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Total Recruitment Consultancy

Publication Date
27 November 2014
Case Reference
48460
Procedure
Track 2
Adjudicated Party
Total Recruitment Consultancy
Service Type
Professional advice
Tribunal's final assessment
Serious
Sanctions
Code 12 para 4.8.2b - Formal reprimand and/or warning
Code 12 para 4.8.2 (c) - Compliance advice or prior permission
Code 12 para 4.8.2i - General refunds
Code 12 para 4.8.2d - Fine
Breaches raised
Code 12 2.3.2 Misleading
Code 12 2.2.5 Rules relating to pricing
Code 12 2.2.1 (a) Transparency and Pricing
Code 12 3.4.12 (a) Numbers
Summary

Between 30 June 2014 and 5 September 2014, PhonepayPlus received 21 complaints from consumers in relation to a recruitment and recruitment training and advice service, (the “Service”), which is operated by the Level 2 provider, Total Recruitment Consultancy Limited (the “Level 2 provider”). The Service operated on various 090 premium rate numbers that had been allocated to the Level 2 provider by the Network operator Numbers Plus Ltd (the “Network operator”). Consumers were charged between 77p and £1.53 per minute (plus Network charges). The Service operated from June 2014 and continues to operate.

The majority of complaints stated that they had received an email notifying them that they had been selected for a job interview. Some complainants also reported receiving a job specification. Complainants stated that they had called the 090 number but they were unaware that they would incur premium rate charges, as such many experienced bill shock. Many complainants also reported being kept on the line for extended periods of time or being asked a series of irrelevant or repetitive questions. One complainant reported incurring charges of £200 after interacting with the Service.

The Executive raised the following breaches of the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice (12th Edition) (the “Code”).

• Rule 2.3.2 – Misleading
• Rule 2.2.5 – Pricing prominence and proximity
• Rule 2.2.1(a) – Provision of information
• Paragraph 3.4.12(a) – Registration of numbers

The Tribunal upheld all the breaches of the Code. The Level 2 provider’s revenue in relation to the Service was in the range of Band 6 (£5,000 - £49,999). The Tribunal considered the case to be serious and issued a formal reprimand, a requirement that the Level 2 provider seek compliance advice for the Service and any other services that it operates within two weeks of the date of publication of this decision and thereafter implement that advice within two weeks (subject to any extension of time agreed with PhonepayPlus) to the satisfaction of PhonepayPlus, a fine of £8,000 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.