Feeds

UK premium rate phone complaints rocket

'Not everything in the garden is rosy'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

The number of complaints concerning rip-off premium rate services (PRS) hit record highs last year, raising concerns that the regulator is unable to cope with the rising tide of fraud.

Last year, PRS regulator ICSTIS received 27,501 complaints - a 240 per cent increase on 2002 and the highest annual level of complaints since its creation in 1986.

Dodgy text messages and rogue Internet diallers accounted for two-thirds of all complaints received last year, while spam and scam text messages enticing mobile users to call premium rate numbers accounted for around 7,500 complaints.

Publishing its annual report yesterday, ICSTIS said: "Major problems with premium rate-charged Internet services - caused by pop-up boxes, emails, and non-compliant or ‘rogue’ diallers - started in late 2003 and have been of very serious concern in the first half of 2004.

"We received almost 11,000 complaints about Internet-based services in 2003, with most complaints concerning unauthorised use, misleading advertising and adult services failing to cut off at the required £20.00 maximum call cost."

'Small minority'

In his introduction to the report, ICSTIS chairman Sir Peter North admitted that "not everything in the garden is rosy... These practices throw up a number of issues which all those involved in the industry (which generated revenues of around £650m last year) must recognise and start to address.

He went on: "We will not let consumer confidence in services and the creativity of legitimate businesses be jeopardised by the criminal and irresponsible actions of a small minority."

However, ICSTIS' tough talking doesn’t fool everyone. Last year it dished out fines of £1.2m but recouped less than £500,000. In a Parliamentary debate this week, Derek Wyatt, Labour MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, asked if the role of ICSTIS as a regulator is "part of the problem?"

"Should (ICSTIS) be in the business of providing advice and information online and through its helpline, or should it be pulling back and limiting itself to an enforcement role? At the moment, it cannot do both," he said.

One industry insider source told The Register that ICSTIS just doesn't have the resources or ability to regulate an industry that is moving too fast for it to keep up. ®

Related stories

BT cuts off dialler scammers
MPs slam premium-rate 'criminal scams'
ICSTIS blames dialler scams for premium rate freeze
Regulator fines Net sex firm
Text scammers fined £450,000
UK Watchdog bites mobile spam scammers
US spammer fined £75k for porn sting

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Twitter: La la la, we have not heard of any NUDE JLaw, Upton SELFIES
If there are any on our site it is not our fault as we are not a PUBLISHER
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?