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Six month pilot to dis-apply Rule 2.3.12(d)(v)


NOTIFICATION OF FURTHER SIX-MONTH PILOT TO ALLOW CHARITABLE DONATIONS USING A MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION MECHANIC TO BE PROVIDED WITHOUT THE NEED TO COMPLY WITH RULE 2.3.12(d)(v) OF THE PHONEPAYPLUS CODE OF PRACTICE

23 March 2012

This Notification should be read by all registered charities which provide, or wish to provide, methods by which consumers can donate using premium rate, and by PhonepayPlus registered providers who work with charities to facilitate premium rate donation.

Background

Paragraph 3.10.4(a) of the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice (12th edition) (“the Code”) allows registered providers to apply for written prior permission from PhonepayPlus (which may be given subject to conditions) for their service to be provided by means other than strict adherence to the Code provisions. Such permission may be withdrawn or varied by PhonepayPlus subject to the giving of reasonable notice.

In 2011, PhonepayPlus was approached by a provider who proposed to facilitate donations via premium rate text message using a subscription mechanic. That is, consumers would sign up to donate an agreed amount to the charity or charities concerned on a monthly basis until such time as the consumer wished to opt out of the service.

In addition, the provider wished to send a message to consumers 24 hours before they were due to be charged each month, giving them the option to text SKIP to skip a month’s payment (i.e. not to opt out completely from the service).

The provider also sought permission to be exempted from the requirement to send a text message once a month (or every £20 spend, whichever is the sooner) reminding the consumer of how to leave the service (i.e. the existence of the STOP command). This requirement is set out at paragraph 2.3.12(d)(v) of the Code.

The provider was granted permission for the service to be provided without needing to comply with paragraph 2.3.12(d)(v) of the Code on a pilot basis, and subject to a number of conditions which can be summarised as follows:

• The monthly SKIP instruction must be sent 24 hours prior to when the consumer is due to be charged;
• the consumer is sent a message containing the STOP command every three months in accordance to the requirements set out at paragraph 2.3.12(d)(v);
• the provider collects metric data as specified by PhonepayPlus about the service and consumer usage of SKIP and STOP, and supplies this when requested;
• the provider complies with all other parts of the Code.

Notification of extension of pilot

The pilot permission ended on 18 February 2012, and the PhonepayPlus Board has consequently decided to allow applications from all registered charities or others involved in charitable donation using premium rate for permission (on a six month basis) to provide services that facilitate charitable donations via text message, without needing to comply with paragraph 2.3.12(d)(v) of the Code.

It is important to reiterate that to take advantage of this pilot we require those parties (as are referenced below) to submit a formal application to PhonepayPlus.

All applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and will only be considered from the following parties:

a) Charities who are registered both with the Charities Commission of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, and with PhonepayPlus;
b) Providers who are registered with PhonepayPlus and facilitate the provision of premium rate donation on behalf of the charities at a).

All registered charities and/or other providers facilitating the provision of premium rate donations and who do apply and are approved will be subject to certain general and specific conditions.

As well as this other supporting data should be collected and made available upon request. This may include:

• The total number of consumers signed up as part of the pilot;
• The numbers recruited for each individual charity with confirmation as to the method by which those individual consumers were originally recruited;
• The individual amounts being donated (with revenue figures being broken down for each participating charity);
• The number of complaints received about the service; and
• Where requested a full description of your complaints handling procedure.

For further information as to how charities can register with PhonepayPlus please refer to the guide How do charities register on the PhonepayPlus Registration Scheme’ as found on the PhonepayPlus website.

Applicants should be minded that exemptions will be granted on the basis of a trial period and subject to a further review in six months. As such, all policy considerations remain with the PhonepayPlus Board.

Finally in accordance with rule 3.10.5, a record of the providers granted permission as part of the six month pilot can be found on the PhonepayPlus website.