The Consumer Ombudsman demands that the Market Court prohibit games company MiGame Oy from offering a telephone number subject to an additional fee to customers who contact the company about such issues as defective service and refunds. The company has charged a fee of EUR 1.98 per minute for calls. The Consumer Ombudsman also demands that the prohibition be reinforced with a penalty payment of EUR 50,000.
Under the Consumer Protection Act, the maximum fee charged for telephone service offered to customers with concluded contracts may not exceed a rate based on the consumer's telephone subscription or a computed basic rate. The basic rate that may not be exceeded currently is EUR 0.084 per minute. A number for which the basic rate is charged must be offered to customers who contact the company about such issues as cancelling a concluded contract, a delay or a defect in goods or services, ending or terminating a contract, or billing.
MiGame Oy has offered the telephone number subject to an additional fee to its customers in such communications as its e-mail responses. Additionally, the implementation of the Latauskoodit.fi web service gives the impression that when a consumer wishes to call the company about a concluded contract, only the telephone number subject to an additional fee may be used.
The Consumer Ombudsman demands that the Market Court prohibit MiGame Oy from continuing to offer a telephone number subject to an additional fee to customers with a concluded contract on its website and in its e-mail responses or other customer communications, and from repeating this action in the future. The Ombudsman demands that a penalty payment of EUR 50,000 be imposed on the company to reinforce the prohibition.
“The purpose of regulation is to ensure that consumers can exercise their statutory rights, which include making complaints and cancelling contracts, efficiently and without incurring additional costs. This is what makes the issue so important for consumers”, says Consumer Ombudsman Katri Väänänen.
In August 2018, the Consumer Ombudsman put forward an initiative for reviewing the legislation on customer service numbers offered at a basic rate (in finnish).