Between 5 March 2015 and 11 November 2015, the Executive received 77 complaints concerning a glamour video subscription service, charged at £3 per week, operating on dedicated shortcode 65002, and shared shortcodes 82999, 88150 and 88177 (the “Service”). The Level 2 provider for the Service was Modena Solutions Limited (the “Level 2 provider”). The Level 1 provider for Service shortcode 65002 was IMImobile Europe Limited (“IMImobile”) (since renamed Wireless Information Network Ltd). The Level 1 provider for Service shortcodes 82999, 88150 and 88177 is Veoo Ltd (“Veoo”).
Complainants variously alleged that the Service charges were unsolicited. In addition, after analysing complainant message logs, the Executive noted that there was a high failure rate of chargeable messages following the purported consumer opt-ins, and the delivery status of Service messages was unclear.
The Executive raised the following potential breaches of the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice (the "Code"):
- Paragraph 4.2.4 – Provision of false information to PhonepayPlus
- Rule 2.3.3 – Consent to charge
- Rule 2.3.11 – Method of exit
- Paragraph 3.4.12 – Failure to register a number
The Tribunal upheld all breaches of the Code raised. The Level 2 provider’s revenue in relation to the Service was in Band 3 (£250,000 - £499,999). The Tribunal considered the case to be very serious and imposed a formal reprimand, a fine of £200,000, 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.
Administrative charge recommendation: 100%