Effective sanctioning

23 March 2017, Jo Prowse, Chief Executive

Consultation on effectiveness of sanctions

Our vision is a healthy and innovative market in which consumers can charge content, goods and services to their phone bill with confidence. We look to achieve this by protecting consumers from harm and encouraging growth and innovation in their interests.

Tackling non-compliance in the market is therefore central to our regulatory mission. Non-compliance not only harms consumers, but also damages the reputation of the market and hinders compliant providers from offering services that consumers enjoy.

Over the last few months, we have been reviewing the effectiveness of our approach to sanctioning. Industry, consumer groups and the PSA Code Adjudication Panel have told us that sanctions need to be sufficiently robust to deter providers from non-compliance.

Stakeholders have also told us that in some instances, sanctions imposed by the Tribunal should have gone further. In their view, the sanctions imposed in some cases did not adequately address the widespread consumer harm, the revenue generated and the impact of non-compliance on the reputation of the market.

We believe effective sanctioning supports good regulation and a healthy market. The proposals set out today reflect an updated approach to sanctioning which should enable us to take effective, robust yet proportionate action against non-complaint providers.  

The proposals are relatively few in number and focus mainly on the approach PSA Tribunals should take when setting sanctions. They do not alter our powers but set out how we intend to make better use of the powers currently available to us to address widespread consumer harm, whilst providing clarification where we think this would provide greater transparency. And, of course, the majority of providers, offering compliant services, will be unaffected by these proposals.

We are now consulting on the changes and we look forward to hearing your views. Details on the proposals and how to respond can be found here. As always, if you have any questions about the consultation, let us know below.