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'Switch on' to your rights - National Consumer Week 2016

29 November 2016, David Owen, Senior Communications Executive
switched on

Today sees the launch of National Consumer Week, which helps people understand their consumer rights and be ‘switched on’ consumers.

There are an estimated 23 million users of phone-paid services in the UK. As part of National Consumer Week, we want to help you be a ‘switched on' consumer by knowing what can be charged through your phone bill.

Charging content, goods and services to a phone bill
Phone-paid services provide quick and easy ways of paying for things through your phone bill. Through a few clicks on a smartphone you can donate to charity via text, purchase digital content such as games and apps and vote on Strictly.

Here are our tips for being a ‘switched on’ consumer of phone-paid services.
1.    Think of your phone as being like a bank card; if you give out your phone number, it can be used to make a charge to your phone bill.
2.    Watch what you click on – know what you are agreeing to before you click on an online promotion.
3.    Look for the price – promotions need to make it clear the costs before subscribing.
4.    Read the small print as you may be subscribing to a recurring charge.
5.    Don’t ignore your phone bill. If you see anything unexpected, check it with your network or by contacting the service provider.
6.    Use the STOP command. You can stop a service by texting STOP or STOP ALL to the shortcode (five or six digit number usually beginning with 5, 6, 7 or 8) provided in a message.

What to do if you spot an unexpected charge:

  • Check if it is a phone-paid service. Charges may appear on your bill as a charge to mobile (Payforit, Direct-to-bill, Operator billing) or a phone-paid service number or shortcode (118, 087, 09 numbers or a five or six-digit number usually beginning with 5, 6, 7 or 8).
  • Do not delete the message that confirms the payment or subscription. It is important to have all the details of the service and payment in order to find out     more about it. If you do not wish to receive the service, reply with STOP or STOP ALL to the provided.
  • Contact the company that runs the service. Your network provider will be able to let you know who is running a service and their contact details. You can also use our online number checker.
  • Contact the PSA? If you are not satisfied after contacting the service provider then contact the PSA. We are not a refund provider but as the regulator we will look into how an organisation is operating. If we find a company is breaching our Code of Practice we will investigate and have the power to take enforcement action.

Further information about National Consumer Week 2016, led by Citizens Advice, The Chartered Institute of Trading Standards and National Trading Standards is available here.

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