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The Number UK Limited

Publication Date
3 April 2014
Case Reference
27840
Procedure
Track 2
Adjudicated Party
The Number UK Limited
Service Type
Directory enquiry
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
Code 12 para 4.8.2 (c) - Compliance advice or prior permission
Breaches raised
Code 12 2.2.5 Rules relating to pricing
Summary


Between 21 May 2013 and 20 February 2014, PhonepayPlus received 26 complaints from consumers in relation to a directory enquiries service’s pricing, (the “Service”) operated by The Number UK Limited on the premium rate number 118118. Consumers are charged a connection charge of  £1.59 and £1.99 per minute (with a minimum one minute charge). After one minute, consumers are charged by the second at the same rate. The Service commenced operation in December 2002 and continues to operate. The majority of complainants stated that they were unaware of the cost of the Service and experienced bill shock.

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

  • Rule 2.2.5 – Pricing prominence and proximity

The Tribunal upheld the breach of the Code raised. The Level 2 provider’s revenue in relation to the Service was within the range of Band 1 (£500,000+). The Tribunal considered the case to be very serious and issued a formal reprimand, a fine of £80,000, a requirement that the Level 2 provider seeks compliance advice for the Service’s website promotions 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, and a requirement that the Level 2 provider must refund all complainants who have made a complaint by the date of publication of this decision and 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.