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Adult chat lines (phone sex) and tech support are a very common use of premium-rate numbers.

Other services include directory enquiries, weather forecasts, competitions and voting (especially relating to television shows).

Telephone companies typically offer blocking services to allow telephone customers to prevent access to these number ranges from their telephones.

In some jurisdictions, telephone companies are required by law to offer such blocking.

Therefore, in contrast to North America where customer service numbers are typically free of charge to the caller, consumers in Europe often used to pay a premium above the cost of a normal telephone call.

The EU Consumer Rights Directive 2011/EU/83 came into force on 13 June 2014. Implementation detail, and hence the level of success in achieving this aim, varies considerably from country to country.

Another now-uncommon premium-rate scam involves television programming that induces young children to dial the number, banking on the notion that they will be unaware of the charges that will be incurred.