The gender-based pricing of chat lines presents a conflict with the Equality Act

Chat lines

Gender cannot be a deciding factor when it comes to the pricing of chat lines. Men who call chat lines often pay e.g. a fixed fee and a local call charge for the call, while the number that women can call only charges the local call charge.

The entrepreneurs who maintain these chat lines justify their gender-based pricing by the fact that this practice is essential in order to activate women to use the service.

This kind of justification is not comparable to the objectives mentioned in the Equality Act which justify a deviation from equal treatment. This justification is obviously connected to the entrepreneur's financial interests, which does not constitute a reason based on which it would be allowed to treat one gender less favourably than the other.

If, however, the entrepreneur can demonstrate that these are two different types of services, even though they may be advertised in the same advertisement, then the conduct cannot be seen as a violation of the Equality Act.

(TAS 464/2007; TAS 385/2013)