Join Date: Oct 2006
Re: Phonepayplus publish new scammers charter
And now it is alleged that even PP+ don't understand the new rules:
The problem with PPP regulations: an insider writes...Tim Green Jan 27 2009, 11:59am
PhonepayPlus 'can't give straightforward answers' to basic questions about new rules, says UK content provider.
ME has been deluged with comments from UK firms worried about the extent and nature of the watchdog's new rules on content subs. We decided to publish the following comments, from an anonymous source, in full...
"We operate a mobile subscription service which costs users £6/month to join and remain a member (subscribers receive
unlimited downloads in return). Because this equates to only £1.50/week, our service should be exempt from the new PPP rules, but since we levy the charge only once monthly, each user is charged £6 for the next four weeks usage in one go.
"In order to clarify the situation, and find out if we should or should not pre-register as per the new 'Pre-Sub SMS' procedure, we contacted PPP directly for a response. It's worth noting that we use an accredited UK billing aggregator and are already a PPP signatory in our own right.
"So we asked two questions of PPP:
1) Are we covered by our aggregator in respect of the new rules?
2) Does the £6/month charged in advance subscription mean we have to pre-register, or not, since it equates to only £1.50 a week?
"We were astonished to learn that PPP remained unable to answer either question.
"On the first point, fair enough. We can check with our partner directly, but confirmation would have been welcome, and the
fact that PPP had no idea if we would or would not be covered did not instill confidence.
"The PPP response to our second question, however, went beyond disappointing, and could even be unfairly damaging.
"Their answer was, "we do not know if levelling 4 x weekly charges of £1.50 into a single monthly charge of £6 will mean that you must use the new rules or not, but we suggest that you do so anyway, just to be on the safe side".
Although, we should note, PP+ deny saying this:
PhonepayPlus hits back at criticismTim Green Jan 27 2009, 5:48pm
Be first to comment
UK regulator responds to suggestions that its new rules are unclear and seeks to open dialogue.
PhonepayPlus (PPP) has contacted ME with a point-by-point rebuttal of concerns raised in an article published earlier today over the implementation of new rules governing the sale of mobile content.
In the letter Mark Collins, Head of Industry Support and Policy at PPP, says the body takes "very seriously" any suggestion that an enquiry to it has not been satisfactorily addressed.
The body has also invited anyone with comments or suggestions concerning its new rules for mobile content providers to contact it directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The response from Collins on behalf of PPP is printed in full below (questions raised in the earlier article in bold):
"PhonepayPlus’ compliance team is committed to helping phone-paid service providers understand its Code of Practice, how it relates to their business and the steps they need to take to become compliant. We encourage any provider to discuss their product or service with us and are keen to work pro-actively with them to help them achieve compliance. We take any suggestion that an enquiry has not been satisfactorily addressed very seriously.
Does the £6/month charged in advance subscription mean we have to pre-register, or not, since it equates to only £1.50 a week?
Yes, because this service levies a charge of over £4.50 in any given week, which is the stated cut off point for prior permission. Whilst this particular charge is an aggregation of four weeks’ subscription at £1.50 per week, the fact that it is levied in one lump sum brings it above the cut off point for prior permission.
PhonepayPlus has made it as easy as possible to apply for prior permission in order that legitimate providers may do so with a minimum of disruption to their business. We feel this to be a reasonable requirement in order to identify the minority of unscrupulous providers who willfully mislead consumers and undermine their trust in the rest of the industry.
Are we covered by our aggregator in respect of the new rules?
Our notice of prior permission sets out clearly that it is the responsibility of the service provider to obtain prior permission in respect of each of the information providers with whom it contracts.
However, we recognise that service providers may contract with many hundreds of information providers, so the notice also states that it is acceptable for service providers to delegate the responsibility for making an application to information providers.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon individual information providers to clarify their position with each of the service providers with whom they contract.
PhonepayPlus aims to work with industry to identify malpractice by the minority of unscrupulous providers so that legitimate ones can continue to provide the fun, useful and interesting services that add real value mobile phone usage.
We welcome any comment from industry that will help us do so more effectively and invite anyone with comments or suggestions to contact us directly on email@example.com."
Mark Collins, Head of Industry Support and Policy, PhonepayPlus
Got a view on the issue of mobile content regulation in the UK? Email Tim.Green@intentmedia.co.uk with your thoughts.
So I suppose the conclusion has to be: If you wish to carry on getting away with sending unsolicited reverse charge text messages, make sure that you only steal £4.50 or less in any given week
Thanks for the clarification Mark!