I was pleased to read the other day about a whopping 250 grand fine issued by PhonePayPlus to Starwire Limited whose ‘Unknown’ (“promoted by missed calls”) service made the following breaches according to the regulator:
Fairness (Misleading), Pricing Information, Contact Information, Inappropriate Promotion, Further Information
I see that mBlox were knocked on the head for 35k after their client, Genius Games, attracted complaints for a service that the PhonePayPlus Tribunal doubted could ever be made compliant with their code of practice.
mBlox had another one in the same sitting. Another 75 grand fine from another service that the Tribunal also reckoned wouldn’t ever be compliant with their code.
What is it with this side of the industry?
Here we are, years on from the rubbish times of yesteryear when consumers were routinely pumped for cash by unscrupulous arses who knew exactly what they were doing.
And nothing’s changed.
The screwing about has just evolved. Drop dialing services appear to be a current favourite judging by today’s ’emergency procedure investigation’ invocation by PhonePayPlus. Four chaps, it seems, have been calling people and leaving them missed calls on both landline and mobile numbers. Missed calls from 070 numbers. That LOOK like mobile numbers to your average Joe. But are actually stupidly expensive ‘personal divert’ numbers.
Depending on the service, consumers have reported hearing a continuing recording of a ringing tone, or have been connected to a voicemail messaging facility, upon callback
This ‘exploit’ is only available because the systems are broken. It’s absolutely ridiculous that in this day and age, you can still get hammered by returning a missed call.
It’s ridiculous that you still have to pay per minute for 8k/sec voice calls.
But I suppose it’s so easy to make a ton of cash in a relatively legal sense (just don’t get caught by PhonePayPlus). Or, if you do get caught, stick the company into liquidation pronto and setup another tomorrow morning.
Meanwhile if you get a missed call from someone you don’t know, think twice about calling back. If they actually need to speak to you, they’ll leave a voicemail or call again.
And if you do phone up, don’t stand there listening to a ringing tone for minutes on end…