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The new 13th Code of Practice

01 July 2015, Jo Prowse, Acting Chief Executive
13thcode

Yesterday PhonepayPlus launched a new Code of Practice, our 13th, for the premium rate services (PRS) industry. It continues our focus on outcomes for the market and for consumers, not prescriptive rules, and it is designed with the future development of PRS in mind.

Here are the some of the key changes and further information that industry members need to know.

Key changes in the 13th Code
We have listened to industry and consumers’ views in our consultations and we will continue to be proportionate in applying regulation. The key changes to the Code include:

  • A new rule requiring providers to possess any qualifications and/or licences necessary in law before operating a PRS
  • An updated rule around the requirement not to take advantage of vulnerable consumers
  • The raising of the “forced release” cap on live chat and sexual entertainment services from £30 to £45 per call – with the introduction of the requirements to clearly inform consumers when they have spent £15 and require them to clearly opt in to continue when they have spent £30
  • The raising of the existing single purchase cap, and monthly subscription cap, on Children’s Services from £3 to £5 (incl. VAT), and the introduction of a new cumulative purchase cap for Children’s Services of £20 (incl. VAT) per service in any given billing cycle
  • The removal of a requirement for all PRS to supply and promote a non-PRS UK phone number for consumer enquiries – although a number should still be provided where this is the most appropriate medium for consumer contact
  • The introduction of special conditions to apply to defined higher risk service types

“Grace period”
A small number of regulatory standards are being introduced for the first time, which require technical developments. PhonepayPlus will work with industry members to make sure all technical standards are fully implemented before 1 August 2015.

During this period PhonepayPlus will not take enforcement action in relation to these standards:

  • Reminders provided in call after £15 has been spent;
  • Consent to further charges in call after £30 has been spent;
  • Receipt requirements set out in PPV2  (see Notice of Special conditions for (i) ‘Pay-Per-View services’).

UK Calling changes
The new Code also aligns with changes arising from Ofcom’s review of Non-Geographic Call Services, which are known as UK Calling and also come into effect today. These changes, implemented by Ofcom, make the cost of calling service numbers clearer and include numbers that fall under PhonepayPlus’ regulation.

Further information and advice
We have been working with industry to help them prepare for this new Code. Further information and FAQs can be found on the Code of Practice page.

Industry members can also sign-up for our seminars on key parts of the new Code.

Further information on the consultation process for 13th Code of Practice can be found here.

Separately, PhonepayPlus is now reviewing the investigation, adjudication and sanctions procedures contained in ‘Part 4’ of the Code, more information on that work can be found here.

Start the conversation

Comments

  • PhonepayPlus

    24/08/2015 16:14

    Hi Lauren, I'd be happy to answer thoroughly, but what enforcement action are you referring to? PhonepayPlus does take enforcement action when there is evidence that phone-paid services are operated contrary to our Code. The UK Calling campaign is directed at consumers and businesses using non-geographic call services. While the guidance given through this campaign is not directly enforceable by PhonepayPlus, we will investigate possible breaches of our Code where issues are flagged up.

  • PhonepayPlus

    03/08/2015 08:38

    Hi Wilma, please call us on 0800 500 212 to speak to a Customer Services adviser who is able to help you with this. We cannot offer assistance in a blog post reply. The call is free of charge and you can get in touch from Monday to Friday, from 9.30am to 5pm.

  • wilma colquhoun

    01/08/2015 20:34

    I received a text saying,,,, say yes to receive your prize of a free iPhone 6 and I ignored it and was sent another, I then text back to say only if it was a genuine free item otherwise I'm not interested as there are so many purposely misleading messages and it's becoming very difficult ti identify if they are from a friend or a scam and anyway I got a reply saying it was genuine, however I just deleted it as I thought it was unlikely for anyone to give something for free, my contract phone is with Tesco mobile and I am a tiny user as I am disabled after a huge cancer surgery left me with severe health problems and so have no income, when I noticed my bill which is usually under £7.50 was almost two pounds more, I checked the online bill and couldn't for the life of me recognise a £1.75 call, it flummoxed me as even my landline calls amounted to 13 calls in the whole month and after getting some help my daughter discovered it was this invitation.to receive a free phone and my asking if it was a genuine offer incurred this charge? Words and wording is now making me frightened to use the phone but it's my lifeline as my health is awful, surely a required alert logo or a flashing text or similar would easily identify a customer of a high charge call so that for vulnerable users with mental or educational limitations or in my case heavy opioid pain meds that can make me less alert could feel safer,,,Anyway,, if these premium rate companies are have the integrity that the common people should be able to rely on, they should indeed be happy to comply,,,and if not,,,they should be held suspect for misleading content, I have had to pay this charge but also cancelling my contract and being held up by the company to pay the monthly charges for the rest of the contract that I am scared to use and all because of a text I didn't ask for, please be aware that there are a huge many people in this country who are being unfairly targeted by this allowing this kind of contact, I should not have to read twelve pages of terms and conditions either and basic info for anyone using anything should be simplified, this behaviour and other allowable dishonourable behaviour is the scourge of the UK and has added to most people now feeling that they too should give little and take a lot, we need people of fearless integrity who will determine to protect the people at all levels instead of always looking to benefit in some personal way at the cost to others, No wonder people now break the law and don't renew mot car insurance TV licence and claim undeserved benefits when they see that the law makers and enforcers are lining their own pockets at every turn,

  • PhonepayPlus

    14/07/2015 11:10

    Hi Ross, if you've deleted the message unfortunately there's no other way to stop the service. Unless you remember the SMS shortcode and you can text it with STOP to stop the service and implicitly the charge. Otherwise you can contact the telephone provider and ask for more info about service provider (the service provider is doing the actual charge). Then you can contact the service provider and ask to have the service stopped. Precisely for this reason we always recommend to not delete the message as it will have the stop instructions and a customer care number for you to contact if you wish to cancel the service. Hope this helps! Cătălina

  • Ross johnston

    12/07/2015 17:03

    How do I stop SMS subscription if the text is deleted and I have no info, I'm being charged 4.50 per week and I don't even know what it is for?

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