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The ever-present arse that PhonePayPlus has to deal with

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.

Dear me.

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

Deary me.

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…

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

15 replies on “The ever-present arse that PhonePayPlus has to deal with”

Its companies doing things like this that continue to make consumers wary of legitmate mobile services. Good work PhonePayPlus, maybe make people think twice about scamming.

In my view, PhonePayPlus doesn't go far enough. Many of these companies have indemnity insurance so what do they care about fines? The continuing lax regulatory regime still allows activities like these (which I would argue borders on the fraudulent) to proceed.

And as for aggregators – they don't police content providers enough, their eyes are on the revenue share coming in. All of which is a very short sighted view – fraud and fear reduces the attractiveness of premium services to the consumer, which restricts growth, which affects those companies that do treat the consumer well. Sadly, there is all too few of the latter.

@bensmith – where's the article please?

I'd like to read your thoughts Anthony.
Alas I have quite a defeatist attitude to the likes of PhonePayPlus. Run by
the industry. Toothless apart from slapping huge fines (that, of course,
don't actually put the scammers off).

2008/12/11 Disqus <>

My ears are burning, no really! Who'd have thought toasters could be so dangerous?

In all seriousness, I've got lots to say about PhonepayPlus and not much positive I'm afraid. They've promised many crackdowns in the past and yet they've failed to curb such activity.

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