Text spammer fined £40k

Spammers to face 'severe sanctions'

A Gibraltar-based premium-rate spam text operator has been fined a total of £40,000 ($63,000) for breaching guidelines.

Premium-rate phone service regulator ICSTIS ruled against Kast Investment Ltd in three separate instances dishing out fines totalling £40,000 after it received complaints about an unsolicited text telling UK punters they had been selected to receive a "£400 reward".

However, people could only claim their "reward" if they called a premium rate number.

ICSTIS ruled that Kast Investments failed to state all the costs involved in redeeming the prize or the duration of the call.

The watchdog was also unhappy that Kast Investments also implied that the text was from the recipient's own mobile phone network rather than a third party.

Slapping on the fine ICSTIS also barred the operators from running the service for a year.

Separately, ICSTIS will shortly be issuing new proposed guidelines for premium-rate text services. And it's clear that the regulator is keen to take a tough stand on spam texts.

In its latest bulletin ICSTIS says: "Despite ambiguity in the law, there was almost universal agreement... that those responsible for unsolicited text message promotions should face severe sanctions."

The proposed new guidelines will be published later this month. ®

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