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Surestream Digital Limited 157651

Publication date 02 August 2022
Case reference 157651
Procedure Enforcement
Adjudicated party Surestream Digital Limited 157651
Service type Any Subscription Service
Tribunal's final assessment Serious
Sanctions Code 15 - 5.8.5 (a)
Code 15 - 5.8.5 (b)
Code 15 - 5.8.5 (d)
Code 15 - 5.8.5 (i)
Code 15 - 5.8.8 (c)
Breaches raised Code 15 - 2.2.7
Code 15 - 2.3.2

This case was brought against Surestream Digital Limited (“the Merchant”) under Paragraph 5.4 of the 15th Edition of the Code of Practice (“the Code”).

This case concerned a Lottery results alert service provided by the Merchant. The Service was registered and operated under the brand name “Lottery Results”.

The Service operates on a PIN opt-in flow and uses short code 82222 for Service terminations (the “Service”). The Service is a subscription service charging 25p per text message (“SMS”) which details the winning lottery numbers after each draw. The subscriber receives an SMS for each lottery draw. The Service is no longer promoting and is no longer obtaining new traffic, but is still billing existing subscribers.

The PSA received 198 complaints regarding the Service. The complainants alleged that they recall checking the lottery results but did not recall it being a subscription service or anything stating that there would be a charge. Complainants also stated that when they tried to contact the Merchant, the number just rang and no one answered their calls.

The following breaches of the PSA’s Code were raised in the Enforcement notice:
(1) Rule 2.2.7 – Pricing
(2) Rule 2.3.2 – Misleading

The Tribunal concluded that the seriousness of the case should be regarded overall as serious.

Sanctions imposed:

  • a formal reprimand
  • a requirement that the Merchant remedy the breach by correcting the pricing issues and misleading aspects of the promotional material for the Service. In addition, the Merchant should inform all existing subscribers of the true cost of the Service, including the amount of alerts they receive and give them the option to select how many of the alerts they want to receive going forward or of unsubscribing entirely. Evidence should be provided to the satisfaction of PSA to confirm that this has been done.
  • a requirement that the Merchant seeks compliance advice from the PSA and implements it to the satisfaction of the PSA in relation to the operation and promotion of this alert Service and any future alert services, for a period of three years from the publication date
  • a requirement that the Merchant must refund all consumers who claim a refund for the full amount spent by them on the Service, within 30 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 £160,000 broken down as follows:

Breach 1 – Rule 2.2.7 - £80,000
Breach 2 – Rule 2.3.2 - £80,000.

Administrative charge recommendation: 50%

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