Publication Date
21 March 2019
Case Reference
Track 2
Adjudicated Party
Service Type
All games (excluding social)
Tribunal's final assessment
Very Serious
4.8.3 (b) Sanctions
4.8.3 (a) Sanctions
4.8.3 (e) Sanctions
4.8.3 (d) Sanctions
4.8.3 (i) Sanctions
Breaches raised
Code 14 2.3.1 Fairness
Code 14 2.3.2 Fairness
Code 14 2.6.1 Complaint handling
Code 14 3.4.14 (a) Numbers

The case concerned a gaming subscription service called BestVIPGames which operated on a PayForIt platform. The service used short codes 64055 for the stop function and 85450 for free reminder messages and receipts. The service was charged at £4.50 per week and provided access to a games portal which consumers were sent a link to via text message once they subscribed. The service had not been registered with the PSA and therefore there was no service description entered by the Level 2 provider on the PSA’s customer relationship management system.

The Level 2 provider stated that the service commenced operation on the 31st of May 2017 and this was confirmed by the Level 1 provider. The Level 2 provider and the Level 1 provider both stated, at the beginning of the investigation, that the service was no longer being promoted. However, consumers who were yet to send a stop request to opt out of the service, continued to be charged for the subscription on a weekly basis. The Level 2 provider confirmed that the game portal was still accessible to current subscribers.

Having regard to all the circumstances of the case, the Tribunal decided to impose the following sanctions:

  • a formal reprimand
  • a requirement that the Level 2 provider remedy the breaches by ensuring that:
        - all consumers affected by the content locking be removed from the Level 2 provider’s database
        - all subscribers to the service be provided with an appropriate link to the service, to be re-sent on each occasion the subscriber is billed
        - all relevant service information by registered on the PSA’s registration database as required by paragraph 3.4.14(a) of the Code.
  • a bar on access to the Service for 2 years and following this period, that access to the service remain barred until the breaches have been remedied to the satisfaction of PSA (where this has not yet occurred)
  • 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 the PSA that such refunds have been made
  • a fine of £375,000 comprised as follows:
       - Rule 2.3.1 - £75,000
       - Rule 2.3.2 - £150,000
       - Rule 2.6.1 - £100,000
       - Paragraph 3.4.14(a) - £50,000