COMPETITION
Telecomms, technology, internet


Mobile giant monstermob is facing a fresh investigation from UK from telephone watchdog Icstis over claims that the company has sent out unsolicited ‘reverse bill chargeable texts’ to users. In effect the user pays for the text at premium rate even if they haven’t asked for the text. Here entrants to a ‘free’ competition are said to have received texts which they had to pay for. Ictis can impose fines on service operators or bar services from operating. Monstermob had previously been investigated by Icstis for a subscription text service which provided ineffective ‘stop codes’. Monstermob were warned but no other action was taken. The Advertising Standards Authority had prevously upheld a number of complaints against ringtone provider Jamster, the firm behind the ‘Crazy Frog’, ‘Sweetie the Chick’ and ‘Nessie The Dragon’ downloads. The ASA noted that Jamster’s style of advertising particularly appealed to children and young people and the adverts for these Jamster downloads did not make it clear that the service was a subscription service. Many young people who complained (often after parents had to foot large bills) thought that the purchase of a single download was a ‘one off’ transaction. Jamster failed in an application to the High Court to prevent the ASA’s adjudication being published.

The Guardian (Cash) 6 th November 2005 and see Law Updates June 2005Ringtone advertising raises consumer protests worldwide