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New Special conditions for subscription services come into force tomorrow

31 October 2019

Tomorrow (1st November) Our new Special conditions for subscription services come into effect.

These apply to all phone-paid services that make a recurring charge to a consumer’s phone bill.

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 already 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. The new rules will create greater consistency and align phone-payment with good practice in other online payment processes.

If you are an existing provider of phone-paid services, you will also need to comply with the new rules.

The PSA offers a free compliance advice service which you are encouraged to contact for insights on making your services compliant.

Read the policy statement in full here.