This case was brought against the Level 2 provider under Paragraph 4.5 of the 14th edition of the Code of Practice.
The case concerned a quiz competition service which operated under the five brand names ‘txtwinner’, ‘voucher.me’, ‘britsms’, ‘smsunltd’ and ‘txtintl’ (the “Service”).
The Level 2 provider for the Service was Itech Logic Ltd (the “Level 2 provider”). The Level 2 provider was first registered with the Phone-paid Services Authority on 26 July 2011.
The Level 1 providers for the Service are Dynamic Mobile Billing Limited (UK) (“DMB”), Txtnation Limited (UK) (“Txtnation”), mGage Europe Limited (UK) (“mGage”) and Tap2Bill Limited (UK) (“Tap2bill”).
The Executive defined ‘operates on’ as any shortcodes associated with the service, in particular shortcodes used for entering, billing and exiting the service. The Service operated on various shared and dedicated shortcodes: 80199, 88833, 80267, 87070, 65067, 85222, 80181, 80252, 87066, 85450 and 68899. The Service subscribed users through Pay-for-It, PIN opt-in and mobile-originating (“MO”) messaging. The Service had three price points of £1.50 per message, £3.00 per week or £4.50 per week.
The Service began promotion in June 2011, promotions to opt-in via PSMS and MO ended in November 2016 and promotions to opt-in via Pay-for-It ended promotion in February 2017. The Executive notes that promotion and operation on the different shortcodes began and ended on various dates as set out below based on the information that had been provided by the various Level 1 providers.
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 must remedy the breach by registering the Service and all shortcodes on the PSA registration scheme
• a requirement that a compliance audit is undertaken of the Level 2 provider to a standard prescribed by the PSA, to be conducted by an independent third party agreed by the PSA. Such compliance audit to include an audit of the compliance of the Level 2 provider with rules governing registration and complaints handling
• that access is barred to all of the Service until the compliance audit is conducted and implemented to the standard prescribed by the PSA and the breaches have been remedied to the satisfaction of the PSA
• a fine of £250,000.
Administrative charge recommendation: 100%