Over the last few years many O2 customers have complained about unexpected charges for premium rate texts or unsolicited "charge to mobile" or "Payforit" charges.
Recent months have seen an improvement, with few complaints. This is mainly due to new rules introduced in November 2019 requiring additional authentication for subscription services.
Despite this, only a few weeks ago we saw large numbers of O2 customers receive unexpected and unlawful charges from a company called Moblix Media. O2 were initially less than helpful, but did eventually ensure that all affected customers were fully refunded (although this took over a week,and even longer for some). Sadly O2 continue to leak numbers to "trusted third parties" when you use mobile data to access the internet.
We believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with a system which allows companies to make charges to phone accounts without being required to produce any evidence of consent to those charges.
The Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) which regulate these "services" is currently consulting on a new Code of Practice for them. This represents an opportunity to improve consumer protection from fraudulent charges. At the same time though, we are fearful the the PSA may seek to backpedal on some of the reforms already introduced.
PSA have organised a webinar for "consumer input" into this process. We have criticised them in the past for paying far too much attention to the needs of "the industry" and scant regard to the needs of consumers.
Please participate in their webinar if you can. There is a danger that consumer apathy will be mistaken for an agreement to allow the fraud to continue.
The webinar is on 23rd November and you can sign up here: https://psauthority.org.uk/news/events/2020/november/webinar-consumer-input-to-code-15
Our own ideas for the new code are here: https://psconsumers.org.uk/psa-consultation-on-15th-code-of-practice/
Please support our efforts to prevent consumer fraud through "charge to mobile" and similar mechanisms.
@Bambino updating the FAQs soon - checking all of it this week (or next )
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I attended a Consumer info session, via Teams, yesterday - not many at it, but they are making revisions to their Codes that go before Ofcom in Jul-2021 before hopefully being ratified in November timeframe.
These changes are to make it easier for consumers to be compensated more quickly when the call provider has taken payment for one of these "charge to bill" services against the phone owner or bill payer's instruction (not easy to get some of these outfits to stop charging you every month at the moment).
Interesting, but very protracted, a lot of work by a few people, with the aim of keeping the Consumer in control instead of vice-versa.
Thanks for that info @pgn
All I can say is, it's about damn time. Not sure why it has taken so long. Consumers being ripped off for years due to the lack of a two step opt in section for verification.
So recompensing customers is fine, however, most customers come here wondering why they have been charged in the first place. The ombudman and Ofcom should be looking at that more closely.
*The Game Is On*