Service providers obliged to offer free/ reduced cost telephone lines from today

The good news is that from today Portugal’s multiple service providers – from telecoms, to suppliers of water, electricity, gas, waste-disposal even passenger transport services – are all obliged to offer customers free or reduced cost telephone lines.

The bad news is that non-compliance will only be subject to fines (or other forms of censure) from June 2022.

The development follows a law passed during the summer – the objective of which is to relieve consumers from paying (often dearly) when service providers fail to provide whatever service it is they are meant to be providing …

The new law obliges telecoms operators and other essential service providers to disclose “clearly and visibly in their commercial communications on the main page of their website, on invoices, in written communications with the consumer and in contracts signed with the latter when they are in written form” the number or telephone numbers made available, to which updated information on the price of calls must be associated, in an equally clear and visible manner, explains tech website pplware.

In the event that the service provider provides an additional telephone line to the ‘freebie/ reduced cost’ one, this line cannot be “more efficient or faster or with better conditions”. 

The new law also prohibits service providers from “charging consumers in advance for any amount other than that allowed under the condition that it is returned to (the consumer) at the end of the call”.

These changes follow ‘clarification’ from the Court of Justice of the European Union.

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