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PhonepayPlus publishes new ‘fit for the future’ Code of Practice

30 March 2011

PhonepayPlus, the UK regulator of premium rate telephone services (PRS), today published its new Code of Practice for the PRS industry. The new Code, widely consulted on with industry and other stakeholders, marks a significant departure from previous Codes and is designed for the digital age.

The new Code of Practice is built around very clearly defined consumer outcomes, such as pricing transparency, good customer service and respecting consumers’ privacy, especially important in the online age. For the first time, PhonepayPlus will directly regulate every part of the PRS value-chain, ensuring that all providers share responsibility for delivering good consumer outcomes, while allowing the regulator to better target that minority of providers who cause consumer harm. The new Code also helps support innovation in the market by allowing providers flexibility in how they comply with the Code, so that they might adapt their services to take full advantage of digital technology, including social networking and smartphone apps.

PhonepayPlus’ Chief Executive, Paul Whiteing, commented:

“The result of over two years’ development, including in-depth consultation with industry and consumer stakeholders, our new Code of Practice is designed to be fit for the future. We are in a fast-moving age for communications, where we are seeing more and more innovative use of micropayments, including PRS, in the digital arena. 2010 saw an explosion in virtual goods, with the market driven by social networking sites expanding by over 400%. We are seeing more and more innovations in the PRS market, from virtual jukeboxes in bars and clubs to charity badges for phones.

“As the market for PRS and other micropayments expands, our new Code of Practice, with its clear focus on what matters to consumers, will be flexible enough to deal with innovations in the digital and micropayment worlds as they happen. We are proud of the new Code of Practice and look forward to working with the PRS industry to build and sustain consumer confidence in these exciting new markets.”

Click here to view the new Code of Practice, which will come into effect on 1 September 2011.

Click here to view the Notice of Implementation, which sets the out the requirements under the new (12th edition) Code of Practice for which PRS providers need to have made all necessary arrangements by 1 September.

Click here to view the 22 pieces of Guidance that support PhonepayPlus’ new Code of Practice.

Click here to view an interactive version of the new Code and accompanying Guidance.

Click here to view PhonepayPlus’ Investigations & Sanctions Procedure and the revised schematic, which will accompany the new Code of Practice and Guidance when they come into effect on 1 September.

Click here to view PhonepayPlus’ final statement following its public consultations on the new Code of Practice and supporting Guidance.