Subhan Universal Limited

Publication Date
12 December 2013
Case Reference
Track 2
Adjudicated Party
Subhan Universal Limited
Service Type
Tribunal's final assessment
Very Serious
Code 12 para 4.8.2b - Formal reprimand and/or warning
Code 12 para 4.8.2d - Fine
Code 12 para 4.8.2i - General refunds
Breaches raised
Code 12 2.3.1 Fairness
Code 12 3.4.1 Registration

The Level 2 provider Subhan Universal Limited operated ten 090 numbers that, save for one digit, were identical to the numbers used as voting lines by the television programme “Britain’s Got Talent” and “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!” (the “Service”). Calls to the numbers were charged at £1.02 per call (plus network charges). The Service operated between 6 May 2012 and 31 May 2013, when it was voluntarily suspended by the Level 2 provider following correspondence with PhonepayPlus.

Following the receipt of a complaint about the Service, PhonepayPlus conducted monitoring which highlighted concerns regarding consumers not being treated fairly. Monitoring showed that consumers who interacted with the Service in error were likely to believe that they had voted for a contestant on “Britain’s Got Talent” and/or “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here” as a result of hearing an interactive voice recording (“IVR”) which stated, “thanks for voting”.

The Executive raised the following potential breaches of the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice (12th Edition) (the "Code"):

  • Rule 2.3.1 – Fair and equitable treatment
  • Paragraph 3.4.1 – Registration of an organisation

The Tribunal upheld all the breaches of the Code raised. The Level 2 provider’s revenue in relation to the Service was within the range of Band 6 (£1 - £5,000). The Tribunal considered the case to be very serious and issued a formal reprimand, a fine of £6,000 and 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 PhonepayPlus that such refunds have been made.