Phone Account

A major irritation has been setting up a phone account! I thought that operators welcomed new clients with open arms – but not in my case.

I tried to switch to a new service provider (BASE) that offered a package better adapted to my situation (largely to include data) and at a lower price. Everything went well when I visited the shop last week and an account was set up using my existing phone number. Then later in the day I got a call telling me that they could not accept me as a client! The reason? – that I am still domiciled in Paris and have a UK passport. They could not understand why I wanted to set up an account in Belgium.

Now the account was not to be in my name but that of the company “Capsec Business Consulting” which is an official Belgian company duly registered and duly obligated to follow the Belgian system. As you may have read in an earlier blog this also required a Belgian bank account with capital deposited before the company could be registered.

So BASE is saying that a legally-established, Belgian company with a non-Belgian owner cannot have a phone account with them!

Normally it is the banks that cause this kind of difficulty but there I had no problems. Even though we are in Europe, with open trading rules it seems that the phone operators (indeed like the banks) are able to arbitrarily discriminate. I question whether this would be legal and am tempted to challenge it further when I have some time. Any experts able to comment?

In the meantime I have not surprisingly stayed with my present service provider – Proximus – and even if it is slightly dearer at least I have a phone number.

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