This week I called on Irish mobile phone companies to act in the interest of Ireland’s consumers and work with ComReg in order to promote a ban on outgoing calls to premium numbers in Slovenia “In the last week, we have seen hundreds of Irish consumers fleeced by a premium rate telephone number in Slovenia, whereby Irish numbers are systematically targeted by seemingly ‘missed calls’ from a Slovenian premium rate telephone number which looks very much like an Irish mobile phone number. The Irish consumer then returns the call, only to find that they have been charged a small fortune. It’s not right, and I believe ComReg need to push for a solution to this problem. Many mobile phone users already have difficulty dialling numbers in certain restricted territories, and I believe that Slovenian commercial premium-rate numbers should be added to that list.
There is a great sense of frustration from those effected that while this is clearly wrong, no law exists against it and that there are basically two routes: one, a piece of legislation at European level which would prevent premium rate numbers from dialling out to different countries or, two, the Irish mobile phone companies acting in a coordinated way on behalf of Irish consumers.
If it’s the case that an individual wants to ring a Slovenian premium rate number, then I would suggest that they could manually request that this service be unblocked on their handset. But, for now, given the sheer volume of phone calls, I believe this solution is the best one. It’s common sense, the technology exists, this is not unprecedented”.
The reality is: until we see a ban – or something like it – implemented, we are going to continue to see copycat stunts such as the one which unfolded over the weekend.