THE BELGIAN LEGISLATOR RINGS IN THE CHANGES
Following a series of legal disputes and blatant misuse of premium rate services, the Belgian legislator has enforced a new code of conduct to be followed by all premium rate service providers in the Belgian market. This Royal Decree which enforces stricter rules of conduct in regards to the Telecommunications industry comes into force in order to regulate premium rate services as well as to inform and protect consumers, which will bring a long overdue relief to consumers who have fallen foul of unscrupulous market players.
The new Ethical Code applies to any type of premium rate service, which is broadly defined by the Belgian legislator as “a service which through equipment connected to an electronic communications network allows the caller to obtain or send information, to contact other users of the information service, to access games or other benefits or to make payments for products or services provided during the communication or as a direct result thereof, on payment of a fee higher than the normal user-price for a communication to a standard geographic or mobile number”
The Ethical Code therefore applies to a wide range of services including premium rate voice, SMS, MMS and fax services.
Any breach of conduct will attract an administrative fine of EUR 250,000 for any breach of the Ethical Code thus creating an incentive for service providers to comply instead of simply treating fines as another business expense. Coupled with this development, it will now be feasible to both impose a hefty fine and enforce a suspension for 90 days, increased from a measly 30 days.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]