TKK imposes payment stop on value-added numbers: expensive phone calls for loan inquiries

Press release dated 11 October 2012

The Telekom-Control Kommission (TKK) issued an official decision on 8 October 2012 which placed a three-month payment stop to the value-added numbers (0)900 540311, (0)900 540702, (0)900 540331 and (0)900 560016.

The move was prompted by numerous complaints alleging possible misuse of the telephone numbers by "loan brokers". These complaints claim that loan brokers are giving the impression in their advertisements and several websites that they offer speedy and affordable loans when in fact they are only offering expensive "financial restructuring agreements" without any loan component at all. After completing an online form, applicants are told that their loan application has been approved but that they must call a value-added number to complete the process. As a result of techniques such as putting callers on hold, keeping them waiting in queues for extended periods and repeatedly asking them to call again, calls can last for several hours and cost several hundred euros.

As there is reasonable suspicion that several provisions of the Communications Parameters, Fees and Value-Added Services Ordinance 2009 (KEM-V 2009) have been violated, the TKK made use of its legal powers for the second time in connection with the misuse of value-added numbers by imposing temporary protective action.

The cost of calls already paid must be credited

As a result of this payment stop, service providers will not receive any payment for calls to the numbers concerned for a period of three months. This applies, however, only to phone calls for which the customer’s phone operator has not yet paid the service provider. These calls must either not be paid by the customers or credited on their next phone bill.

When the operator has already paid the service provider, the customer must lodge an objection to the invoice.  If necessary, there is the option to engage in a conciliation procedure with RTR.

The official decision has been published on the RTR website at: (in German).