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Heart Communications Limited

Publication Date
25 October 2018
Case Reference
13383
Procedure
Track 2
Adjudicated Party
Heart Communications Limited
Service Type
Information
Tribunal's final assessment
Very Serious
Sanctions
4.8.3 (d) Sanctions
4.8.2 (b) Sanctions
4.8.3 (i) Sanctions
4.8.3 (c) Sanctions
4.8.3 (e) Sanctions
4.8.3 (a) Sanctions
4.8.3 (k) Sanctions
Breaches raised
Code 14 2.2.7 Rules relating to pricing
Code 14 2.3.2 Fairness
Code 14 2.3.4 Fairness
Code 14 2.6.1 Complaint handling
Summary

The case concerned a Service that provided information on working from home as a virtual assistant promoted on www.ukassignments.co.uk and www.paidpeople.co.uk and operating on premium rate number 09131240150 (the “Service”).

The Level 2 provider for the Service was Heart Communications Limited (the “Level 2 provider”). The Level 2 provider registered with the Phone-paid Services Authority (the “PSA”) on 14 January 2014. The Level 1 provider was Numbers Plus Limited (“Numbers Plus”).

The Service was stated to be a Service that provided information on working from home as a virtual assistant charged at £2.50 per minute plus phone company access charge.

The Executive had received 9 complaints concerning the Service since 11 April 2017.  

Complainants variously alleged issues with pricing information, that they were misled and that there was undue delay when using the Service.

The Executive raised the following potential breaches of the PSA Code of Practice 14th Edition (“the Code”):

  • Rule 2.2.7 – Pricing information
  • Rule 2.3.2 – Misleading
  • Rule 2.3.4 – Undue delay
  • Rule 2.6.1 – Complaint Handling

The Tribunal upheld all four of the breaches of the Code raised. The Level 2 provider’s relevant revenue in relation to the Service was £118,558.99.  

The Tribunal considered the case to be Very Serious and imposed:

  • a formal reprimand
  • a fine of £165,000
  • a direction that compliance advice in respect of the Service be sought and implemented to the satisfaction of PSA (4.8.3(c))
  • a direction that access to the service be barred until compliance advice has been sought and implemented to the satisfaction of PSA (4.8.3(e))
  • a requirement that the Level 2 provider remedy the breaches to the satisfaction of PSA
  • a requirement that the Level 2 provider should submit to a compliance audit, conducted by an approved 3rd party and to a standard prescribed by the PSA. Such audit to be completed, and the recommendations implemented within a period specified by the PSA.

Administrative charge recommendation: 100%