PSA bans two companies from phone-paid services market and issues further fines

February 11, 2019

The Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) is appointed by Ofcom to regulate phone-paid services in the UK. It 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 £2.50, £3 or £4.50 a week to receive links to adult video platforms 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 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 it was 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 PSA’s tribunal considered it appropriate to issue further financial sanctions to Halak and to Global Awareness. Halak was fined £250,000 and banned from phone-paid services market for five years for similar failure to comply with regulatory sanctions. Global Awareness Ltd was given a five-year ban from phone-paid services market and fined a further £200,000 for failure to comply with original sanctions.