900 Numbers

November 21, 2013

Topics include: psychic information, dating lines, and general information on topics such as: medicine, legal issues, automotive tips, home repair tips, drug information, consumer alerts, pet care, sports scores and stock market reviews. 900 numbers are regulated by Stentor in Canada, and A.T.& T. in the United States. 976 numbers are regulated through the Bell 900 system.

The difference between an 800 and 900 number is that the CALLER pays for the 900 number call, and the RECEIVER pays for the 800 number call. Owning (leasing) and/or operating a 900 line is a legitimate form of business, and the market is increasing for 900 numbers. Many consumers are willing to pay for information that they can readily access through their telephone.

There are two options for purchasing a 900 line:

  1. From the line seller (Stentor) for approximately 1500 dollars (Canadian) plus applicable operating charges. This option requires the line owner to manage all aspects of the line;
  2. There are service bureaus available, to which the owner of the 900 line pays the initial 1500 dollars, plus fixed monthly charges. For this fixed charge, the service bureau manages all aspects of the line, forwarding the profits to the line owner.

The CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission) has regulated and approved 900 number service since early in 1994. Callers to 900 numbers are charged a fee for receiving information over the phone. Although there have been proposals for the CRTC to initiate a set fee and maximum charge structure for 900 numbers, currently the charges range from fifty cents to eight dollars per minute, with no maximum charge. To obtain more information, consumers may contact the CRTC by calling 1-877-249-2782.

To prevent abuse, the 900 number, once dialed, provides the caller with an 18 second statement, advising that there will be a fee for the call. This gives the caller an opportunity to hang up without charge. If you call a (900) line and this statement is missing, contact the Telus Customer Action line at 310-1000. Consumers should be aware that all 900 charges on their phone bill or credit cards are legitimate debts that will not be reversed. If you do not wish to have people making 900 line phone calls from your telephone, contact your phone company and request that 900 line phone calls be blocked.