1 March 2012
Tougher rules for mobile premium services
A new Mobile Premium Services Industry Code, registered today by the ACMA, provides tougher rules for the advertising and provision of premium rate SMS and MMS services for mobile phone users. It is effective from 1 June, 2012.
The previous code was put in place on 1 July 2009 to address the unacceptably high level of customer complaints about mobile premium services. While complaints have fallen 90 per cent from their peak, requirements in the new code will make the prices, terms and conditions of these services even clearer to consumers. The new code also introduces a requirement for mobile carriers to monitor and report to the ACMA on content providers’ compliance with the code.
‘While complaints about these services have dramatically reduced, the ACMA required industry to take additional steps to further protect consumers from rogue operators,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.
‘These new rules are designed to make it much harder for mobile premium service providers to mislead customers. The new compliance reporting requirements should also make the industry more accountable to the ACMA and its customers.’
Key measures contained in the new code include:
- subscription service providers will be required to use the terms ‘subscription’ or ‘subscribe’ in sign-up messages, to inform customers of the ongoing nature of these services and related charges
- providers of reverse charge services will be required to inform customers of call costs, terms and conditions before charging
- the requirement that information about the cost of a service be printed close to the number used to request a service in an advertisement.
The ACMA can direct service providers to comply with code obligations. Non compliance may lead to proceedings in the Federal Court for the recovery of a pecuniary penalty of up to $250,000.
The MPS Code operates in conjunction with two service provider determinations previously introduced by the ACMA which give customers the choice to bar access to all mobile premium services and require all service providers to be listed on an industry register. The ACMA is currently reviewing the operation of these rules to ensure they are effective.
The new MPS Code was developed by Communications Alliance, the telecommunications industry’s peak body, which formed an independently chaired working committee comprising industry and consumer representatives.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719 and 0434 652 063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.