- Publication Date
- 28 November 2013
- Case Reference
- Track 2
- Adjudicated Party
- R S Premium Limited
- Service Type
- 070 personal number service
- Tribunal's final assessment
- Very Serious
- Code 12 para 4.8.2b - Formal reprimand and/or warning
Code 12 para 4.8.2d - Fine
Code 12 para 4.8.2g - Prohibition all PRS
Code 12 para 4.8.2j - Universal refunds
- Breaches raised
- Code 12 2.3.2 Misleading
Code 12 2.3.10 Fairness
Code 12 2.4.2 Privacy
Between 15 April 2013 and 7 October 2013, PhonepayPlus received 120 complaints from consumers in relation to misleading promotions for jobs and rental properties which directly and indirectly led consumers to interact with various 070 numbers (the “Service”). The numbers had been allocated to the Level 2 provider R S Premium Limited by the Network operator Atlantic Communications Corporation Limited. Calls to the numbers were charged at 50 pence per minute (plus VAT and network extras). The numbers commenced operation on approximately 13 April 2013 and were suspended by the Network operator on 19 August 2013.
The majority of complainants stated they had received an email notifying them that they had been selected to attend a job interview. Other complainants had seen classified advertisements for job vacancies and rental properties. The complainants were invited to call an 070 number directly or a mobile telephone number and upon calling the mobile number were directed to call an 070 number. Many consumers reported that they had believed the calls to the 070 number were to a mobile number and therefore experienced bill shock. Consumers also reported being kept on hold or being asked a series of unnecessary questions in an effort to prolong the telephone call.
- The Executive raised the following potential breaches of the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice (12th Edition) (the "Code").
- Rule - 2.3.2 – Misleading
- Rule - 2.3.10 – Vulnerability
- Rule - 2.4.2 – Consent to market
The Tribunal upheld all the breaches of the Code. The Level 2 provider’s revenue in relation to the Service was in the range of Band 4 (£50,000-£100,000). The Tribunal considered the case to be very serious and issued a formal reprimand, a fine of £120,000, a prohibition on the Level 2 provider from providing, or having any involvement in, any premium rate service for a period of five years (starting from the date of publication of this decision) and a requirement that the Level 2 provider make refunds, within three months, to all consumers who have used the Service for the full amount spent, regardless of whether or not they have claimed a refund. Refunds should be directly credited to the users’ mobile accounts and the Level 2 provider must provide evidence to PhonepayPlus that the refunds have been made.
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