Premium-rate phone company gets fined

4 September 2012

telephone operatorRegulator Phonepay Plus has fined a Russian company £50,000 for serious breaches of its code in relation to premium-rate services. The company, Connect Ltd, created an app for Android phones that provided access to games.

However, when users installed the application, users found that their phone sent a text message to a premium-rate number and charged £10 for the privilege too. Hidden away in the T&Cs, there's also a notice that "charges of about £5" would be incurred.

About £5?

Mercifully, the regulator's actions ensure that all affected customers must be refunded within the next three months. "You have to read the small print and people never do," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "They were sneaky with the wording."

The regulator said that members of the public had been complaining about it too, saying: "Complainants raised a number of concerns, including lack of pricing information and charging without consent." Thanks to Connect being sly, the adjudication states that the company must now submit all proposals for any new premium-rate services before they're allowed to launch them in the wild. Failure to do so will see further fines or a ban.

TOPICS:   Technology   Mobile

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