Premium rate telephone services
Premium rate telephone services
Premium rate services give information and provide entertainment over the phone, for example, weather information, competition and message exchange services. Live multi-party chat lines where callers talk to several others at the same time have been banned, but one-to-one live services, such as tarot reading and adult services are available.
Premium rate services currently begin with numbers such as 0898 or 0891 and these services are regulated by Phone Paid Services Authority. From September 1st 2011 all premium rates service providers must register with Phone Paid Services Authority by law.
Premium rate calls cost more than an ordinary phone call and rates for calls from mobile phones, telephone boxes and hotels can be higher still. Charges from a standard domestic phone must be shown in the advertisement for the service.
Clients with large premium rate bills are not generally eligible for rebates or compensation unless the calls are to live one-to-one services, in which case the bill may be covered by the Phone Paid Services Authority compensation scheme. In other cases, Phone Paid Services Authority may be able to help the client negotiate a refund from the phone service provider. The client is unlikely to achieve a full rebate and phone service providers are not obliged to offer any compensation at all.
The Phone Paid Services Authority compensation scheme
The Phone Paid Services Authority compensation scheme is administered by an independent adjudicator. It covers live UK based entertainment services only and is aimed at domestic customers, although claims from small businesses may be considered. Calls to recorded message services are not covered. Only unauthorised calls made without the bill payer’s agreement are covered. This can be difficult to prove. The adjudicator will generally consider claims only if they are received within six months of the date of the disputed bill. Claims should be sent to the adjudicator at the Phone Paid Services Authority address at the end of this page.
There is no means-test in calculating the compensation due, although the adjudicator must not give full compensation if they think the person who made the calls or the phone customer should pay towards the phone bill.
Compensation is generally allowed for only one bill. After that, the adjudicator considers that clients should protect themselves by installing call barring. Premium rate call barring is not free to JT Global (formerly Jersey Telecom) customers, there is a set-up fee and a monthly rental. This call barring does not prevent access to similar overseas services. To avoid these calls, the client may wish to install full international call barring.
The Phone Paid Services Authority Code of Practice
The Phone Paid Services Authority Code of Practice sets out the standards governing the content and advertising of all premium rate phone services accessible from the UK. This gives guidance to anyone wanting to make a complaint about a premium rate service. The Code of Practice also contains details of the Phone Paid Services Authority compensation scheme. A copy of the Code of Practice can be obtained from Phone Paid Services Authority.
Complaints to Phone Paid Services Authority
If any member of the public wishes to, they may complain to Phone Paid Services Authority about premium rate services, for example, the content of services or about advertisements.
A client wishing to complain should telephone or write giving the telephone number and name of the service, the date and time they used the service or saw the advertisement and the reason why the client thinks the service or advertisement may be in breach of the Code of Practice.
Phone Paid Services Authority will investigate the complaint and when the investigation is complete, will let the client know of the outcome. If a company providing the premium rate service has broken the rules, the service has to be amended or, in serious cases, can be removed from the telephone network. The company may also face further penalties.
Website Phone-paid Services Authority