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Adjudication

Publication Date
19 March 2014
Case Reference
18137
Procedure
Track 2
Adjudicated Party
Moblix Media Limited
Service Type
Information
Tribunal's final assessment
Very Serious
Sanctions
Code 12 para 4.8.2b - Formal reprimand and/or warning
Code 12 para 4.8.2 (c) - Compliance advice or prior permission
Code 12 para 4.8.2d - Fine
Code 12 para 4.8.2i - General refunds
Breaches raised
Code 12 2.3.3 Fairness
Code 12 2.2.5 Rules relating to pricing
Code 12 2.2.1 Transparency and Pricing
Code 12 4.2.5 Investigations
Summary


Between 11 February 2013 and 6 February 2014, PhonepayPlus received 52 complaints from consumers in relation to a premium rate voucher SMS subscription service, which operated under the brand name “free(b)Friday” (the “Service”). The Service was operated by the Level 2 provider Moblix Media Limited on the shared premium rate shortcode 84222. The Level 1 provider was IMImobile Limited. The Service commenced in October 2009 and is currently operational.

Consumers are charged £1.00 per SMS received (maximum two SMS messages per month). Subscribed consumers receive voucher offers by SMS message.

The majority of complainants stated that they had received unsolicited, reverse-billed SMS messages and that they had not engaged with the Service.

The Executive raised the following potential breaches of the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice (12th Edition) (the "Code"):

  • Rule 2.3.3 – Consent to charge
  • Rule 2.2.5 – Pricing prominence and proximity
  • Rule 2.2.1 – Information likely to influence the decision to purchase
  • Paragraph 4.2.5 – Failure to disclose information


The Tribunal upheld a breach of rules 2.3.3, 2.2.5 and 2.2.1 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 very serious and issued a formal reprimand, a fine of £100,000, a requirement that the Level 2 provider seeks compliance advice for the Service within two weeks of the date of publication of this decision and thereafter implement the advice within two weeks 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.

 

 

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