Companies must provide a customer service number with a basic rate for their customers

If a consumer contacts a company about an issue related to an agreement or purchase, he/she has committed to previously, the company may charge the consumer only the basic price determined by their telephone service provider or a similar basic rate calculated by the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority.

Up until now, many companies have used corporate telephone numbers as their customer service lines. Calling these numbers is extremely expensive for consumers. A solution has been sought with a new provision to the Consumer Protection Act, which entered into force on 13 June 2014.

If a consumer contacts a company in connection to an agreement or purchase he/she has previously committed to with the company, the price of the call shall not exceed basic prices determined by the consumer’s telephone service provider or the basic calculatory rate similar to this. The reason for contact may be a product, service or invoice related fault or error.

The calculatory basic rate is a minimum price calculated annually by the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority based on the minimum prices offered by telephone service providers, their market shares and an added 20 %. The calculatory basic rate currently in force is 0.088 euros / minute.

The company may continue to use corporate numbers or service numbers with additional costs, when a customer’s call is related to something other than an agreement or purchase the customer has previously committed to. These other reasons for contacting a company include inquiries on opening hours or products and questions on charged-for customer services.

A company must clearly state which of its phone numbers are intended for matters related to agreements that have been previously entered into and which are intended for other matters. The company must also ensure that all consumers, who phone the number, are aware of the price of calls. The price must always be clearly highlighted in advertisements, catalogues, the terms and conditions of agreements, on the company’s website and its other communication.

If a consumer contacts the company due to a fault in the product or service, he/she must still have the option of demanding that the company compensate him/her for telephone costs related to him/her contacting the company about the matter.

More information on the calculatory basic rate charged by consumer phone lines on the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority’s website.