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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.

At that time, the intent for area code 900 was as a choke exchange—a code that blocked large numbers of simultaneous callers from jamming up the long distance network.

Numbers with the 900 area code were those which were expected to have a huge number of potential callers, and the 900 area code was screened at the local level to allow only a certain number of the callers in each area to access the nationwide long distance network for reaching the destination number.

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 of publishing 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).

Diplomatic services, such as the US Embassy in London or the UK Embassy in Washington, have also charged premium rates for calls from the general public.

The law killed the adult 900 number business, which moved over to 800 numbers, where billing had to be done by credit card.

Other early leaders in amassing huge volumes of revenue were the New Kids on the Block and Dionne Warwick's Psychic Friends Network.

One variant, targeted at children too young to dial a number, enticed children to hold the phone up to the television set while the DTMF tones of the number were played.

This type of scam was especially popular in the late '80s to early '90s in the United States before tougher regulations on the 900 number business forced many of these businesses to close.

Also, the early incarnation of 900 was not billed at premium-rate charges, but rather at regular long distance charges based on the time of day and day of week that the call was placed.