PhonepayPlus Update

PhonepayPlus

PhonepayPlus hereby gives notice of the following:

  • From 13 June 2014 providers who operate consumer complaint facilities on the 087 number range, or other premium rate number ranges such as 084, will be in breach of the Regulations.
  • When the Regulations come into force, providers of premium rate services that operate consumer complaint facilities on a premium rate number range, including 087, 084, or otherwise, must continue to ensure that they comply with outcome 2.6 of our Code relating to ‘complaint handling’, and relevant rules, using suitable number ranges for complaints handled via the telephone.
  • From 13 June 2014 the expectations set out at paragraphs 8.1. to 8.4 of the current Service-Specific Guidance will no longer apply in respect of other PRS (such as data capture and chat) operated on the 087 number range. Providers of such services will be required to provide and effectively publicise an effective complaint facility operated on a number range which is compliant with the Regulations. The Guidance will be revised and published shortly, reflecting the changes in the law.

What about PRS  that provides technical support?

BIS guidance sets out that this need not come under Regulation 41, provided it is clear to the consumer that the line exists to provide technical support for a product already purchased (e.g. a laptop, tablet, software, machinery, white goods or other electronics), with that technical support being charged separately from the original purchase via the cost of the call.

Technical support lines must not provide the facility to complain about a product already purchased.

What about 087 services which provide something other than a consumer complaint facility?

Where an 087 number is used to provide a PRS (such as chat, conference call facilities, data capture – i.e. receiving an order and/or payment for a product from consumers who call, or other forms of entertainment and information) its use will be compliant with the Regulations as long as no consumer complaint facility is provided on the 087 number.

In addition, such providers will no longer be permitted to use any other 087 or other premium rate number, to receive complaints about the premium rate service.

PhonepayPlus recommends that Level 2 providers who use 087 numbers do the following:

  1. Review their current services against the BIS Guidance in order to ascertain their likely compliance with the Regulations.
  2. Take appropriate steps to alter any services which are not compliant, particularly in respect of complaint handling arrangements for 087 services, or transfer services to a compliant number range.
  3. Ensure that premium rate services continue to operate in full compliance with outcome 2.6 of our Code relating to ‘complaint handling’, and relevant rules, using suitable number ranges for complaints handled via the telephone.

PhonepayPlus also recommends that Level 1 providers and networks that operate and provide numbers for the service types outlined above note the Regulations and conduct appropriate due diligence and risk control to ensure they are not facilitating unlawful practices through the operation or provision of numbers.