Networks must protect you from shady subscription services: Icasa

Icasa has published a draft code of conduct for premium-rated services, which places greater responsibility on networks to help protect subscribers from unscrupulous operators.

By - December 28, 2015 Share on LinkedIn
Mobile network operators

A draft of the new Code of Conduct for Premium Rated Services has outlined new responsibilities for mobile operators to protect their subscribers from shady premium-rated services.

Such services include premium-rated phone numbers and short code subscription services.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) published the draft for public comment in the Government Gazette on 17 December 2015.

Warnings when bill goes over R200 per month

Under the new Code, mobile networks will also be expected to warn you if the total cost of any premium-rated service exceeds R200 per month.

You must receive the warning before the amount reaches R220 per month.

They may then only continue to bill you if you confirm that you accept any costs over this amount.

For the remainder of the month, your network must send you a notification for every R200 you are billed for the premium-rated service, notifying you of the total cost incurred so far.

Opt-in, and reasonable assistance

It also stated that a service provider may not sign you up for a premium-rated subscription service and then ask you to opt-out to avoid being billed. You must opt in.

If you contact your mobile provider to dispute a charge from a premium-rated service, the billing network operator must provide “reasonable assistance” to help you resolve the dispute.

While such a dispute is ongoing, the network may not collect payment for any of the charges in question, provided you “reasonably believe” them to be incorrect.

Public comment

Those interested in commenting on the draft have until 16:30 on 12 February 2016 to send their submissions to Icasa.

The draft and submission information is available on the MyBroadband forum.

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