£250,000 fine for ‘Glamour’ video subscription company
18 December 2018
The Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) has issued a substantial fine of £250,000 to a company which signed consumers up to a ‘Glamour’ video service without their consent.
Flipcove Ltd, which operated the ‘Score that Girl’ video subscription platform, has also been ordered to pay a General Refund to consumers.
The company is based in Bury and made over £600,000 from the service between September 2016 and November .
Consumers reported having no knowledge of signing up to the service before they realized that £4.50 a week had been charged to their phone bill. The Tribunal found that they could not provide satisfactory evidence that they had got consumers consent before charging them.
What is a ‘Glamour video’ service?
‘Glamour’ video is a term used by some in the industry to describe a non-explicit or semi-explicit sexual entertainment video service. ‘Score that Girl’ was offering short videos and images for consumers to view and rate.
Links to a video platform were sent out via text message. In exchange for this, consumers had charges added to their phone bill on a weekly basis.
How were the charges made?
The service operated via Premium rate texts, known as PSMS (Premium Short Message Service). This means that consumers access content via text message, in exchange for a supplementary charge to their phone bill.
This payment method is used for many popular and legitimate service types, such as charity text donations, broadcast competitions, and voting on reality TV and talent shows.
In this case, the Tribunal found that the company did not have robust mechanisms in place to ensure consumers had agreed to be billed.
What sanctions have been imposed?
The PSA Tribunal found that Flipcove, which was operating the service, had failed to secure consumer consent for billing. It ordered a fine of £250,000, a General Refund and barred the company from operating in the market for three years.
View the Tribunal in full here.