Five-year prohibitions and fines issued to two companies for failing to comply with Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) sanctions
- Global Awareness ltd given five-year ban from phone-paid services market and fined a further £200,000 for failure to comply with original sanctions
- Halak Online Ltd fined £250,000 and banned from phone-paid services market for five years for similar failure to comply with regulatory sanctions
- Global Awareness operated ‘glamour’ video subscription service which charged £2.50, £3 or £4.50 a week to receive links to adult video platforms
- Halak operated a call connection service which charged consumers premium rates for connection to popular customer helplines.
The PSA has issued five-year prohibitions from the phone-paid services market to two companies which failed to comply with sanctions imposed in November 2017 and June 2018 respectively.
Global Awareness Ltd was originally issued with a fine of £650,000 in November 2017, after it was found to have operated several ‘glamour’ video subscription platforms which had charged consumers without their consent.
Halak Online ltd operated a call connection service, which connected consumers to popular helplines for companies including Sky and Microsoft for premium-rates via the HelplineContactNumber.co.uk website. Calls could cost significantly more than the direct line for these companies, and Halak was found to have failed to make these additional costs clear, or stipulate that itwas a third-party service.
Halak was fined £200,000 in June 2018 and barred from the phone-paid services market.
Considering their non-co-operation with the regulator, and the severity of the original breaches of the PSA Code of Practice, the Tribunal considered it appropriate to issue further financial sanctions to both companies.