Saturday 22 July 2017

Mobile watchdog investigating £4.50 premium rate text service

Some users claimed they had not entered into the service and were unsure how to leave it.

(Lauren Hurley/PA)
(Lauren Hurley/PA)

By Peter Cary

An industry regulator is probing a premium rate text campaign after subscribers complained they had not opted-in to the £4.50-per-month service.

Mobile phone users received text messages from a company stating: “FreeMsg:U have subscribed to Comp House competition for £4.50 per month until you send stop to 82225. SP Pro Money HELP? 08001577502?T&C”

A further message then followed with a bitly link (an online link shortener) and a further note explaining that it would cost a user £1.50 to text an opt-out from the campaign.

A spokesman for the Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA), who are investigating the service, said: “Under our code of practice consumers must not be charged for phone-paid services without their consent.

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Some subscribers said they were not aware they had opted into the service (Lauren Hurley/PA)

“We are currently looking into complaints regarding the service operating on 82225 and separately have an ongoing investigation into Veoo.

“Consumers who want to complain about a phone-paid service should first contact the service provider. You can check the provider of a service using our online number checker or by contacting your network operator.

“If this does not resolve the matter, you can contact the PSA via our website or on 0300 30 300 20 (9.30am – 5pm, Monday to Friday).”

A tracing engine on the PSA website reveals the service, known as PROCOMP, is supplied by Pro Money Holdings Ltd – a business registered to an address in Ilford, east London, via another mobile phone marketing service, Veoo.

Some of those who received the message took to online forums to vent their frustration and confusion over the issue.

One user, Mick White, said: “I have received this message and don’t know why. I have not subscribed to anything.”

Another, A Vickers, commented: “Received a text message saying I subscribed to a paid service and I havent and never will or would want to.”

The National Cyber Security Centre said the matter did not fall under its remit to investigate, but advised anyone affected who believes themselves to have been signed up without consent to report the issue to the Action Fraud Group for further guidance.

Veoo was approached for comment by the Press Association and have yet to send a statement regarding the matter, although they did indicate to the BBC that they had suspended their connection to the service.

A spokesperson for Pro Money Holdings Ltd was unavailable for comment.

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