Why have I been charged?
Phone-paid services is the name given to all content, goods, or services charged to a phone bill. In law they are referred to as premium rate services.
Paying through your phone bill is a popular and easy way of payment for services, currently used by over 20 million people in the UK alone. Big brands like Apple, Google, Spotify, ITV, Capital FM and Comic Relief all offer services you can pay for through your phone bill, such as music subscriptions, games, donations to charity and voting on TV talent shows. This means that when you call or send texts to premium numbers, make in-app purchases or play games and quizzes on your phone, you can add the costs to your phone bill or pay-as-you-go credit.
Here's a quick guide to what phone-paid services are and how they each work:
Who is actually charging me?
Much like a purchase using your debit card, there can be multiple parties involved in making a phone-paid purchase happen. But the two most important ones you should know about are:
- the service provider, this is the company that is actually providing you the service or content that you want, for example a charity donation or a music subscription
- your mobile or fixed line network provider who is allowing the charge to be added to your bill or taken from your credit on behalf on the service provider. While network providers charge you on behalf of the service provider, the network provider is not responsible for managing your service. So if you want to discuss a service you’ve been charged for you need to contact the service provider directly.
If you don’t know who charged you or how to contact the service provider, then you can either find out through our Service checker or ask your network provider directly.
How do I know I’ve been charged for a phone-paid service?
Try to recall if you might have used any of the services listed above recently. The best way to check is on your phone bill where you’ll find all your charges listed.
Your phone bill will not always list the name of the service provider; sometimes you will see a number instead. You can enter that number into our Service checker to find out which service provider has charged you, for what service and how to contact them about the charge.
What to look for on your bill:
- mobile text short codes, which are usually 5 or 6 digits long and start with a 5, 6, 7 or 8. You may have received text messages from a number like this; these messages give you information about the service, such as the contact details of the service provider.
- charges might be listed as Payforit, charge-to-mobile, operator billing, direct carrier billing or Google Play on your bill. These are just payment mechanisms, they are not names of the service provider. To find out who charged you either use our Service checker or ask your phone network provider.
- fixed line numbers, such as 118 numbers used for directory enquiries.
09, 087 and 084 numbers are often used for customer helplines, information and chat lines, and competitions or TV voting.
Our rules make it very clear that you should not be charged for any phone-paid service without your consent. Our Code of Practice requires that the cost of the service, and how the service works, are clear.
If you believe you have been charged for a phone-paid service unknowingly and are entitled to a refund, talk to the service provider who charged you in the first instance. For more help also see I've been charged, what next?