- Publication Date
- 1 July 2021
- Case Reference
- Adjudicated Party
- TCS Combined Solutions Limited
- Service Type
- Virtual Gifts
- Tribunal's final assessment
- Very Serious
- 4.8.3 (b) Sanctions
4.8.3 (d) Sanctions
4.8.3 (g) Sanctions
4.8.3 (c) Sanctions
4.8.3 (i) Sanctions
- Breaches raised
TCS Combined Solutions Ltd (‘the Applicant’) has been registered with the Executive since 6 October 2017. The Applicant operated “DiscountMeDirect” (‘the Service’), a premium rate service that offered alerts to consumers regarding discount offers and competitions. Between 3 April 2018 and 7 January 2020, the Executive received 100 complaints from members of the public which alleged that they had received chargeable messages from the Service without having opted in to it.
The Executive wrote to the Applicant on 20 August 2018 to indicate that it was making preliminary enquiries into the Service. At this time, the Executive made an informal request for information regarding the Service and its promotion and operation. On 15 November 2018, the case was allocated for a formal Track 2 investigation. Following allocation, the Executive issued a Warning Notice for interim measures to be imposed on 12 December 2018. On 14 December 2018 the Code Adjudication Tribunal (CAT) imposed interim measures with withhold £160,000 in funds.
On the application of the Applicant, the interim measures were subject to a review on 18 January 2019. On this occasion, the CAT rejected the Applicant’s application and increased the total amount to be withheld to £510,000. On 27 June 2019, the Applicant requested a second review of the interim measures. This application was rejected. The case regarding the Applicant was heard by way of an oral hearing between 9 December 2020 and 11 December 2020. Due to the pandemic, the oral hearing took place as a virtual hearing with all parties attending remotely.
The Executive received an application for a review of the Tribunal’s decision on 21 January 2021 pursuant to paragraph 4.10 of the Code. The review hearing took place using the paper-based procedure before a freshly constituted Tribunal on 14 June 2021.
As a final matter, the Tribunal considered the Applicant’s submission that the naming investigation recommended by the original Tribunal should no longer stand. The Tribunal noted that this was not a sanction within the meaning of paragraph 4.8.3 of the Code and noted that it was simply a recommendation. The Tribunal was of the view that as the naming investigation was only a recommendation, it did not need to consider this matter as part of the review and that the decision to pursue the naming investigation was one for the Executive.
Administrative charge recommendation: 100% but capped to £150,000.