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Goodbye ICSTIS, hello PhonePayPlus

Rebrand to beat off premium rate rip-off merchants

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The watchdog formerly known as ICSTIS has rebranded itself PhonePayPlus and promised to come down harder on TV shows, after a series of rip-off scandals in the last year garnered it widespread criticism.

Bravely joining the crusade against spaces, and in favour of mid-word capitalisation, PhonePayPlus aims to be a bit more proactive than ICTSIS was during the brouhaha over Richard and Judy, Big Brother, and X Factor, even though at the time chairman Sir Alistair Graham denied it lacked teeth.

Sir Alistair did signal that ICSTIS felt its name had been poisoned by the battering the industry as a whole took last year. He said something better might "stick in the mind of consumers as the place to complain about problems in the premium rate industry".

Parool Patel, head of communications at ICSTIS (not PhonePayPlus yet, apparently) today rattled the newly-forged sabre: "We have the power to shut down businesses, issue sanctions, bar access to services, and impose large financial penalties. Broadcasters, production companies, and telephony service providers are now warned that we are monitoring programming output.

"Premium rate services like phone in competitions and voting should not be used a form of stealth tax for television viewers."

Rebranding buffs will be interested to hear that ICSTIS' PhonePayPlus' bespoke public frontage paradigm will be defined by Paratus Communications, which won the six month contract by "beating off a short-list of eight other agencies". We'll leave it to you to judge the wisdom of including the phrase "beating off" in an announcement about premium rate phone lines. ®

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