AIME Member Empello releases wide ranging compliance survey into 2,500 mobile services

AIME Member, Empello ( releases wide ranging survey of mobile value added services and demonstrates a high degree of adherence to industry codes of practice designed to protect mobile consumers.

Empello Ltd, was recruited by a large UK Mobile Network Operator, another AIME Member, to research thousands of services that are available to consumers of that mobile network and establish if the services fell into one of four categories of consumer protection. These same services are in the main, also available on all other UK mobile networks and therefore available to the full UK population. The services are run by parties connected to the mobile networks and use premium SMS to charge for their services or charge direct to the consumers mobile bill. These facilities fit under the  broad category name of “Charge to Mobile”. Services are wide ranging and available for consumers to purchase such as videos, phone personalisation, TV voting, competitions, chat and date facilities, games, apps and more. The beauty of Charge to Mobile is that the payment method is frictionless, needing only the mobile number and is available to anyone with a mobile account or prepaid balance. Because of the low friction, the Codes of Practice for the industry using the payment method are strict and prescriptive to ensure consumers are fully aware of the pricing and other relevant information of the service before making a decision to purchase.

Empello surveyed 2,500 mobile services and used a three point assessment system for the services;

94% of the services assessed, were either fully compliant with all the relevant Codes of Practice, had minor issues that could be corrected within 48 hours (such as a missing contact number) or had some observations that could help to improve the service. None of the 94% were designed to cause any consumer harm.

Of the remaining 6%, these services were categorised as potentially damaging to consumers and were immediately removed from UK Mobile Networks.

AIMEs Managing Director Rory Maguire stated: “Due to the wide range of potential services available to mobile consumers and their availability to all ages, Charge to Mobile services have to comply with very stringent Codes of Practice issued by Mobile Networks and the Regulator, PhonepayPlus. The Codes are far more robust than other forms of payments offered by online merchants and app stores. In the fast moving and fragmented world of the mobile internet, it is very easy for something minor to go wrong when promoting services and good monitoring practices deployed by mobile networks show that these minor issues can be spotted and resolved without fuss. Good monitoring also detects the small handful of services with serious issues and with the removal from the networks gives a clear commercial message that they will not be tolerated.

AIME members work tirelessly to adhere all relevant Codes of Practice. “

Empello News Bulletin can be accessed here