Between 13 April 2015 and 10 November 2015, PhonepayPlus received 68 complaints in relation to a glamour video subscription service called “Lusty-girls” (the “Service”), which operated on dedicated shortcode 60303, and shared shortcodes 88150 and 81300 at a cost of £3 per week. The Level 2 provider for the Service was Idoru Technology Limited (the “Level 2 provider”). The Level 1 provider for Service shortcode 60303 was IMImobile Europe Limited (later renamed Wireless Information Network Limited), and the Level 1 provider for Service shortcodes 88150 and 81300 was Veoo Ltd.
Complainants variously alleged that the Service charges were unsolicited. In addition, after analysing complainant message logs, PhonepayPlus noted that there was a high failure rate of chargeable Service messages following the purported consumer opt-ins and the delivery status for Service messages was unclear.
The Executive raised the following potential breaches of the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice (12th Edition) (the “Code"):
- Paragraph 4.2.4 – Provision of false information to PhonepayPlus
- Rule 2.3.3 – Consent to charge
The Tribunal upheld all breaches of the Code raised. The Level 2 provider’s revenue in relation to the Service was in Band 3 (£250,000 - £499,999). The Tribunal considered the case to be very serious and imposed a formal reprimand, a fine of £200,000, 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.
Administrative charge recommendation: 100%