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False 111 Call Charging Starts

False 111 Call Charging Starts

Charges aimed at reducing the huge number of false 111 calls start tomorrow.

From 1 August 2002, Telecom fixed line customers will be charged $6 for every false 111 call. The charge will apply from the second false call in any one month.

Telecom General Manager Marketing Kevin Kenrick said the new charges will not apply to genuine 111 emergency calls.

“Telecom will continue to provide the 111 service free of charge to all New Zealanders in times of emergency.

“The charge is part of Telecom’s efforts to reduce the extremely high number of false 111 calls, which put unnecessary pressure on the service and 111 operators.

“Although making a false 111 call is illegal, about 70 percent 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.

The charge will cover the cost to Telecom of answering the false call, billing the customer, and dealing with charging inquiries.

False 111 calls are those not passed on to Police, Fire or Ambulance because they are clearly not emergency related. They are largely hoaxes, children playing, or accidental 111 calls from mobile phones.

Telecom has publicised the charge through advertisements in newspapers, an article in its customer newsletter In Touch, bill inserts to businesses and letters to customers who repeatedly make false 111 calls.

Educational material is being sent to pre-schools and primary schools.

“Customers with questions about false 111 charges on their accounts should call 123 as they would for any other account queries,” Mr Kenrick said.

ENDS


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