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Premium rate services via SMS using 5-digit numbers

Categories of services & number series

Categories of services
Premium rate services via SMS include the following categories of services. They typically cost more than sending a normal SMS message.
  • Voting
  • Competitions
  • Purchases (e.g. ‘downloading’ games, ringtones, videos)
  • Participation in TV game shows via telephone
  • Adult services
  • Weather forecast
  • Astrology/card reading
  • Sports news
  • Gambling
Number series for the provision of premium rate services via SMS
Premium rate services via SMS are provided through specific number series:

  • 190ΧΧ-196ΧΧ
  • 54ΧΧΧ
  • 198ΧΧ (Financial aid to non-profit organizations. Available via SMS or phone call)

In addition, premium rate services through phone calls (voice services) are provided via the 14ΧΧΧ number series.

It is pointed out that not all 5-digit numbers are premium rate numbers.

Certain services do not fall into the category of premium rate services. These are services of prime importance for the general public, e.g. emergency aid for health-related issues, roadside assistance, citizens’ service, fault reporting. This is an out-of-plan charge, not included in monthly pay plans for mobile/fixed telephony, and it varies from case to case. Maximum charge does not exceed local call rates, while some services are provided free of charge.

The number series and services included in this category are the following:

  • 10ΧΧΧ-11ΧΧΧ: Emergency aid services for health-related issues, fault reporting to public utilities, Roadworthiness Test Centers (KTEO), roadside assistance and other services of prime importance for the general public.
  • 15ΧΧΧ: Communication with Ministries and local government organizations.
  • 18ΧΧΧ: For commercial use, e.g. bank helplines, heating oil/food orders.
  • 138ΧΧ: Customer support for telephony subscribers (calling option from all networks, charge stated at the beginning of the call).
  • 137ΧΧ: Reporting faults in a phone company’s network (free-of-charge call from all networks).
  • 12ΧΧΧ-13ΧΧΧ: Other services provided by phone companies (network-internal call only).
To receive detailed information about charges, you may refer to the price list of your phone company.

Charging methods

Certain services require prior registration, while others are provided without registration.
No registration required
You are charged when sending an SMS message

This option is available for services such as participating in competitions or voting and offering financial aid to non-profit organizations.

  • You send a chargeable SMS message to request the service.
  • Then, you will receive a one-off free-of-charge SMS message containing the content of your choice.
Registration required
You are charged when receiving an SMS message

You are first required to register to these services, which are provided with or without subscription, on a case-by-case basis.
Step 1: Registration process
Step 1a: Enter your number on the website or via SMS
Step 1b: Receive an informative SMS message
Step 1c: Send an SMS message stating your consent
You enter your phone number on the website, following the company’s instructions, or send an SMS message.
You will immediately receive an informative SMS message containing:

  • The name and cost of service.
  • The name of the company.
  • The available helpline.
Companies are required to provide a complaint hotline/customer helpline at local charge rates.
Send your consent via a free-of-charge SMS message within 5 minutes from the time the informative SMS message has been sent, otherwise your registration will be canceled.
There is no charge until the registration process is complete.
Step 2:
Option 1: Subscription required
Option 2: No subscription required
You receive a set number of chargeable SMS messages with the service of your choice on a regular (e.g. monthly) basis.

Step 2a: Informative SMS message

The company informs you about:

  • The service
  • The cost
  • How to unsubscribe
Step 2b: A chargeable SMS message

Upon receiving the SMS message, access to the service is activated.
If the total monthly cost exceeds 20 euro/service (plus VAT),
the company will ask for your consent via SMS.

Step 2c: Monthly reminder

The company sends you a monthly reminder that you have registered to a subscription service (unless you have already unsubscribed).
You receive a one-off chargeable SMS message with the service of your choice.

Step 2a: Informative SMS message

The message contains information about the service and the cost.

Step 2b: Chargeable SMS message

Via a chargeable SMS message, you receive the service you have requested.
To receive the service again, you have to repeat the registration process.

Protection measures against unwanted charges

Get adequate information before signing up for premium rate services
  • Before registering, read carefully the terms and conditions of the service you are interested in and find out the exact cost. Premium rate service companies post the price list of provided services on their websites.
  • Get detailed information about services that are provided or advertised through online/print media. In every promotional activity, companies must explicitly state the charges and in particular, the charge per message, the total number of messages required for the provision of the service and the total maximum cost of the service (VAT included). In addition, television programs that present premium rate services via SMS for participating in competitions/gift offerings should display the amount of the charge in a fixed position throughout the program and not as a rolling caption (trailer).
  • Become informed before agreeing to receive SMS messages for promotional activities, because this might mean that you are signing up for premium rate services.
Protect your device against malicious software
  • Install an antivirus software on your device, if you do not have one already. Choose a software application available only at official “app stores”. Also, make sure to frequently ‘download’ updates to upgrade the security level of your device.
  • Do not skip the security settings of your device, otherwise it may become vulnerable to malicious software.
  • “Download” applications only from official “app stores”. Read carefully the terms of use before granting the application the right to access and use the personal data (e.g. phone numbers, SMS texts, photos) you have stored on your mobile phone.
  • Be careful with how you handle pop-up windows on your mobile phone while surfing the Internet, because they may lead to signing up for premium rate services.
Check your phone bill
  • Check the charges in your phone bill or the balance of your prepaid plan on a regular basis.
  • Contact your mobile phone company in case:
    • You notice unjustified charges in your mobile phone monthly bill or an unjustified reduction in the balance of your prepaid plan.
    • You receive SMS messages from 5-digit codes, which indicate that you have registered to premium rate services without any action on your part or your consent.
If your wish to not receive premium rate services via SMS
Access to premium rate services is a default setting on mobile phones. Ask your mobile phone company about the possibility to block all chargeable incoming SMS messages from 5-digit numbers. In addition, you may activate barring though the apps offered by phone companies.

How to submit a complaint

Contact directly the company providing the service
Contact the company providing the premium rate service by calling its customer helpline/complaint hotline in the following cases:

  • The company did not provide adequate information about the terms and conditions of the provided service.
  • You receive premium rate services without prior consent.
  • You dispute charges included in your phone bill that concern premium rate services.
Premium rate service companies are required to offer a customer helpline/complaint hotline at local charge rates. Through this helpline, you ought to be able to communicate directly with a company representative, at least during working hours. The helpline must be stated in the announcements/advertisements of companies.
If you dispute any charges, ask your phone company to provide you with an itemized bill
If you dispute any charges for premium rate services, ask your phone company to send you retrospectively a detailed itemized bill (Basic level of itemized billing) in print or electronic format for the period you are interested in. The minimum level of itemized billing is available at no charge or at a reasonable charge. Check if there are charges for the specific services.
If the issue is not resolved, submit a written complaint
If the issue is not resolved after calling the company providing the premium rate service, you may submit a written request/complaint to:

  • either the company providing the premium rate service
  • or your phone company.
The company is required to examine the complaint and reply in writing within a time limit of 20 days. Where an infringement of law is found, the user has a right to request in writing that respective amounts should be credited to his/her phone bill.

If the issue is still not resolved after the company’s written reply, you may refer in writing to the bodies listed below, as applicable.

The responsibilities of EETT

EETT regulates the framework of the provision of premium rate services via 5-digit/10-digit numbers. In particular, EETT determines issues such as the registration process, monthly charge limit and methods for providing information to users, aiming at safeguarding their rights. In addition, it monitors the compliance of premium rate service providers with the regulatory framework. Audits are conducted, on its initiative or upon a complaint, and administrative penalties may be imposed, where necessary.

It is pointed out that EETT is not the competent authority for the content of these services and matters of fraud.

Submit a complaint to EETT

Co-competent authorities:

Hellenic Authority for Communication Security and Privacy (ADAE)
Hellenic Data Protection Authority (HDPA)
Cyber Crime Division of the Hellenic Police
Hellenic Gaming Commission (HGC)
Hellenic Consumers’ Ombudsman
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