non-human highway vigilance systems – such as helicopters – the only telephone number available on the DGT’s website was 902 508 686.
Now, it has been changed to 987 01 05 59, a local number in the province of León where the appeals office is based.
Numbers starting with 902 or 901 are charged at much higher rates than local or national calls, but many companies and even public services continue to use them.
FACUA has been pushing for years for essential services in particular, as well as private-sector companies, to ditch their peak-rate numbers and instead use toll-free ones starting with 900 or 800, or at least, landlines with a regional prefix.
These have included the Andalucía and Galicia regional health services, where patients had to ring a high-cost number to request GP appointments or change or cancel them.
FACUA has managed to get the State lottery board to change its line to a Madrid number from one with a 902 prefix, and has filed over 100 formal claims against privately-run companies for having 902 or 901 customer service lines, especially where these are for complaints.
It has managed to get the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) to fine four telecommunications operators who were complicit in companies earning extra cash from having peak-rate customer service helplines.
Thanks to complaints made by FACUA, three airlines – Condor, Transavia and Air Berlin – were fined for only providing 902 helpline numbers.
Photograph from FACUA’s ‘#Stop902’ campaign
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