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Nobinet Ltd.

Publication Date
20 February 2014
Case Reference
16168
Procedure
Track 2
Adjudicated Party
Nobinet Ltd.
Service Type
Competition - non-scratchcard
Tribunal's final assessment
Serious
Sanctions
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 2.3.2 Misleading
Code 12 2.2.5 Rules relating to pricing
Code 12 2.2.2 Transparency and Pricing
Summary

Between 7 January 2013 and 10 July 2013, PhonepayPlus received 8 complaints from consumers in relation to a subscription games and competition service, which operated under the brand names “Playneto” and “Gameztour” (the “Service”). The Service was operated by the Level 2 provider Nobinet Ltd on the premium rate shortcode 60999. Consumers were charged £4.50 per week for the Playneto Service and £3.00 per week for the Gameztour Service. The Level 1 provider was TxtNation Limited. The Playneto Service began operation in November 2012. The Gameztour Service commenced operation in approximately May 2012. The Service was voluntarily suspended by the Level 1 provider in February 2013.

The Service was promoted online using affiliate marketing. Consumers subscribed to the Service, using mobile originating (“MO”) opt-in and were given the opportunity to play a “Pac Man” style game in order to be entered into a draw to win prizes, such as an iPhone or iPad.

The majority of complainants stated that the text messages they received were unsolicited and that they had not engaged with the Service but had been charged. Two complaints were made by parents on behalf of a 13 and 17 year old respectively.

The Executive raised the following potential 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 2.2.2 – Written information material to the decision to purchase

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 4 (£50,000-£100,000). The Tribunal considered the case to be serious and issued a formal reprimand, a fine of £45,000 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.