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Extra Note: 900 Numbers
900-numbers have a per–minute price that is set by the business you are calling, not the telephone company. Charges can vary from less than a dollar to more than $50 per minute!
- Federal law requires that certain information be given to each 900-number caller at the beginning of every call that will cost more than $2.00 in a preamble message. You cannot be charged for the preamble message and you must be given three seconds to hang up without incurring any charges after the preamble message is given. The preamble message must:
- Describe the service the caller will receive
- State the name of the company providing the service
- Clearly state that anyone under the age of 18 needs parental permission to complete the call
- Give the cost of the call.
Information about the cost of the call must specify:
- How the call will be charged:
A flat fee, OR
By the minute.
- If the charges are by-the-minute, then the caller must be given:
The per-minute rate, and
Any minimum charges OR
The maximum charges if the length of the call is known in advance, OR
- If the charges can vary, then the caller must be told about the range of rates and any minimum charges.
- If the caller will be switched to another 900 number, the cost of that 900-number call must also be given, with a statement specifying any other fees the service might charge.
Federal law prohibits companies from advertising or offering pay-per-call services to children under age 12 unless the services are truly educational in nature. Ads for 900-numbers that are directed at young people under age 18 must state that parental permission is required to make the call.