Phonepay Plus, the UK regulator of premium rate services, has fined an Android application operator £50,000 for serious breaches of the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice.
Connect Ltd, a Russian company trading as SMSBill, operated an app that gave users access to games. Once a user had installed the app onto their smartphone, the smartphone automatically sent a text message to a premium-rate number for which the user was charged £10. The terms and conditions for the app included a reference to a charge of “about £5” on downloading the app.
Phonepay Plus said that it had received complaints about the app, and said that all amounts received from users had to be refunded. Those refunds were in addition to the £50,000 fine, and Connect Ltd now has to get Phonepay Plus’s approval for any new premium-rate services before launch. A failure to comply could lead to a larger fine or a ban from the phone service market in the UK for up to five years.