Phone-paid Services Authority

Latest documents

  • Redacted name (Case reference: 192311)

    This case was brought against a person alleged to be an associated individual under paragraph 4.8.8 of the 14th edition of the Code of Practice (“the Code”).The Tribunal was asked to consider imposing a prohibition against [name redacted] (“associated individual”) pursuant to paragraph 4.8.3(g) of the Code.The Tribunal unanimously concluded that, on the balance of probabilities, that there was insufficient evidence of the associated individual’s knowing involvement in the commission of the serious breaches of the code. Therefore, the Executive’s request to prohibit the associated individual from providing, or having any involvement in, any premium rate services in the UK was refused. Accordingly, the Tribunal did not impose a prohibition on [name redacted].

  • Embill Services Limited (Case reference: 187522)

    This case was brought against Embill Services Limited (“the Level 2 provider”) under Paragraph 4.5 of the 14th Edition of the Code of Practice (“the Code”).The case concerned a sexual entertainment service provided by the Level 2 provider. The Service was registered and operated under the brand name “Girls Next Door”. The Service provided pre-recorded adult audio content to consumers.The Executive received 25 complaints regarding the Service, 24 from members of the public and one from a Phone-Paid Services Authority (“PSA”) employee between June 2020 and December 2020. Complainants alleged that they had received an unsolicited message without their consent and that the messages were misleading. The message requested for the consumer to click on a link to retrieve a voicemail from a named individual. Some of the complainants referred to a “Zoom voicemail“.The Tribunal concluded that the seriousness of the case should be regarded overall as very serious.Sanctions imposed• a formal reprimand• a prohibition on the Level 2 provider from providing, or having any involvement in, any premium rate service for a period of five years, starting from the date of publication of the Tribunal decision, or until all sanctions imposed have been complied with, whichever is the later.• a requirement that the Level 2 provider must refund all consumers who claim a refund for the full amount spent by them on the Service, within 28 days of their claim, save where there is good cause to believe such claims are not valid, and provide evidence to the PSA that such refunds have been made• a fine of £500,000 broken down as follows:Breach 1 - Rule 2.3.2: £125,000Breach 2 - Rule 2.3.7: £100,000Breach 3 - Rule 2.4.2: £100,000Breach 4 - Paragraph 4.2.2: £100,000Breach 5 - Paragraph 4.2.2: £75,000.Administrative charge recommendation: 100%

  • Gothamiax Limited (Case reference: 169028)

    This case was brought against Gothamiax Limited, (‘the Level 2 provider’) under Paragraph 4.5 of the 14th Edition of the Code of Practice (‘the Code’). This case concerned a subscription alerts service called ‘Every Day Saves’ (‘the Service’), which provided consumers with links to websites offering discounts and savings.The Executive submitted that the Level 2 provider had breached rules of Code 14 because some consumers who were subscribed to the Service had not been provided with billed messages and subscription reminders, and for not solving consumer complaints quickly, easily and fairly.The Tribunal concluded that the seriousness of the case should be regarded overall as serious.Sanctions imposed:• a formal reprimand• a requirement that the Level 2 provider obtains and implements compliance advice to ensure that its customer service and complaint handling function is compliant and complaints are resolved quickly, easily and fairly and that any redress to consumers is provided quickly and easily and free messages and subscription messages are delivered to consumers• a requirement that the Level 2 provider must refund all consumers who claim a refund, for the full amount spent by them on the Service, within 28 days of their claim, save where there is good cause to believe that such claims are not valid, and provide evidence to PSA that such refunds have been made• a fine of £100,000.The Tribunal considered that as it had not upheld the breach of Rule 2.3.3, circumstances justified reducing the recovery of the PSA’s administrative costs. It therefore recommended that the Level 2 provider be invoiced for two-thirds of the PSA’s total administrative and legal costs.Administrative charge recommendation: 66.7%

  • Peter Jones t/a Webserve CMS (Case reference: 183017)

    The case concerned an Information, Connection and/or Signposting Service which operated on the number range 0843 455 number range.The Level 2 provider for the Service was a sole trader, Peter Jones who traded as Webserve CMS Limited. The Network operator was Telecoms World Limited.The Service was first registered on the Executive’s registration scheme on 31 January 2019 and the Level 2 provider became responsible for the Service on 2 May 2019. The Level 2 provider registered five trading names with the Executive: “Contact Phone Numbers UK”, “Quick Number”, “Contact Universal Credit”, “Gov Benefits” and “Correct Contacts”. On 30 December 2020, the provider updated “Correct Contacts” to “Runcorn Bridge Tolls”.The Executive sent a Warning Notice to the Level 2 provider on 8 February 2021 in which the following breaches of the Code were raised:Rule 2.3.10 VulnerabilityParagraph 3.4.1 Provider RegistrationParagraph 3.11.3 ICSS 1 Special ConditionsParagraph 3.11.3 ICSS 2 Special ConditionsParagraph 3.11.3 ICSS 4 Special ConditionsParagraph 3.11.3 ICSS 5 Special ConditionsOn 15 March 2021, the Tribunal reached a decision in respect of the breaches.Sanctions imposedformal reprimandcompliance advice is sought and implemented to the satisfaction of the Executivethat access to the Level 2 provider’s Service and all of its numbers is barred for a period of two years or until the Level 2 provider has paid its fine and administration charges in full and sought and implemented compliance advice to the satisfaction of the PSA, whichever is the latera requirement that the Level 2 provider must refund all consumers who claim a refund for the full amount spent by them on the Service within 28 days of their claim, save where there is good cause to believe that such claims are not valid, and provide evidence to PSA that such refunds have been madea fine of £135,000.Administrative charge recommendation: 100%

  • Globo Mobile Kommunikation UG (Case reference: 147804)

    The case concerned a voucher subscription service called “Voucher Promotions”, which operated on a PIN opt-in flow using shortcode 65202.The Level 2 provider for the Service was Globo Mobile Kommunikation UG.The Service was charged at £4.50 per month to receive monthly discount voucher codes and sale notifications, for brands and retailers via text message (SMS) to a mobile phone number (MSISDN).The Service was registered with the PSA on 17 January 2018.The Executive sent a Warning Notice to the Level 2 provider in which the following breaches of the PSA’s Code were raised:Rule 2.3.2 – MisleadingRule 2.3.3 – Consent to chargeParagraph 4.2.3 – Failure to provide information.Having regard to all the circumstances of the case, the Tribunal decided to impose the following sanctions:a formal reprimanda prohibition on the Level 2 provider from providing, or having any involvement in, any premium rate service for a period of five years, starting from the date of publication of the Tribunal decisiona requirement that the Level 2 provider must refund all consumers who claim a refund for the full amount spent by them on the Service, within 28 days of their claim, save where there is good cause to believe such claims are not valid, and provide evidence to the PSA that such refunds have been madea fine of £750,000 broken down as follows:Rule 2.3.2 - £250,000Rule 2.3.3 - £250,000Paragraph 4.2.3 - £250,000.Administrative charge recommendation: 100%

  • Mobtech UG (Case reference: 145055)

    This case concerned a subscription alerts service called ‘Secret Sales Codes’, which provided consumers with voucher codes for retail stores. The promotional material supplied by the Level 2 provider indicated that the service used two opt-in methods – a PIN verification method and a MO (Mobile-Originated) keyword method. However, the Level 1 provider confirmed that no opt-ins had taken place via the MO keyword method.The Executive received 92 complaints concerning the service. The complainants variously alleged that they had not signed up to the service nor agreed to be charged by the Level 2 provider and were unaware of the service or what they had been charged for.The Executive sent a warning notice to the Level 2 provider on 23 March 2021 in which the following breaches of the PSA’s Code were raised:Rule 2.3.3 – Consent to chargeRule 2.3.2 – MisleadingParagraph 4.2.3 – Failure to provide information.The Tribunal concluded that the seriousness of the case should be regarded overall as very serious.Sanctions imposedformal reprimanda prohibition on the Level 2 provider from providing, or having any involvement in, any premium rate service for a period of five years, starting from the date of publication of the Tribunal decision, or until payment of the fine and the administrative charge, whichever is the latera requirement that the Level 2 provider must refund all consumers who claim a refund, for the full amount spent by them on the service, within 28 days of their claim, save where there is good cause to believe that such claims are not valid, and provide evidence to PSA that such refunds have been madea fine of £200,000.Administrative charge recommendation: 100%

  • TCS Combined Solutions Limited (Case reference: 150301)

    TCS Combined Solutions Ltd ran a subscription service called ‘DiscountMeDirect’ which operated at two different price points: a maximum of two £2.50 messages per week on one shortcode, or a maximum of three £1.50 messages per week on other shortcodes.Following an oral hearing, the Tribunal found the breaches to be very serious. These breaches included failing to get consent to charge some consumers and failing to send spend reminders.The Tribunal reprimanded TCS, issued a fine of £885,000 and banned the company from the market for three years. It also ordered TCS to refund all customers who claim a refund.

  • Howard, Richard (Case reference: 185065)

    The Tribunal considered whether to impose a prohibition against Mr Howard pursuant to paragraph 4.8.3(g). The case related to an adjudication against the Level 2 provider, Premier Ventures Ltd, the Level 2 provider, which was heard on 13 November 2019 (case reference: 141951). The adjudication concerned a call-connection service operating on premium rate numbers 09055952952 and 09055958958. As part of the adjudication against the Level 2 provider, the Tribunal recommended that the Executive consider initiating the process which may lead to the prohibition of Mr Howard pursuant to paragraph 4.8.3(g) of the Code.The Tribunal found that Mr Richard Howard was an associated individual for the reasons raised by the Executive. The Tribunal also found for the reasons advanced by the Executive that Mr Howard was knowingly involved in a series of breaches of the Code.The Tribunal decided to prohibit Mr Howard from providing, or having any involvement in, any premium rate service for a period of five years from the date of publication of the decision.Administrative charge: 100%.

  • Entertainmob Kommunikation UG (Case reference: 147802)

    This case was brought against the Level 2 provider under Paragraph 4.5 of the 14th Edition of the Code of Practice.The case concerned a voucher subscription service called “Voucher Bonanza”, which operated on a pin opt-in flow using shortcode 60444 (“the Service”). The Level 2 provider for the Service was Entertainmob Kommunikation UG (the “Level 2 provider”). The Service was charged at £4.50 per month to receive monthly discount voucher codes and sale notifications, for leading brands and retailers via text message (SMS) to a mobile phone. The Service was registered with the PSA on 17 January 2018.The Level 1 provider in respect of the Service was Dynamic Mobile Billing Ltd (the “Level 1 provider”).The Level 1 and Level 2 providers both stated that the value chain consisted of a third party named Kalastia Consulting Limited (the “Supplier”). The Supplier had referred to itself as the “Sub-L1”. The PSA’s Code of Practice does not recognise “Sub-L1s”. As at the date of this adjudication, the Executive is of the view that the Supplier is not a Level 1 provider for the Service and does not fall within the remit of the Code.The Level 2 provider stated that the Service commenced operation on 23 January 2018. It also advised that the Service was promoted through co-registration promotion offers for shopping vouchers between 23 January 2018 and 1 December 2018 and would not be promoted again in the future. The Level 2 provider also supplied the following information on the Service, namely that consumers opted in by inputting their mobile MSISDN into a confirmation box within a promotion. Following this, they received a PIN to their mobile MSISDN which they were required to enter into a second box to verify their entry into the subscription. From that point on, consumers received discount voucher codes straight to their mobile MSISDN within a monthly SMS.At the beginning of the investigation, the Level 2 provider advised that the Service was dormant (obtaining no new subscribers but still billing existing subscribers). Subsequently, the Service was described by other parties in the value chain as being disconnected (gaining no new subscribers and no longer billing existing subscribers). The Level 1 provider informed the PSA that a request was made to cancel the shortcode on 7 July 2019. The Service was terminated on 8 August 2019.The PSA received its first complaint about the Service on 24 January 2018. At the time of this investigation, the UK had not yet left the EU and the Communications Act (e-Commerce) EU Exit) Regulations 2020 were not in force. Because the Level 2 provider was based in Germany, the PSA needed to take additional steps before it could take any measures against it. Accordingly, on 26 July 2018 the Executive informed the Level 2 provider of its intention to send a formal referral to Germany. The Executive duly sent an e-Commerce referral to Germany. On 30 August 2018, the German authority confirmed that it did not intend to take its own measures against the Level 2 provider. The Executive therefore took derogation as of 30 August 2018 and informed the Level 2 provider of its intention to take its own measures in accordance with Article 3(4)(b) of Directive 2000/31/EC.The Executive received a total of 132 complaints about the Service, of which 109 of these complaints were received after obtaining derogation on 30 August 2018. The main complaint period was between September 2018 and December 2018. The complainants variously alleged that they did not sign up to nor agree to be charged by the Level 2 provider and were unaware of the Service or what they were being charged for.Final overall assessmentHaving regard to all the circumstances of the case, the Tribunal decided to impose the following sanctions:a formal reprimanda prohibition on the Level 2 provider from providing, or having any involvement in, any premium rate service for a period of five years, starting from the date of publication of the Tribunal decisiona requirement that the Level 2 provider must refund all consumers who claim a refund for the full amount spent by them on the Service, within 28 days of their claim, save where there is good cause to believe such claims are not valid, and provide evidence to the PSA that such refunds have been madea fine of £750,000 broken down as follows:Rule 2.3.2 - £250,000Rule 2.3.3 - £250,000Paragraph 4.2.3 - £250,000.Administrative charge recommendation: 100%

  • Ramsey, Natalie (Case reference: 182456)

    This case was brought against the associated individual under paragraph 4.8.8 of the 14th edition of the Code of Practice (“the Code”).The case related to an adjudication against the Level 2 provider, Webdata Ltd, (‘the Level 2 provider’), which was heard on 11 October 2019 (case reference: 154913). The adjudication concerned a subscription-based alert service, ‘Lotto Alerts’ (‘the Service’) operated by the Level 2 provider. As part of the adjudication against the Level 2 provider, the Tribunal recommended that the Executive consider initiating the process which may lead to the prohibition of Ms Ramsey pursuant to paragraph 4.8.3(g) of the Code.The Tribunal decided (unanimously) to prohibit Ms Ramsay from providing, or having any involvement in, any premium rate service in the UK for a period of five years from the date of publication of this decision. The Tribunal did not identify any or any sufficient evidence to mitigate the duration of the sanction.The Tribunal considered that such a prohibition was appropriate, proportionate and justified due to the proven conduct of the Level 2 provider and the Tribunal’s finding that Ms Ramsey was knowingly involved in the same. The Tribunal took into account the deterrent effect of sanctions and the need to ensure that such non-compliant conduct would not be repeated by Ms Ramsey. It had regard to the wider public interest and the PSA’s legitimate aim of protecting consumers and the public, and upholding standards and confidence in the sector.Administrative charge recommendation: 100%

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