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Emergency procedures

9 July 2013


PhonepayPlus initiates three Emergency Procedure investigations.


Emergency procedure investigation

9 July 2013

PhonepayPlus, the UK regulator for premium rate telephone services, has launched an Emergency procedure investigation under paragraph 4.5 of its Code of Practice (Twelfth Edition) (the Code), following internal monitoring conducted by PhonepayPlus. This monitoring evidenced affiliate marketing that appeared to utilise a form of malware known as ransomware to lock consumers’ internet browsers and force them to interact with online offers which directed them to the Level 2 provider, Greenwhale Holding Ltd’s “Funlodia” subscription service(s).

Greenwhale Holding Ltd has been identified as the Level 2 provider responsible for the service. A Tribunal will decide whether the service is in breach of the Code as soon as is reasonably possible after PhonepayPlus has received a response from the Level 2 provider to its Emergency procedure breach notice, which is to be sent to Greenwhale Holding Ltd in due course. The service has now been suspended pending conclusion of the investigation and a decision by the Tribunal.

In the meantime, other providers are reminded that enabling this service, or any other services that operate in a similar way, may result in breaches being raised against them.


Emergency procedure investigation

9 July 2013

PhonepayPlus, the UK regulator for premium rate telephone services, has launched an Emergency procedure investigation under paragraph 4.5 of its Code of Practice (Twelfth Edition) (the Code), following internal monitoring conducted by PhonepayPlus. This monitoring evidenced affiliate marketing that appeared to utilise a form of malware known as ransomware to lock consumers’ internet browsers and force them to interact with online offers which directed them to the Level 2 provider, Global Billing Solutions’ “ringaling” subscription service(s).

Global Billing Solutions has been identified as the Level 2 provider responsible for the service. A Tribunal will decide whether the service is in breach of the Code as soon as is reasonably possible after PhonepayPlus has received a response from the Level 2 provider to its Emergency procedure breach notice, which is to be sent to Global Billing Solutions in due course. The service has now been suspended pending conclusion of the investigation and a decision by the Tribunal.

In the meantime, other providers are reminded that enabling this service, or any other services that operate in a similar way, may result in breaches being raised against them.


Emergency procedure investigation

9 July 2013

PhonepayPlus, the UK regulator for premium rate telephone services, has launched an Emergency procedure investigation under paragraph 4.5 of its Code of Practice (Twelfth Edition) (the Code), following internal monitoring conducted by PhonepayPlus. This monitoring evidenced affiliate marketing that appeared to utilise a form of malware known as ransomware to lock consumers’ internet browsers and force them to interact with online offers which directed them to the Level 2 provider, Hectiq B.V’s “ZigZag Fone, Carmababa and Balaganna” subscription service(s).

Hectiq B.V has been identified as the Level 2 provider responsible for the service. A Tribunal will decide whether the service is in breach of the Code as soon as is reasonably possible after PhonepayPlus has received a response from the Level 2 provider to its Emergency procedure breach notice, which is to be sent to Hectiq B.V in due course. The service has now been suspended pending conclusion of the investigation and a decision by the Tribunal.

In the meantime, other providers are reminded that enabling this service, or any other services that operate in a similar way, may result in breaches being raised against them.

Update to Emergency procedure investigation against Hectiq B.V. published on 9 July 2013

Update published 12 July 2013

Following the instigation of the Emergency procedure, Hectiq B.V. (Hectiq) requested a review of the decision to prevent access to the service shortcode and to withhold revenue in accordance with paragraph 4.5.3(b)(ii) of the Code. The Tribunal considered Hectiq’s written and oral submissions in relation to the grounds on which it asserted that access to the service shortcode should no longer be prevented and all withheld monies released. Hectiq accepted that the use of the Emergency procedure was appropriate.

Having considered all the information before it including the comprehensive measures taken to limit the possibility of future consumer harm, the Tribunal decided that the Emergency procedure should continue pending completion of the normal Emergency procedure process, but concluded that in accordance with paragraph 4.5.3(c) that access to Hectiq’s service shortcode should be permitted, subject to the following conditions:

  1. The Level 2 provider is to immediately cease all promotion of the service through online affiliate marketing of any form or description;
  2. The Level 2 provider is to forthwith provide written confirmation to PhonepayPlus that it has ceased all promotion of the service through online affiliate marketing and provide an undertaking that it will not promote any part of the service using online affiliate marketing until such time as a determination has been made by a Tribunal on the substantive case;
  3.  Access to the service shortcodes may only resume once the Level 2 provider has provided evidence that its use of all online affiliate marketing has ceased, to the satisfaction of the PhonepayPlus Executive;
  4. If PhonepayPlus reasonably suspects that the service is being promoted through online affiliate marketing prior to the Tribunal determination, PhonepayPlus may direct the Level 1 provider to immediately terminate access to all service shortcodes.

In accordance with paragraph 4.5.3(c) of the Code, the Tribunal decided that having regard to the nature of the actual and potential consumer harm falling to be considered in detail by a further Tribunal, it was both reasonable and proportionate for the Level 1 provider to continue to withhold all revenue generated by the service.