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Telecom Moves To Reduce False 111 Calls

Fri, 28 Jun 2002

False calls to the 111 emergency service will be charged for from 1 August in an effort by Telecom to drastically reduce the huge number of false calls, and ensure the service is always available for emergencies.

Telecom General Manager Marketing Kevin Kenrick said introducing the charge would help significantly reduce the extremely high number of false 111 calls, which puts unnecessary pressure on the service and unnecessary stress on 111 operators.

“Although making a false 111 call is against the law, about 70% of all calls to the 111 service are false and Telecom answers approximately 1.8 million of these calls a year – that’s almost 5000 a day,” he said.

“From 1 August 2002, Telecom fixed line customers will be charged $6.00 for every false 111 call they make after the first false 111 call they make in a month.

“The charge is being introduced after consultation with the Government and emergency service providers. It will cover the cost to Telecom of answering the false call, billing the customer, and dealing with inquiries about the charges.

“We want to make it clear that no genuine 111 calls will be charged for. Telecom will continue to provide the 111 service free of charge to all New Zealanders in times of emergency.”

A false 111 call is one that is not passed on to the police, fire or ambulance services because it is clear to the 111 operator that no emergency service help is required. For example, the caller hangs up immediately the call is answered, or it is a call made by children playing.

Mr Kenrick said for the past six years, false 111 calls have been listed but not charged for on Telecom customers’ accounts.

“This attention-raising effort has not however been successful in reducing the high number of false 111 calls.

“During July, fixed line customers can refer to their Telecom accounts to see if anyone in their household is contributing to the 111 false call issue,” he said.

Telecom will be publicising the introduction of the charge via advertisements in newspapers, an article in the In Touch Telecom monthly account insert, letters to customers who repeatedly call 111, and letters and fact sheets to pre-school and primary school managers and principals.


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