Between 19 April 2012 and 4 January 2013, PhonepayPlus received 28 complaints from consumers, in relation to the non-subscription competition services Quizir 3.0 and Quizir Mobile (the “Services”). The Services were operated by the Level 2 provider Crosmo B.V. on the premium rate shortcode 85588. The Level 1 provider was OpenMarket Limited. The Services were voluntarily suspended by the Level 1 provider on 10 September 2012. Consumers entered Quizir 3.0 via online web promotions using a PIN opt-in. Quizir Mobile was entered via Wireless Application Protocol (“WAP”), which used mobile originating (“MO”) opt-in.
Consumers were charged £1.50 to receive and £1.50 to answer questions. In addition, Quizir 3.0 had a sign-up fee of £3.00.
The Services were promoted using affiliate marketing.
The majority of complainants stated the text messages they received were unsolicited and that they had not requested the Services. In addition, some complainants said they had not understood that they would be charged and/or the terms and conditions of the Services. The maximum cost incurred by a complainant was £97.50 (in one day) and the average complainant cost was £55.02.
The Executive raised the following potential breaches of the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice (12th Edition) (the "Code")
- Rule 2.3.2 – Misleading
- Rule 2.2.5 – Pricing prominence
- Rule 2.2.2 – Written information material to the decision to purchase
The Tribunal upheld a breach of rules 2.3.2 and 2.2.5 of the Code. The Level 2 provider’s revenue in relation to the Service was within the range of Band 1 (£500,000+). The Tribunal considered the case to be significant and issued a formal reprimand, a fine of £20,000 and a requirement that the Level 2 provider must refund all consumers who claim a refund, for the full amount spent by them on the Service, within 28 days of their claim, save where there is good cause to believe that such claims are not valid, and provide evidence to PhonepayPlus that such refunds have been made.