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GEN 7.1 1Application

Who? Where?

GEN 7.1.1 R

This chapter applies to a firm carrying on activities from an establishment in the United Kingdom.

What?

GEN 7.1.2 R

This chapter applies where a firm operates a telephone line for the purpose of enabling a consumer to contact the firm in relation to a contract that has been entered into with the firm in the course of, or in connection with:

  1. (1)

    regulated activities; or

  2. (2)

    payment services.

MiFID firm exception

GEN 7.1.3 R

This chapter does not apply for telephone lines provided in respect of contracts relating to the MiFID business of a firm.

Payment services exception

GEN 7.1.4 R

This chapter does not apply for telephone lines which:

  1. (1)

    enable payment service users to request information to which paragraph (2) of regulation 48 of the Payment Services Regulations applies; or

  2. (2)

    relate to the termination of a framework contract, unless:

    1. (a)

      the framework contract was concluded either for a fixed period of more than 12 months or for an indefinite period; and

    2. (b)

      at least 12 months of the framework contract have expired.

Complaints exception

GEN 7.1.5 R

This chapter does not apply for telephone lines provided by a respondent for the purpose of enabling an eligible complainant to submit a complaint.

GEN 7.1.6 G

DISP 1.3 contains rules that apply for telephone lines provided by respondents for the purpose of enabling eligible complainants to submit complaints to a respondent.

Application to firms carrying on credit-related regulated activities

GEN 7.1.7 G

An effect of GEN 7.1.1R and GEN 7.2.1R is that this chapter applies for contracts by which a firm provides, or agrees to provide, credit broking services. In particular, this chapter applies where a telephone line is operated by a credit broker so that following the entry into a contract for the provision of credit broking services, a customer is able to contact the firm with a view to entering into a credit agreement or a consumer hire agreement.

Related consumer credit rules

GEN 7.1.8 G

The following provisions of CONC continue to apply where a firm operates a telephone line in respect of the relevant credit-related regulated activities but the call charges rule does not apply (for example, where a telephone line is operated for the purpose of enabling a consumer to contact the firm before a contract has been entered into):

  1. (1)

    CONC 2.5.8R and CONC 2.5.9G (unfair business practices: credit broking);

  2. (2)

    CONC 2.6.3R and CONC 2.6.4G (unfair business practices: debt counselling, debt adjusting and providing credit information services);

  3. (3)

    CONC 3.3.9G (financial promotions and communications);

  4. (4)

    CONC 3.9.5R and CONC 3.9.6G (financial promotions and communications in relation to debt counselling and debt adjusting);

  5. (5)

    CONC 7.9.5R (arrears, default and recovery); and

  6. (6)

    CONC 8.7.6R (charging for debt counselling, debt advice and related services).

GEN 7.2 1Call charges

Call charges rule

GEN 7.2.1 R

A firm which operates a telephone line for the purpose of enabling a consumer to contact the firm in relation to a contract that has been entered into with the firm, must not bind the consumer to pay more than the basic rate for the telephone call.

GEN 7.2.2 G

The contract entered into with the firm may be in writing or otherwise.

Meaning of basic rate

GEN 7.2.3 R

For the purposes of the call charges rule, the basic rate is the simple cost of connection and must not provide the firm with a contribution to its costs or revenues.

GEN 7.2.4 R

The following numbers, if used by firms, would comply with the call charges rule:

  1. (1)

    geographic numbers or numbers which are always set at the same rate, which usually begin with the prefix 01, 02 or 03;

  2. (2)

    calls which can be free of charge to call, for example 0800 and 0808 numbers; and

  3. (3)

    standard mobile numbers, which usually begin with the prefix 07, provided that the firm ordinarily uses a mobile number to receive telephone calls.

GEN 7.2.5 R

The following numbers, if used by firms, would not comply with the call charges rule:

  1. (1)

    premium rate numbers that begin with the prefix 09;

  2. (2)

    other revenue sharing numbers in which a portion of the call charge can be used to either provide a service or make a small payment to the firm, such as telephone numbers that begin with the prefix 084 or 0871, 0872 or 0873; and

  3. (3)

    telephone numbers that begin with the prefix 0870 as the cost of making a telephone call on such numbers can be higher than a geographic cost and will vary depending on the consumer’s telephone tariff.