New investigations regime will accompany new premium rate code, says regulator

Out-Law News | 10 Mar 2011 | 9:33 am | 1 min. read

The way premium phone rate companies are investigated for breaches of the industry code will be changed this spring, regulator PhonepayPlus (PPP) has said.

A new Code of Practice will come into force later this year and PPP has announced that at the same time as the new Code is introduced it will change the way it investigates premium rate providers and imposes sanctions on them.

According to a consultation run last year, the new Code will create a new registration scheme for all companies involved in the premium rate business for the first time.

PPP chief executive Paul Whiteing and chair of the Code Compliance Panel David Cockburn told an industry conference (12-page / 241KB PDF) this week that when the new Code is introduced a new investigation system will also be put in place.

They said that PPP would move towards a policy of trying to resolve minor problems informally with companies rather than through the formal complaints procedures. This would provide a "faster and better outcome for consumers", they said, according to the presentation published by PPP.

It said that 80% of complaints are resolved informally per month following the launch of a complaint resolution team last year.

"PhonepayPlus has been reviewing its approach to investigations and the setting of sanctions," said a PPP statement. "We will shortly be issuing new procedures for how investigations and sanctions will be managed under the new Code of Practice."

Whiteing and Cockburn's presentation said that there will be a new Investigations and Sanctions Guide that will set out how companies will be investigated.

They said that they hoped that this would "provide clarity and regulatory certainty as to the way the non-compliant services, and services of a similar nature, should be delivered in future", according to the presentation.

Guidance about the new processes, as well as that Investigations and Sanctions Guide, will be published alongside the new Code in spring, they said. The Code will come into force in September.

We are processing your request. \n Thank you for your patience. An error occurred. This could be due to inactivity on the page - please try again.