The Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) is holding a consumer consultation on a new Code of Practice for Phone-paid Services.
Only two years ago, O2 was plagued by complaints of unexpected “third party” charges. Since then Payforitsucks and PSCG have put pressure on the Phone-paid Services Authority to tighten the regulation of these “services” which rely on reverse premium rate texts or direct carrier billing.
Pressure on PSA has forced them to take steps, such as requiring two factor authorisation, which have dramatically reduced the scale of the problem. However, the companies involved in these scams haven’t gone away. They continue to plunder phone accounts in Ireland and several other European countries. They will take advantage of any “loopholes” in the new Code.
The Moblix Media scam last September showed that it is still possible for rogue companies to add unlawful charges to customers’ accounts.
Although the company responsible admitted the charges were unlawful, O2 did nothing to help and told complainants that they must have subscribed to the service in question! Later this was shown to be completely untrue and (eventually) all the unlawful charges were refunded.
We should be insisting that the networks verify consent to these charges BEFORE applying them to customer accounts.
PSA are holding a consumer consultation on their new Code of Practice on 20th May. You can sign up to participate here:
Please sign up to participate in this consultation if you can. I fear that consumer apathy may allow the scammers to get the upper hand once more!
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