Between 14 April 2015 and 1 June 2016, the Executive received 109 complaints concerning a video/picture subscription service, charged at £2.50 per week on shortcode 89250 and at £3 per week on shortcode 69100, under the brand name “Babe WAP TV extra” (“the Service”).
The Level 2 provider for the Service was DSLB Ltd (“the Level 2 provider”). The Level 1 provider for Service shortcode 89250 was Veoo Ltd. The Level 1 provider for Service shortcode 69100 was IMImobile Europe Limited.
Complainants variously alleged that the Service charges were unsolicited and that they received further charges after sending the STOP command.
The Executive raised the following potential breaches of the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice (the "Code"):
- Rule 2.3.3 – Consent to charge (12th and 13th Edition)
- Rule 2.3.11 – Method of exit (12th and 13th Edition)
- Paragraph 4.2.5 – Failure to provide requested information (13th Edition)
The Tribunal upheld the three breaches of the Code raised. The Level 2 provider’s revenue in relation to the Service was in Band 2 (£500,000 to £999,999). The Tribunal considered the case to be very serious and imposed a formal reprimand, and a fine of £200,000. The Tribunal also imposed a requirement that the Level 2 provider remedy the breaches by ensuring that it has robust verification of each consumer’s consent to be charged before making any further charge to the consumer, including for existing subscribers to the Service, and also by ensuring that no consumers are charged after sending STOP to Service shortcode(s). The Tribunal also imposed 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%