Premium rate regulator changes up for discussion

Premium rate regulator changes up for discussion

Ofcom has opened its consultation process on changes to the premium rate services regulator PhonepayPlus.

The market for premium rate services has changed dramatically over the last few years. It’s gone from being one driven by ringtones and charity donations to in app-purchases and payment services.

Consumers are now vulnerable to a range of scams from criminals operating around the world. The regulation of which can often be unclear. Before Christmas, Mobile broke the story that Vodafone was being taken to court by businessman Russell Gray. Gray fell victim to a scam relating to the PayForIt mobile service and wants the network to accept responsibility for the fraud that exploits the easy payment services exploited by the scam.

Changes at the top

The most significant changes being proposed by PhonePayPlus are at board level, where they will be split between those making the regulation and those enforcing it. Amongst the other changes the regulator wants to change its powers so it can move faster in withholding revenues and issuing suspension of service orders. The body also wants make hearings more flexible and limit the review process.

It remains to be seen what impact the new measures will have on the mobile industry. As Gray’s case goes to show mobile networks don’t tend to be implicated in premium rate service fraud and no operator has ever been charged by PhonepayPlus. It’s an issue that it unlikely to go away as premium rate services play an even greater role in the consumers mobile experience.


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