The industry watchdog PSA or Phone-paid Services Authority has issued both Inter Inventory Company Limited and ECN Digital Ltd five-year bans from the market after these companies did not manage to fulfil previous financial sanctions.
Inter Inventory, a games subscription services, was found to breach several rules, including fair customer treatment and misleading information.
On the other hand, ECN Digital was found to have committed five Code of Practice breaches. The firm’s website had unclear pricing information, which confused customers regarding their charges for the company’s call-connection service.
Both companies were unable to pay financial sanctions and administrative charges. The PSA reprimanded both companies and is expected to comply with the sanctions before they can be allowed back to the market.
Inter Inventory Company Limited received PSA’s decision after it breached the watchdog’s regulation regarding compliance with financial sanctions. The company, which offers the ‘BestVIPGames’ subscription service, has committed several offences that led to it being fined.
The firm operated a payment method via customers’ phone bill. It charged £4.50 per week, providing links to a games portal for subscribing users. A year prior, the firm promoted its services using banner ads.
The PSA imposed sanctions on the said company in March 2019. However, Inter Inventory failed to fulfil its obligations, which prompted the watchdog to enforce action to the firm.
On 6 March 2019, the PSA’s tribunal found the firm to have breached four sections of the code: Rule 2.3.1 Fair and Equitable Treatment, 2.6.1 Complaint Handling, 2.3.2 Misleading Information, and Paragraph 3.4.1 (a) Registration.
Inter Inventory was sanctioned with a hefty fine and administration charges but unfortunately was unable to comply with the penalties during the time given by PSA. The non-compliance led to two breaches, namely on Paragraph 4.8.6 (b) Non-compliance with Financial Sanction and Paragraph 4.11.2 Non-Payment of Administrative Charges.
Both breaches are assessed as ‘very serious’, which resulted in the PSA issuing a formal reprimand to the company. Inter Inventory is also expected to remedy the breaches, such as removing customers who were content-locked on its database. It is ordered to provide the right link to subscribers, and as well as include relevant information on the registration database of the PSA.
Inter Inventory was sanctioned with a fine of £375,000 and £6,886 worth of administrative charges. However, the firm was found to have made no move to comply with the sanctions.
The company received another formal reprimand for its latest offences and is now prohibited from having any involvement in premium rate services for five years. If they manage to comply with its previous sanctions, they can return to the market earlier than the set period.
A similar case was investigated, which involved ECN Digital Ltd. This company offered call-collection services and was registered with the PSA since 2018. It connected consumers to organisations, costing 13p for every minute with an additional call-collection charge.
The firm was found to have breached five regulations stipulated in the PSA’s Code of Practice: Rule 2.2.2 Promotional Material Branding, Rule 2.2.7 Paragraph 3.11.3 Special Conditions ICSS 5, ICSS 11, and ICSS 13.
ECN Digital received a formal reprimand and a fine of £250,000 for its breaches. It was also barred from being accessed by users for three months. Furthermore, the company was ordered to issue refunds to customers who requested for a claim within twenty-eight (28) days, unless the firm finds grounds to doubt such claims.
However, the company failed to meet its financial obligations and was unable to pay the administrative charges totaling to £8,043.
The firm was found to have violated Paragraph 4.8.6 (b) Non-compliance with Financial Sanction and Paragraph 4.11.2 Non-Payment of Administrative Charges.
The PSA sent another formal reprimand for the latest offences of ECN Digital after considering every circumstance of the said case. The firm is also barred from involving in current and future premium rate services for five years.
ECN Digital can only return to the market earlier than the sanction period if it complies with all the previous sanctions and pays its fines.