ICP penalizes audiotext operators for not conforming to legal standards

/ Updated on 24.01.2002

ICP notified 28 Audiotext Service providers for not fulfilling their legal requirements with regards to pricing content and cadence information on the calls. The indictments will be issued with fines ranging from 1000 000 to 9000 000 escudos applicable to companies and between 100 000 and 500 000 to individuals as stated in the legislation.

The penalized operators within the service did not include totally or in part the ten-second informative recording, as the law requires. This recording as established in the decree-law nr. 177/99 dated May the 21st must inform the consumer of the nature of the service, namely if it is an Adult service and the pricing of the same. In this particular case the service provider is obliged to inform the client of the cost per minute if the service has no duration limit, or the cost per 15 seconds if the service has a maximum duration of one minute. Also when the cost of the call for services that are not constrained by time but have a fixed price.

Furthermore, some operators did not have the audible sound signal, which indicates the passing of each minute; this sound is used to indicate the cost of the call. The indications of non-compliance with the legal requirements were detected following surveillance carried out by the Instituto das Comunicações de Portugal within the realms of their competencies as dictated by law.

The conclusions made were that only 4 service providers of the total checked within this sector, formerly known as Value Added Telecommunications Services, totally fulfilled all requirements as established in law. The operators are AAACART - Auto Avenida Almadense, Lda.; AMGM - Artur Manuel Gonçalves Marques; Happy Call - Operações de Sistemas Multimédia, Sociedade Unipessoal, Lda.; e Telegrupo - Operação de Sistemas Multimédia, Lda.

Moreover, 28 of the operators checked who in total provide 43 numbers that access Audiotext, various types of non-conformity to legal requirements were observed. 18 of them had incomplete messages at the beginning, 8 had no message and no audible sound signal. 1 had an incomplete message, which did not state that that service was intended for Adult use, as well as not having the audible sound signal indicating the cadence of the call.