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iSMS Solutions OU

Publication Date
17 April 2014
Case Reference
17679
Procedure
Track 2
Adjudicated Party
iSMS Solutions OU
Service Type
Tribunal's final assessment
Serious
Sanctions
Code 12 para 4.8.2b - Formal reprimand and/or warning
Code 12 para 4.8.2d - Fine
Breaches raised
Code 12 2.5.5 Avoidance of harm
Code 12 3.4.1 Registration
Code 12 4.2.5 Investigations
Summary


The Level 2 provider, iSMS Solutions OU, trading as “SMS Gang” operated an anonymous SMS message service, (the “Service”) on the premium rate shortcodes 82772 and 88080. Consumers were charged £3.00 to send 18 anonymous SMS messages or £5.00 to send 30 anonymous SMS messages. The Level 1 provider OpenMarket Limited was contracted with the Mobile Network operators for the provision of the premium rate shortcodes. OpenMarket Limited was contracted with another Level 1 provider, Fortumo OU, which was directly contracted with the Level 2 provider. The exact period the Service operated is unknown. However, Fortumo OU stated that the Level 2 provider had originally operated a different service from around November 2010 and appeared to have switched to an anonymous SMS message service on an unknown date. The Service was suspended by Fortumo OU, following correspondence with PhonepayPlus.

PhonepayPlus received no complaints from consumers. Concerns regarding the operation of the Service were uncovered as a result of monitoring conducted by the PhonepayPlus Research and Market Intelligence Team (“RMIT”).

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

  • Rule 2.5.5 – Avoidance of harm (fear, anxiety, distress or offence)
  • Paragraph 3.4.1 – Registration of an organisation
  • Paragraph 4.2.5 – Failure to disclose information

The Tribunal upheld all the breaches of the Code raised. The Level 2 provider’s revenue in relation to the Service was towards the lower end of Band 6 (£1- £5,000). The Tribunal considered the case to be serious and issued a formal reprimand and a fine of £5,000.