Avoid Paying for 901 & 902 Phone Calls

There’s still a lot of confusion over the difference in cost between phone calls to numbers in Spain that start with 900, 901 or 902. With flat rate tariffs for landlines and mobiles, it can be a surprise to see add-ons for calls to these numbers. Read our guide and don’t be caught out again.

80X and 90X numbers: Know the difference

Phone numbers that begin with an 8 or 9 are classed as follows:

  • 800 or 900: Free for callers from a landline, but not all mobile providers will class these calls as free.
  • 901: Cost shared between caller and company, normally you will pay the equivalent of a local call when you call from a landline. Calls from mobiles will be considerably more expensive.
  • 902: Cost paid by the caller. Originally these numbers were used by companies in order to reduce the cost for the caller, the rate is set between the price of a local and national call from a landline and is the same rate for all callers regardless of location. Once again, calling from a mobile will be more expensive.
  • 905: Premium rate services eg for voting on TV shows. Avoid these and also 803 (adult content), 806 (tarot and gaming) and 807 (professional services) numbers.

What’s the problem with 901 and 902 numbers?

If you have a flat rate for your phone (home or mobile) take into account that 901 and 902 numbers generally are not included in flat rate contracts. Rates for a 5 minute call (based on Movistar tariffs) to these numbers are as follows:

  • 901: 0,28€ from a landline and 1,88€ from a mobile
  • 902: 0,56€ from a landline and 2,82€ from a mobile

As these numbers are often used for customer service departments where you’ll be kept waiting; a 5 minute call can often end up being 15 minutes or longer!

Neither 901 nor 902 numbers were set up originally with the idea of companies making a profit, however they continue to be promoted.

By law, electricity and gas companies in Spain must offer a freephone number. Check your last invoice where it must be shown.

How to avoid using 901 & 902 numbers

Any number that begins with either 901 or 902 has a “normal” number associated to it, it’s just a matter of finding that number.

Websites that offer a list of alternative numbers for 901 & 902 lines are not official and could be used as a scam to get your personal data. Use the 901/902 number once and request that the company gives you their normal number so you can use it in the future.

Another way to find the phone number, especially for banks, is to look on the website for the number when calling from abroad. This will be a normal phone number with +34 for Spain in front.

Why do companies use 901 & 902 numbers?

Because phone companies offer them incentives!

Phone companies offer their clients a flat rate tariff, but exclude these numbers knowing that the majority of people will need to call a 901 or 902 line from time to time.

Directory enquiries – no thank you!

If you need to find a phone number, avoid using directory enquiry services (numbers that begin with 118). Some of these companies charge up to 4€ per minute from a landline and even more from a mobile

Additionally they will very politely ask if you want them to connect you to the requested number – don’t do it as they will continue to charge you at their premium rates leading to a 10 minute call costing 40€.

If you need a phone number, just Google the company.

MSS Tips:

There’s been an increase in phone scams with people calling from a 905 or 80X number, hanging up and hoping that the person will return the call. Always check the number of any missed call before returning it to avoid premium-rate charges.