- Publication Date
- 10 July 2014
- Case Reference
- Track 2
- Adjudicated Party
- Clarium Telecom Limited
- Service Type
- Social games
- Tribunal's final assessment
- 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 2.4.2 Privacy
Code 12 3.9.2 Responsibilities of Level 2 providers
Between 25 June 2013 and 5 December 2013, PhonepayPlus received 18 complaints from consumers in relation to a virtual chat service, (the “Service”), which operated under the brand names “Instamatch” and “40 Second Match” (formerly known as “Speedmeet”). The Service was operated by the Level 2 provider Clarium Telecom Limited (the “Level 2 provider”) on the premium rate shortcodes 82233 and 84439. Consumers were charged £1.50 for each SMS message received (up to seven messages may have been received for each message sent). The Level 1 provider for shortcode 84439 was Netsize Internet Payment Exchange AB and the Level 1 provider for shortcode 82233 was IMImobile Europe Limited. The Service commenced operation on 7 February 2013. The Instamatch Service was voluntarily suspended on 19 October 2013 and the 40 Second Match Service (operating under the brand name “Speedmeet” until August 2013) was voluntarily suspended on 4 October 2013, following correspondence with PhonepayPlus.
The majority of complainants stated that they had not interacted with the Service but had incurred unsolicited charges. Other complainants reported receiving and responding to SMS messages but they were unaware that they would incur charges.
The Executive raised the following potential breaches of the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice (12th edition) (the “Code”):
- Rule 2.3.2 – Misleading
- Rule 2.4.2 – Consent to market
- Paragraph 3.9.2 – Appropriate use of a number range
The Tribunal upheld all of the breaches of the Code raised. The Level 2 provider’s revenue in relation to the Service was within the range of Band 2 (£250,000 - £500,000). The Tribunal considered the case to be serious and issued a formal reprimand, a fine of £75,000 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.