March 24, 2020

“5-digit numbers: Provision and charging of Multimedia Information Services now subject to user consent”

by Socrates Vertellis (LLM-DEA) – Attorney at law, Co-founder of Intellex

On 17 February 2020 the Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission passed an amendment to the Code of Conduct for the provision of Multimedia Information Services after a plethora of complaints were filed for excessive and arbitrary user charges made by providers of 5-digit-number electronic services (i.e. numbers used for example to participate in gaming, auctions, voting etc.), often without any prior information offered to the consumer.

Under the new framework if someone registers to use such services, they shall immediately receive directly from the provider a sms containing important information about the service and above all the cost. The consumer then disposes of five minutes to send back their consent by a free of charge sms. Where consent is not sent within this short time period, the registration is cancelled. In addition, until consent is sent there can be no charge for the use of the service.

However, although the above measure undoubtedly points in the right direction, it will have no value if consumers rely exclusively on it and become complacent without reading carefully the terms of use and remaining vigilant in respect of charges.