PhonepayPlus received 34 complaints in relation to the service operating on shortcode 88818. The service was a subscription competition service called ‘JuicyWin’ and offered participants the chance to win an iPhone prize and/or other cash prizes. Complainants stated that they had received charged unsolicited text messages and stated that the subscription element of the service had been concealed. Having taken into account the aggravating and mitigating factors, the Tribunal concluded that the seriousness of the case should be regarded overall as significant. Having regard to all the circumstances of the case, including the revenue of the service, the Tribunal decided to impose the following sanctions:
- a Formal Reprimand
- a fine of £30,000
- the Tribunal ordered that the Information Provider seek compliance advice in relation to this service within two weeks of the publication of this decision. Compliance advice is to be implemented to the satisfaction of the Executive within two weeks of receipt.
- the Tribunal commented that it expected claims for refunds to continue to be paid by the Information Provider for the full amount spent by complainants, except where there is good cause to believe that such claims are not valid.
Click here to view the Adjudication decision
On 11 November 2010 the Review Tribunal considered the Information Provider’s new evidence in relation to the service revenue and reassessed the impact of the upheld breaches, including the legality breach which could be seen as relatively minor and technical. This however had to be set against the original failure to fully co-operate with the regulator. It accordingly reduced the original fine to £15,000. The Review Tribunal did not alter any of the other sanctions imposed by the original Tribunal.
Click here to view the reviewed decision