Chat line services that provide an 800 number for prospective clients generate income by charging the caller's credit card per minute or per call. The initial call to the 800 number connects the caller to a representative or a recorded message explaining the costs and criteria for use.
The costs, fees and payment plans disclosure by the chat line service provider, and the caller's acceptance of those costs and terms, are required before the caller is allowed to participate in the chat line. Toll-free numbers (such as those beginning with 800) to chat lines are not an indication that callers can access the chat line at no charge.
The chat line provider must abide by the Federal Communications Commission's regulations prohibiting the unauthorized charge to customers for fees or use. Depending on the services or topics provided by the chat line provider, the prospective client's age might be a criteria for use of the chat line.
The chat line owner pays his telephone service provider a fee for the 800 number and a per-minute cost for the incoming calls. In order to make money under this business plan, the chat line owner must determine a rate to charge his clients that not only pays the overhead charges to the telephone service provider, but also includes sufficient margin for profit.