Premium rate services on mobile phones continue to top consumer complaints to the regulator PhonepayPlus, accounting for 88% of complaints between 2008 and 2010.
PhonepayPlus, the regulator for premium rate telephone services (PRS), said today that although consumer complaints fell by 75% over two years, from 23,624 complaints in 2008 to 6,058 complaints in 2010, complaints about premium rate services on mobile phones remain high.
The regulator also warned that young consumers are particularly vulnerable as the pace of mobile technology increases.
Announcing the figures, PhonepayPlus said it was planning to expand its youth education programme, PhoneBrain, which is aimed at helping young people safely use PRS on their mobiles.
PhoneBrain has focused on schools since its launch two years ago. However, the regulator announced today it will expand the programme to young people in low income areas via youth clubs. Under the programme, potential young business leaders in low-income areas will be encouraged to come up with business models that use mobiles for the benefit of the local community.
PhonepayPlus has joined forces with UnLtd/Live UnLtd, which provides support to social entrepreneurs, to offer a number of bursaries and mentoring to help the best business ideas that have social and community benefits to get up and running.
The programme will also be rolled out to youth clubs across the UK for the first time via the Clubs for Young People network.
Paul Whiteing, chief executive of PhonepayPlus said: ‘We’re really pleased to be working with Clubs for Young People and Live UnLtd for the first time and feel that their involvement clearly focuses the objective of this year’s programme – showing how technology, a topic young people are passionate about, can be used for good community and business ends. The message from the regulator and from the PRS industry in general is that “Responsible business is good business” and we look forward to judging the entries to the entrepreneurship challenge.’
Helen Marshall, COO at Clubs for Young People said: ‘PhoneBrain reached 850 secondary schools last year and Clubs for Young People is excited to be involved in delivering the programme to the 3,000 youth clubs and projects in our network – reaching thousands more young people.’
Josie Emberton, head of Live UnLtd said: ‘We're always looking for new ways of encouraging young people to change the world around them for the better and PhoneBrain is a great way of showing how young people can use mobile technology to create something completely new and different that also has a wider community or social benefit.’