HomeInsightsPremium Rate Services: PhonepayPlus consults on its regulatory framework and special conditions for online competition and adult services and publishes refreshed industry Guidance. Additional regulatory requirements proposed.

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PhonepayPlus has developed a set of initiatives known as “Project 30” to ensure that it remains fit for purpose. One initiative is to look at improving its regulatory framework workstream so as to best support innovation and growth without diminishing consumer protection.

The regulatory framework consultation proposes:

  • development of an objective framework against which to assess whether services are “higher risk”;
  • a clear process by which Exemptions from the Code will be applied;
  • scoping out support from relevant regulators for regulatory handling of new digital services or payment models and other appropriate joint working and considering the value of commissioning a “regulatory map”; and
  • joint monitoring to better join up the intelligence available to both the regulator and the industry.PhonepayPlus is also consulting on proposals for additional regulatory requirements in the form of special conditions for online competition and adult services.
  • The regulator says that it receives disproportionately high complaint numbers for online competition and adult services. Independent consumer journey research commissioned by PhonepayPlus and undertaken by Craft Realities into online competition and adult services, highlighted a number of concerns including:
  • The deadline for responses is 12 October 2016.
  • it is quite possible for a consumer to provide unintentional consent to an online competition or online adult service;
  • opt-in and opt-out mechanisms are insufficiently robust or transparent from a consumer perspective; and
  • in relation to subscription online competition and adult services, consumers can remain unaware that consent to recurring charges has been given.PhonepayPlus has also published revised Guidance to make regulatory expectations on existing PRS and on the operation of subscription type services clearer for providers of PRS in order to raise standards for consumers.  Changes include modifying text to improve accessibility and impact. To read the PhonepayPlus press release in full and for links to all relevant documents click here.
  • The proposed new requirements are based on the risks posed to consumers and are designed to address these concerns. Proposals have been discussed with an industry working group prior to formal consultation. Further information is contained in the consultation documentation. The deadline for responses is 12 October 2016.

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