ICSTIS, has fined the service provider WIN (Wireless Information Networks) £10,000 for reverse-billed SMS services for adult videos promoted by three promotions in the Daily Sport. The services were accessed by sending a short code, which directed users to a WAP site claimed the service was not a subscription service and that 20 minute videos were available for download. ICSTIS found that the promotions were misleading as they implied that videos were available for free, that 20 minute videos were available when only clips between 30-60 seconds were available; and that technical abbreviations and pricing would not be clear to the average user. ICSTIS did not bar the services as it was satisfied that it was only the promotion of the services that breached the code.
One thing you have to say about WIN (and this is not their first time before ICSTIS), they provide good entertainment value. In their defence they claimed that use of the phrases ’20 min movies’ and ‘ 20 min videos’ was not misleading because their user base would know that it would take too much time to download a clip of this length and that their phone’s memory would probably not be able to store or run a video of that length – and quality – on their handset. Ergo users would know that 20 min videos were available – they were just broken down into 20 or so 30-60 second clips. Brilliant
In October 2006 when ICSTIS fined WIN £5,000 for a service operating on an 076 number, which ICSTIS found did not provide pricing terms or make clear that it was a premium rate subscription service.
In August 2006 they fined WIN £5,000 and ordered them to refund £10,000 to a man who spent that amount on a reverse billed SMS service operated by NYT Group. The complaint claimed that the website ukadultfun.co.uk, which promoted a premium rate reverse billed SMS service, was misleading as it promoted a service as a dating service, when it was actually a chat service.
In March 2006 they fine WIN £40,000 for an ad for reverse-billed SMS provided by Zappy Media. ICSTIS were concerned about a number of aspects, including that incorrect pricing information was provided, the pricing information was not prominent and required close examination, and that certain applicable ‘children’s provisions’ of the Code were not complied with.
Go back to 2005 …. and WIN are there too – they like ICSTIS.