mBlox statement on investigations into UK breaches of PhonepayPlus Code of Practice

During the summer of 2008, mBlox was notified by PhonepayPlus of a significant rise in complaints about premium rate services that third parties provide to consumers via the mBlox network and the end user’s mobile carrier network. This trend, which mBlox identified during the summer, reflects an issue that confronts the entire European premium rate services industry as highlighted in the European Consumer Commissioner’s research in July.

mBlox takes compliance seriously and firmly believes consumer trust and confidence are essential to the overall health of the industry. mBlox has concluded that monitoring and system tools to verify customers are meeting their ongoing regulatory compliance are necessary to prevent the rogue behaviour exhibited by a small number of information providers. It became clear that mBlox needed to take active steps to verify the compliance responsibilities of its customers were met.

And as a result, mBlox has conducted audits of its premium service customers, identifying those whose campaigns are not compliant with the applicable regulations. However, due to the timescale involved in properly investigating complaints, there are some customer programmes that preceded the audits performed by mBlox and it is likely that further adjudications naming mBlox as the Service Provider will be published by PhonepayPlus based on these earlier programmes.

mBlox would like to stress that measures are now in place to address the issues that resulted in this rise in complaints. Complaints from the public relating to services billed by mBlox have consequently fallen dramatically, and to its knowledge no new investigations are arising.

Since July 2008 mBlox has been working closely with PhonepayPlus to ensure that it does all that it can to help its customers comply with the Code of Practice and take a strong lead in mitigating the results of this type of behaviour within the premium rate industry. It has implemented a number of additional measures, including mBlox Detect and a complete revision of its internal procedures, to reverse this trend.

Since August, mBlox has audited over 500 UK services operating on over 400 short codes. All issues discovered during this process have been resolved and since taking these steps, no new cases of customer non-compliance have been identified by PhonepayPlus. During this same time period, call volume to mBlox’s UK consumer helpline has decreased significantly.

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