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TECHNOLOGY

France orders cold-callers to use 09 prefix phone numbers

Calls from companies, including cold-calls, are to become instantly recognisable to customers in France under a new rule that requires them to use 09 prefix phone numbers.

France’s telecom authority, Arcep, announced on Monday that it would begin requiring phone calls from ‘technical platforms’, such as call centres, to call from numbers starting with 09.

The prefix is intended to help consumers avoid “fraud and abuse” by allowing them to tell the difference between personal mobile numbers, typically those beginning with 06 and 07, from calls or messages coming from companies. 

This means that automated systems will no longer be able to use mobile numbers beginning with 06 or 07 for cold calling. 

Additionally, automated calling will no longer come from regional numbers – those that begin with 01, 02, 03, 04, and 05.

Another reason for the change is to create a specific, clear “09 category for e-commerce communications (such as deliveries or drop-offs) and SMS reminders and confirmations for events, like online medical consultations. 

Ultimately, the change will allow customers to recognise at first glance the origin of the call and, unless waiting for a delivery or confirmation message, choose not to answer.

The announcement comes as part of a larger modernisation campaign for national phone numbering, which began in 2018.

Member comments

  1. On face value, this seems like a good idea. However, our private house landline number issued by Bouygues Telecom 18 months ago, begins with an 09 prefix. Bouygues Telecom would not issue us with a Morbihan regional number beginning 0297. Does this now infer that when we call people, they will presume that we are a cold-caller?

  2. My house landline, with Orange/Sosh, also begins with an 09 prefix. I was given the option to change my regional number to, what I was told by Orange, was my Broadband number and I chose to do this because I thought it may reduce the number of cold calls I was receiving. It seemed to help for a short period but now the cold calls are as bad as ever. Now everyone will assume I’m a cold-caller.
    What are the Government playing at – surely they must know that 09 numbers can, and often are, used by private households. Also, what are they doing about the fact that registering with Bloctel seems to have no effect whatsoever. Somebody needs to put them straight.

  3. It seems like a good idea but we still won’t know, when a 09 call comes in, whether it is a cold call or something important.

  4. In this day and age, with advertising on or in just about every thing we see there is no need for ANY cold calling. It provides only a service to those trying to sell something – it doesn’t add anything to the individual enjoyment of peace, privacy and life of the subscriber, rather the opposite. It is an intrusion into the peace and security of our homes and to add insult to our cost time. It should be banned completely with severe penalties for those who ignore the ban. Further the companies who supply the telephone numbers should cancel the telephone number of any enterprise cold calling immediately and be heavily fined if they fail to do so.
    This proposal has all the marks of a French governmental fudge. It hasn’t been thought through, it is a light wallpapering over the crack of a growing anger amongst citizens. Frankly it’s a pathetic response to a growing irritation.
    Europe needs to take a lead in this even though there will still be business outside EU’s purview.
    Why is it allowed at all?

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FRENCH BUREAUCRACY

Everything you need to know about your vital French ‘dossier’

It's a crucial part of life and an incomplete one can bring about a whole world of pain - here's what you need to know about your French dossier.

Everything you need to know about your vital French 'dossier'

The French word un dossier simply means a file – either in the physical sense of a plastic or cardboard item that holds documents together or the sense of a collection of documents. You might also hear civil servants use dossier to refer to the responsibilities they hold, as in English we might say their ‘brief’. 

But by far the most important use of dossier, particularly to foreigners in France, is its use to indicate the collection of documents that you must put together in order to complete vital administrative tasks, from registering in the health system to finding somewhere to live.

When you begin a new administrative process, you will need to put together a collection of documents in order to make your application. Exactly what you need varies depending on the process, but almost all dossiers will include;

  • Proof of ID – passport, birth certificate or residency card. If a birth certificate is required check carefully exactly what type of certificate is being asked for (and don’t freak out if they’re asking for a birth certificate no more than three months old, it doesn’t mean you have to be born again).

Birth certificate: Why you need it in France and how to request one

  • Proof of address – utility bills are usually the best, if you’re on paperless billing you can log into your online account with your power supplier and download an Attetstation de contrat which has your name and address on it and also acts as proof of address
  • Proof of financial means – depending on the process you might have to show proof of your income/financial means. This can include things like your last three months payslips or your most recent tax return. If you’re house-hunting you might be asked for your last three quittances de loyer – these are rent receipts and prove that you have been paying your rent on time. Landlords are legally obliged to provide these if you ask, but if you can’t find them or it’s a problem you can also ask your landlord to provide an attestatation de bon paiment – a certificate stating that you pay what you owe on time.

Paper v online

The traditional dossier is a bulging file full of papers, but increasingly administrative processes are moving online, so you may be able to simply upload the required documents instead of printing them all out. 

If you have to send physical copies of documents by mail, make sure you send them by lettre recommandée (registered mail), not only does it keep your precious documents safe, but some offices will only accept documents that arrive this way. 

If you’re able to send your dossier online, pay careful attention to the format specified for documents – usually documents like rental contracts or work contracts will be in Pdf format while for documents like a passport or residency card a jpeg (such as a photo taken on your phone) will suffice. If you’re sending photos of ID cards, residency cards or similar make sure you upload photos of both sides of the card.

If you need scanned documents there is no need to buy an expensive scanner – there are now numerous free phone apps that will do the job and allow you to photograph the documents with your phone’s camera and convert them to Pdf files.

Some French government sites are a little clunky and won’t accept large files – if you get an error message telling you that the file you are uploading is too big, you can resize it using a free online photo resizing tool. 

Payment

If the process requires payment (eg changing address on certain types of residency card or applying for citizenship) you may be asked for a timbre fiscale – find out how they work here

House-hunting

If you are looking for a property to rent you will need to compile a dossier and if you’re in one of the big cities – especially Paris – landlords or agencies usually won’t even grant you a viewing without seeing your dossier first, so it’s always best to compile this before you start scanning property adverts.

The government has put together a tool called Dossier Facile which allows you to upload all your house-hunting documents to a single site, have them checked and verified and then gives you a link to give to landlords and agencies, which makes the process a little simpler.

Find a full explanation of how it works here.

Attestations

For foreigners, especially new arrivals, it’s often a problem getting together all the documents required. It’s worth knowing that if you don’t have everything you need, you can sometimes substitute documents for an attestation sur l’honneur, which is a sworn statement. 

How to write a French attestation sur l’honneur

This is a legally valid document, with penalties for submitting a false one, and needs to be in French and written in a certain format – the French government website provides a template for the attestation.

Vocab

Déposer un dossier – submit your file

Pièce d’identitie – proof of ID eg passport, residency card

Acte de naissance – birth certificate. 

Copie intégral – a copy of the document such as a photocopy or scan

Extrait – a new version of the document, reissued by the issuing authority

Sans/ avec filiation – for birth certificates it might be specified that you need one avec filiation, which means it includes your parents’ details. Some countries issue as standard short-form birth certificates that don’t include this, so you will need to request a longer version of the certificate

Justificatif de domicile – proof of address eg recent utility bills. If you don’t have any bills in your name you can ask the person who either owns the property or pays the rent to write an attestation de domicile stating that you live there

Justificatif de situation professionnelle – proof of your work status eg a work contract – either a CDI (permenant contract) or CDD (short-term contract)

Justificatif de ressources – proof of financial means, such as your last three months payslips (employers are legally obliged to provide these), other proof of income or proof of pension payments or evidence of savings.

Avis d’imposition – tax return. Some processes ask for this separately, for others it can be used as proof of resources – this is not a copy of the declaration that you make, but the receipt you get back from the tax office laying out your income and any payments that are required. If you declare your taxes online in France, you can download a copy of this document from the tax website. 

Quittance de loyer – rent receipts

Attestation de bon paiment – a document from your landlord stating that you pay your rent on time

Un garant – for some processes, particularly house-hunting, you might need a financial guarantor. This can be tricky for foreigners since it has to be someone you know reasonably well, but that person must also be living (and sometimes working) in France, and they will also need to provide all the above documents. If you’re struggling to find an acceptable guarantor, there are online services that will provide a guarantor (for a fee).

En cours de traitement – this means that your dossier has been received and is in the process of being evaluated. Depending on the process this stage can take anywhere between hours, months or even years (in the case of citizenship applications).

RDV – the shortened version of rendez-vous, this is an appointment. Certain processes require you to first submit your dossier and then attend an in-person appointment.

Votre dossier est incomplet – bad news, you are missing one or more crucial documents and your application will not proceed any further until you have remedied this.

Votre dossier est validé – your dossier has been approved. Time to pop the Champagne!

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