The Phone-paid Services Consumer Group website is a replacement for the Payforitsucks website which has been helping solve consumer problems with Phone-paid Services for nearly three years. The “Payforit” direct carrier billing mechanism was killed off by the networks in December 2019. By that time, the term “Payforit scam” had become common parlance, and the system was no longer credible.
Although “Payforit” is no more, the scams continue. Changes to the regulations have dramatically reduced the incidence of fraudulent charges on most networks, but at the time of writing the Three network contiues to be plagued by them. In the past, attempts to stop the scams have had a short term effect, but the scammers have just become more devious in finding ways to circumvent the rules. We fully expect the same to happen again. The regulator is slow to react to new potential exploits, and we hope that this consumer group can act to pressure them into taking fraud prevention more seriously.
The Payforitsucks website will continue to operate for the next few months with a continued emphasis on helping consumers resolve individual disputes. This website will concentrate on regulatory issues, and in particular the PSA consultation on Code 15.
Our principal aim in the past few years has been to support consumers, who are often taken aback to find that their phone accounts are vulnerable to these charges. The volume of work has now reduced to the level where it becomes possible to expend energy in fighting for fairer system, so that the incidence of these scams becomes rare. We want to collate consumer views and give them a voice. For years, the regulator, the Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) have ignored the views of consumers and allowed dodgy companies to operate “services” of dubious legality. Even where services have stayed within the law, they have often employed sharp practice to trick consumers into “subscriptions” which they would never have signed up for if they had known the true cost.
We want to make sure that the regulator properly considers the views of consumers in regulating Phone-paid Services by making sure that those views are difficult to ignore.