Premium Rate Telephone Numbers


Many French companies use non-geographic telephone numbers. They may be free, but are just as likely to be premium rate numbers.

Watch out in particular for numbers beginning with ’08’. Although some are free, (0800, 0805 0809 08088….) and others are local call rates,   (0810, 0811…) some are unreasonably expensive (0820, 0821, 0825, 0826….). The real baddies to avoid are 0892 – 0899, which tend mainly to be used for games, competitions etc.

To find out information and rates on a phone number, visit

French premium telephone numbers

Calls from mobiles or broadband lines will cost more than calls from landlines, and even the ‘free’ numbers will charge a fee, depending on the provider.

According to the ‘Loi Chatel’  of 2008, all companies should have a local or normal rate phoneline, and “Le numéro de téléphone destiné à recueillir l’appel d’un consommateur en vue d’obtenir la bonne exécution d’un contrat conclu avec un professionnel ou le traitement d’une réclamation ne peut pas être surtaxé.

 Internet services, service providers and businesses alike are therefore obliged to provide a non-premium rate number for calls…. but it may be well hidden, as they make money from premium rates.

Check out sites such as Detax or  Geonumbers  where you can find alternative ‘géographiques’ numbers (local and national calls on 01, 02, 03 and 04) for the majority of large French businesses, and save yourself a ‘joli centime’

Special number providers must use one of three ways to make the cost clear.

Les numéros « gratuits »

Les numéros « non surtaxés »

Les numéros « surtaxés »

A ‘numéro spécial’ might be free (gratuit), billed as ‘normal’ or billed as ‘surtaxé’. Where a number is ‘surtaxé’, you pay both the cost of the call and the cost of the service.

‘Les numéros spéciaux’ have 10 figures, beginning with ’08’ or short, 4 figure numbers beginning with   1  or  3. They will often be linked with services such as the weather forecast, directory services, ticket sales…….


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