Publication Date
7 August 2014
Case Reference
Track 2
Adjudicated Party
Service Type
Tribunal's final assessment
Very Serious
Code 12 para 4.8.2d - Fine
Code 12 para 4.8.2b - Formal reprimand and/or warning
Code 12 para 4.8.2a - Remedy the breach
Code 12 para 4.8.2i - General refunds
Breaches raised
Code 12 2.3.3 Fairness
Code 12 2.3.11 Fairness
Code 12 2.3.8 Fairness
Code 12 2.3.12 (c) i Fairness
Code 12 2.4.2 Privacy
Code 12 4.2.4 Investigations

Between 29 May 2013 and 5 June 2014, PhonepayPlus received 216 complaints from consumers in relation to a virtual text chat service` (the “Service”), which operated under the brand names, “Fonegirls”, “VirtualTxtBabes” and “Naughtywap”. The Service was operated by the Level 2 provider WAP Network Group Limited (the “Level 2 provider”) on the premium rate shortcodes 69034, 69035, 69061, 69062, 69744 and 89150. Promotional material for the Service stated that consumers were charged either 25p or 50p per SMS message sent and £1.50 per SMS message received. The Level 1 provider for the Service is IMImobile Europe Limited (the “Level 1 provider”). The Level 2 provider advised the Executive that the Service had operated in its current format since October 2012 but information from the Level 1 provider revealed that the Service had been operational since September 2011. The Service was operational but the Level 2 provider stated on 15 July 2014 that it was no longer promoting the Service.

The Service was promoted on banner advertisements on a number of adult mobile websites. Consumers sent their postcode to a Service shortcode to be matched with a virtual profile and upon receipt of an age verification message, consumers were required to send a mobile originating message (“MO”) to opt-in to the Service..