Decree-Law no. 175/99, of 21 of May

Presidência do Conselho de Ministros (Presidency of the Council of Ministers)


(This is not an official translation of the law)

The liberalisation of the provision of telecommunications services and the advent of modern remote communication technologies has led to the introduction of new products and services which extend beyond the traditional use of the telephone.

Certain types of classified service, such as audiotext services, operating in some cases by means of totally automatic systems without direct human intervention of any kind, are now available to consumers via the public telephone network, albeit with quite distinct tariffs.

The fact that a simple telephone call to a predetermined number is all that is required to access these services has given rise to serious situations often involving a significant increase in family expenditure.

Generally speaking, the situation is made worse by highly aggressive advertising, which is frequently aimed at minors and at times puts at risk rights and interests protected by law. As the law should seek to shield minors from advertising, in view of their psychological vulnerability, a specific regime governing these services needs to be established.

The Portuguese Association of Value-Added Telecommunications Service Providers has been heard.


Under the terms of sub-paragraph a) of paragraph 1 of article 198 of the Constitution, the Government hereby decrees the following:

Article 1

1. This statute regulates the advertising of audiotext services.

2. Audiotext services are those that are carried on the fixed network telephone service or mobile network telephone services, their specific content and nature distinguishing them from the latter.

Article 2
Advertising audiotext services

1. Without prejudice to the provisions of the Advertising Code, approved by Decree-Law n.º 330/90, of 23 October, the amendments made by Decree-Law nº 275/98, of 9 September, and other applicable legislation, the advertising of the services covered by this statute shall contain, in a clear and perfectly legible or audible manner depending on the means of communication used, the identification of the service provider and the terms and conditions under which the service is provided.

2. Advertisements shall indicate the identity or trading name of the provider, the content of the service and its respective cost, in accordance with the regulations governing the display of tariffs set out in the statute regulating access to and the activity of audiotext service providers.

3. The advertising of audiotext services in any form aimed at minors under the age of 16 is prohibited regardless of the advertising medium, namely advertisements in publications, recordings, broadcasts or any other type of communication specifically aimed at minors.

4. The outdoors advertising of audiotext services of an erotic or sexual nature is prohibited.

5. The advertising of the services referred to in the previous paragraph is also prohibited in the press, except in specialist publications with the same type of content or, in the case of all other publications, when not accompanied by pictures and when the wording used is not likely to perturb more vulnerable readers.

6. On television and on radio, the broadcasting of messages advertising the services referred to in paragraph 4 may only take place between midnight and 6 am.

Article 3

1. Violation of the provisions of article 2 of this statute constitutes an offence punishable with a fine of between PTE 100,000 and PTE 750,000 or between PTE 700,000 and PTE 9,000,000, depending on whether the offence is committed by a natural or legal person.

2. Negligence is punishable.

3. The provider of the service, the announcer, the narrator, the advertising agency and any other entity promoting the advertisement, the owner of the advertising medium or the respective concessionaire, and any other person involved in broadcasting the advertisement shall be liable to punishment for having committed an offence under this statute.

Article 4
Supervision, legal proceedings and the application of fines

1. The Consumer Institute is responsible for supervising compliance with the provisions of this statute and starting proceedings for any offences committed under it.

2. The commission referred to in article 39 of the Advertising Code, approved by Decree-Law n.º 330/90, of 23 October, the amendments made to it by Decree-Law n.º 275/98, of 9 September, is responsible for applying fines and additional penalties covered by this statute.

3. 60% of the revenue from fines shall revert to the State, 40% to the Consumer Institute

Article 5
Additional penalties

1. Without prejudice to paragraph 1 of the preceding article, the additional penalties referred to in article 35 of the Advertising Code, approved by Decree-Law n.º 330/90, of 23 October, the amendments made to it by Decree-Law n.º 275/98, of 9 September, may also be applied to offenders.

2. Punishments for offences committed may be made public.

Article 6
Coming into force

This statute shall come into force 30 days after its publication.

Seen and approved at the Council of Ministers held on April 1, 1999. - António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres - João Cardona Gomes Cravinho - José Eduardo Vera Cruz Jardim - Osvaldo Sarmento e Castro - José Sócrates Carvalho Pinto de Sousa.

Promulgated on May 4, 1999.

Let it be published.

The President of the Republic, JORGE SAMPAIO.

Countersigned on 12 May 1999.

The Prime Minister, António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres.