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We're introducing new Special conditions for subscription services

6 August 2019

Following a full examination of services which make recurring charges to a consumer’s phone bill in exchange for digital content - such as games, music streaming or videos - the Phone-paid services Authority has introduced new Special conditions for subscription services.

Following a full consultation on subscription services, the new requirements will raise standards in the market to meet consumer expectations. There are three major changes which all providers of services will have to comply with or they will be in breach of the Code of Practice and potentially subject to sanctions which may include significant financial penalties:

  1. A two-stage sign-up process will be required where the first stage requires an opt-in using either a PIN, account and password or Mobile Originating SMS. This must be followed by a second opt-in confirmation stage.
  2. Greater clarity in ensuring that consumers are aware they are in a payment environment and signing up to a phone-paid subscription. 
  3. A receipt must be issued after every charge.

Many services meet the new requirements. But the new rules bring clarity to the industry and are designed to remove confusion, accidental sign up, and to prevent deliberate deception. This consistency is in line with good practice in other online payment processes.

Statement on introducing Special conditions for all phone-paid subscription services

Notices of Special conditions as of 01 November 2019:

Notice of Special conditions - Subscription Services

Notice of Special Conditions - Recurring Donation Services

Notice of Special Conditions - Online Adult Services

Notice of Special Conditions - Online Competition Services

Notice of Special Conditions - Society Lotteries

Notice of Specified Charges and Durations of Calls