Phone-paid Services Authority to introduce new Special conditions for subscription services

The PSA says that following a full examination of services which make recurring charges to a consumer’s phone bill in exchange for digital content, such as games, music streaming or videos, it has introduced new Special conditions for subscription services.

The PSA says that the decision follows a full consultation on subscription services and that the new requirements will “raise standards in the market to meet consumer expectations”. There are three major changes, which all providers of services will have to comply with or they will be in breach of the Code of Practice and potentially subject to sanctions, which may include significant financial penalties:

  • a two-stage sign-up process will be required where the first stage requires an opt-in using either a PIN, account and password or Mobile Originating SMS. This must be followed by a second opt-in confirmation stage;
  • greater clarity in ensuring that consumers are aware they are in a payment environment and signing up to a phone-paid subscription; and
  • a receipt must be issued after every charge.

The PSA says that many services already meet the new requirements. However, the new rules “bring clarity to the industry and are designed to remove confusion, accidental sign up, and to prevent deliberate deception”. For further information, click here.