We are the UK regulator for content, goods and services charged to a phone bill.

Update to Service Specific Guidance Competitions and other games with prizes

10 April 2013

Status of Service Specific Guidance

Service Specific Guidance does not form part of the Code of Practice; neither is it binding on PhonepayPlus’ Code Compliance Panel Tribunal (‘the Tribunal’). However, we intend it to help providers understand how compliance with the Code might be achieved.

Background to Update

PhonepayPlus keeps the published Guidance under review and where the law changes or developments arise that affect any particular Guidance, updates may become necessary. In recent months, it has come to our attention that there are two issues which require updates to Guidance on Competitions and other games with prizes:

       (i) there has been a ruling in the European Court of Justice that has commented on unfair commercial practices that are banned practices under the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive 2005/29/EC (as transposed into the UK Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008), which required some explanation at paragraphs 4.5 to 4.7 of the Guidance; and,

(ii) there is an element of the Gambling Act 2005 in relation to 'free routes of entry' which has been considered, and our expectations clarified, in paragraph 5.2 of the Guidance.  

Providers are not obliged to follow this Guidance but, in the event of an investigation, a Tribunal will consider whether any alternative actions that providers may have taken deliver compliance with the Code.

However, we would strongly recommend that these amendments to the Guidance are properly considered if you are operating a competition service paid for via premium rate. This will be of particular interest to those wishing to operate a free competition in conjunction with a paid for product or subscription service. The Guidance also explains the prohibition against any form of charge or fee for claiming a prize.

Click here for the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice and Service Specific Guidance notes .