PSA proposes extension of regulatory requirements to all call connection services and strengthens requirements
The Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) has opened a consultation on revised Special conditions for ICSS – third-party services that connect or signpost callers to popular helplines via a premium-rate number.
The proposals are intended to improve the information about these services that is given to consumers, both in search results and on service websites, to make it clearer that they are third parties and that calls via an ICSS may be more expensive than calling the desired number directly.
These proposals follow changes in January 2019 to extend the scope of Ofcom’s Premium Rate Service Condition to include all ICSS within the definition of controlled premium rate services. This extended PSA regulation to all ICSS irrespective of the number range they are operating on. This consultation proposes that the PSA’s Special conditions for ICSS should apply to all ICSS, regardless of number range.
The consultation is open until 10th June 2019. Respondents are advised to use the new PSA consultations response form, available from the PSA website.
Today PSA are publishing their final statement on their DQ review which sets out two new special conditions on pricing transparency at onward call connection and IVR promotions on inactive geographic numbers. The statement and responses to the consultation can be found at this link. Their notice can be found here.
PSA have just released their set priorities for the next 3 months.
Among them are implementing and monitoring Special conditions for online competition and online adult services, undertaking research into consumer complaint journeys, looking at market trends and assessing the effectiveness of sanctions.
For the full article please read: 7 PRIORITIES
AIME is involved in a number of ongoing regulatory consultations and the workflow that derives from the regulators output. Below is a short summary of each consultation and how we plan to focus our attention during January 2017.
If you would like any further information please access the regulatory consultation section of the AIME website or contact Rory if you would like to discuss any of the points below.
- Project 30 – A PSA initiative working on how their organisation can evolve to better support the Premium Rate industry whilst still protecting the consumer.
AIME has provided input from members to this consultation which closed in October. Suggestions from AIME included greater alignment with other regulators, particularly the ASA and Trading Standards. The PSA responded at the end of 2016 and AIME is currently reviewing their feedback ready for discussion at our quarterly meeting in January.
We will provide members with a summary of PSA’s feedback during January. We will also update members on this development at the AIME General Meeting on 7th February.
- Special Conditions – The PSA have been looking into specific areas of the premium rate industry where there have been high levels of consumer complaints.
AIME has provided input from members to this consultation which closed in October. The PSA published two new special conditions in November 2016 for January implementation. AIME believed that a number of errors were made in the creation of the Special Conditions and this has been communicated to members and to PSA.
One of the main concerns is that the Special Conditions left room for unscrupulous providers to circumvent the rules while adding additional friction for compliant providers, did not address the issue of consumers failing to use the STOP command for subscription services, did not address the issues caused by some “glamour services” as they are not defined as adult entertainment and removed an existing piece of technology based on an unidentified “security issue”.
The proposed special condition for online Adult Services undermined the MNO Age Verification Access Control facilities in place since 2003 and also implied that 15 years olds could access 18+ material.
AIME intends to raise serious concerns about quality of the Special Conditions during the PSA quarterly meeting.
- Project Slimline – A mobile network initiative.
Payforit version 6 has now been published and it allows for a principles based payment facility for lower risk services and companies in exchange for greater monitoring of services and consumer complaints known as Key Performance Indicators plus kept the standard payment scheme for normal risk services. AIME worked with the MNOs to assist with the adaptations needed to cater for the Special Conditions bearing in mind the limited timetable and will continue the discussions to enable a more consumer friendly payment flow to be developed for the services affected by Special Conditions and to resolve some detailed technical issues.
We plan to consult with Members at the Charge to Mobile Working Group on the implementation of Payforit 6.1
- PSD2 – UK Government consultation for Payment Services Directive 2
The Treasury consultation on PSD2 was due to be published in November 2016 but has now been postponed until February. This causes concern as there is less than a year before implementation and capital expenditure to enable compliance has been on hold pending Treasury’s review off the lower cost proposals made in conjunction with Mobile UK. AIME’s concerns over a strict interpretation of PSD2 Telecom exemption are as follows:
- The “Telecom Exemption” is for consumer spend on third party services up to €300 in any month. While PSD2 does not request a “hard stop” on consumer spend (approx 0.4% of consumer exceed €300), to do so would create a disproportionate capital expenditure and to ignore it would cause a regulatory breach. We have proposed a financial licensing regime once the overspending consumer proportion is much higher.
- PSD2 should allow for the Telecom exemption to flow through the value chain. There is a definition issue that we have identified that needs resolution to ensure this is the case.
Our other concerns will be detailed at the AIME GM.
We will be addressing the lack of consultation and the financial impact of the proposals to the Treasury Ministers and DCMS.
- PSA Budget for 2017/18- consultation is in progress.
As the headline proposal is to reduce expenditure by 5% (AIME successfully lobbied for a £500k reduction last year). We do not have any major concerns in this area and will support their proposals. Operationally, there are some areas for further reductions and we continue to be disappointed in historical technology investments, but the proposed reduction in the face of increasing consumer issues shows that we have achieved our objectives.