Complaining to the Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA)

Many consumers are deterred from complaining to PSA.

  • Your network will probably tell you that should first go to the service provider and only complain to PSA if you don’t get a refund. NOT TRUE if you were charged without consent that is a contravention of the PSA Code of Practice and should be reported. PSA now recognise that some companies seek to “keep below the radar” by providing quick refunds to consumers who complain. They recognise that they need to know about these companies and will welcome your information about them.
  • PSA are a regulator, not an ombudsman and won’t help you resolve your dispute. SADLY TRUE. However the involvement of PSA can help your case and that of others.

You do not need to attach a copy of your phone bill to make a complaint to PSA.
You do need to know the following.
1. The premium rate service the number relates to. This can be retrieved either from your text message confirmation or your phone bill.
2. The name of the company providing the premium rate service.
3. Your personal details, such as your name, address and contact details.
4. The name of your phone or mobile network.
To make a complaint:
Go to the number checker on the PSA website:
Put your network and the shortcode you are complaining about and click ‘Search!’. You may need to complete a Captcha challenge in order to proceed to the next stage.
The next screen shows details of the company(s) responsible for the shortcode. Some shortcodes are used by a multitude of different “services”. Make sure that you choose the correct one.

Towards the bottom of the service provider details,  there is ‘”Report this service” button. Click this to start your complaint and you will be taken to the complaint form.
The more information you can include in your complaint, the easier it will be for PSA to take action.
If you find the online process too cumbersome you can complain by ‘phone on 0300 30 300 20 (Monday – Friday, 9.30am – 5pm, excluding bank holidays). This is charged as a normal landline call.

PSA will allocate you a complaint reference. Make sure that you include this in all correspondence relating to your dispute, and ensure that they are copied in to all messages between you and the third party company which took your money.

Try to keep accurate records and evidence. Remember that service providers are only required to provide customer service during working hours Mon-Fri. If you have difficulty contacting the company during these times, or are promised a callback which never materialises, make sure you report this.

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