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Phone-paid services regulator dishes out £250k fine to call-connection company

Jasper Hart
January 9, 2020

Other service banned for not paying £700k fineThe Phone-paid Services Authority, the regulator in charge of goods and services charged to a phone bill, has issued a £250,000 fine to a company whose website made money off connecting consumers to well-known companies without clarifying its charging costs.

ECN Digital was handed the fine for using an Information, Connection and Signposting Service (ICSS) to connect customers to companies including Vodafone, Royal Sun Alliance, Yorkshire Water and TNT at a cost of 13p per minute without making clear that this cost would be incurred, or that the numbers provided were not the companies’ own.

It also used some company logos alongside the numbers it provided to call them, which the PSA said made it unclear to consumers whether or not they were phoning the companies directly.

The regulator found ECN guilty of five breaches of its codes, four of them “very serious” and one “serious”. The company made an estimated £90,362 as a result of the regulatory breaches.

The PSA CEO Jo Prowse said of the decision: “It’s unacceptable for any phone-paid connection service to mislead consumers and our action in this case shows that we won’t tolerate this.

“We recently strengthened regulatory requirements for phone-paid connection services to better protect consumers. We’re ready to act against providers who fail to implement these new requirements.”

As well as the fine, ECN must refund all targeted consumers who are eligible for a refund and claim one.

Elsewhere, the PSA also banned call-connection service Tobaji from the market for a minimum of five years, after it failed to pay a £700,000 fine for also running an ICSS that charged consumers 13p per minute for a call. This incurred six regulatory breaches.

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