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Changes in law regarding premium rate services

Recent amendments to the Telecommunications Act enter into force on 12 December 2018, introducing enhanced consumer protection against unfair practices and abuses related to premium rate services, as well as the document-like form for contracts.

New rules for providing premium rate services

Starting from today, subscribers may choose one of the four thresholds for blocking premium rate services: PLN 0, PLN 35, PLN 100 or PLN 200. Choosing PLN 0 results in a complete blocking of such services. If no threshold is selected, the default option for each settlement period will be PLN 35. When the selected or default threshold is met, the service provider will inform the subscriber and automatically block the possibility of using premium rate services (so far, premium rate services were blocked only at subscriber’s request).

Further use of such services will require the consent and action of the subscriber. If the information requirements are not met or premium rate services are provided exceeding the selected or default threshold, the subscriber will not be charged any additional fees.

If the subscriber uses premium rate services, the service provider will need to include in the bill information on:

  • the possibility to block premium rate services and the applicable rules,
  • premium numbers that the subscriber dialled in the relevant settlement period,
  • the register of numbers used to provide premium rate services, kept by the President of UKE.

Using the register, the subscriber will be able to easily identify the provider of such additional services, e.g. organiser of an SMS lottery.

In the case of cyclical or repeated services, e.g. paid SMS subscriptions, the provider will need to obtain the subscriber’s express consent directly before providing any additional services.

The amendments to the Telecommunications Act also introduce other obligations for providers of telecommunications services, e.g. the obligation to block premium services not included in the register kept by the President of UKE.

New form for entering into, changing or terminating contracts

A contract for the provision of telecommunications services may be concluded in a written, electronic or document-like form.

Consumers may choose one of the forms offered by the service provider. The document-like form may be used to enter into, change or terminate a contract. It makes it possible to make a statement of will in the form of a document which allows identification of the person making such statement. The document-like form may be used for entering into, changing or terminating contracts e.g. by phone, via a website or using electronic mail.

Subscribers entering into contracts in the document-like form should receive recorded contents of the proposed and agreed terms of the contract and of their statement on entering into the contract on a durable medium (e.g. on paper, in an SMS, on a CD/DVD, on a memory card, on a hard disk or in an e-mail). Such a durable medium enables the subscriber to keep the information and consult it after entering into the contract, e.g. for the purpose of exercising the rights under the contract.