CODE OF PRACTICE
THE INDEPENDENT COMMITTEE FOR THE SUPERVISION OF STANDARDS OF TELEPHONE INFORMATION SERVICES
- Terms of reference
- 1.1 Framework
- 1.2 Legality
- 1.3 Decency
- 1.4 Honesty
- 1.5 Data protection
- 1.6 Services charged at a higher national premium rate
- 3.1 Scope
- 3.2 Honesty
- 3.3 Pricing information
- 4.1 Children's services
- 4.2 Competitions and other games with prizes
- 4.3 Advice services
- 4.4 Sales promotion services
- 4.5 Fundraising and charitable promotions
- 4.6 Employment and business opportunities
- 4.7 Contact and dating services
- 4.8 Services of a sexual nature
- 4.9 Interactive entertainment services
- 4.10 Tipping services
- 4.11 Bulletin boards and other computer-based services
- 5.1 Complaint initiation
- 5.2 Standard procedure
- 5.3 Emergency procedure
- 5.4 Disclosure of information
- 5.5 Oral hearings
- 5.6 Adjudication
- 5.7 Reviews
- 5.8 Sanctions
- 5.9 Administrative charge
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- The Independent Committee for the supervision of Standards of Telephone
Information Services (ICSTIS) is the supervisory body for the premium rate
telecommunications service industry. The Committee consists of around 10
members, all appointed in their individual capacities. ICSTIS is a non-profit
making limited company which is financed by the industry. The Committee is
supported by a full time Secretariat.
- The Committee may delegate any of its powers to sub-committees which will be
formed of no less than three Committee members.
- This Code of Practice has been produced by ICSTIS. It covers the provision of
premium rate services by means of a public telecommunications network.
- Premium rate services are services where part of the overall charge paid by a
customer for the service, being payment for the content of the call, is passed by a
network operator, directly or indirectly, on to the individual, organisation or
company providing the service.
- For the purposes of this Code of Practice the term "network operator" means any
company recognised as such by ICSTIS. ICSTIS may recognise as a network
operator (a) any company which runs a public telecommunications network over
which premium rate services are conveyed, or (b) any company associated with a
company which runs such a network. ICSTIS shall publish this list of "network
operators" recognised by ICSTIS for the purpose of this Code of Practice.
ICSTIS may amend this list from time to time as it sees fit and will publish any
such amended list.
- Individuals, organisations or companies that provide premium rate services are
referred to as "service providers".
- Service providers may also provide services on behalf of others. These others,
who may be individuals, organisations or companies, are known as "information
providers". Regardless of the origin of the content of a service, responsibility for
compliance with this Code of Practice rests with the service provider.
- This Code of Practice applies to all premium rate services which are accessed by
a customer in the United Kingdom whether those services are provided from
within the United Kingdom or from abroad and whether the service provider is
situated within the United Kingdom or abroad.
- Within this Code, promotion means anything where the intent or effect is, either
directly or indirectly, to encourage the use of premium rate services and the term
"promotional material" should be construed accordingly.
- Wherever a premium rate service promotes, or is promoted by, a non-premium
rate telecommunications service, both services will be considered as one where, in
the opinion of ICSTIS, it is reasonable to do so.
- All definitions which appear in this Code will apply throughout the whole Code.
The role of ICSTIS is to supervise both the content of, and promotional material for,
premium rate services and, with the support of the network operators, to enforce this
Code of Practice. ICSTIS undertakes the following tasks:-
a. setting and maintaining standards for the content and the promotion of premium rate
services, and keeping these standards under review;
b. consulting the industry and other interested parties before changing these standards;
c. monitoring services to ensure that both the content and promotional material comply
with these standards;
d. investigating and adjudicating upon complaints relating to the content and the
promotion of premium rate services and recommending action designed to achieve
compliance where the Code has been breached, which may include the imposition of
e. providing a system for the adjudication of claims for compensation in respect of
unauthorised use of live conversation services, and
f. publishing reports on its work at regular intervals and generally publicising its role.
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- 1.1.1 Service providers are responsible for ensuring that the content and promotion of
- all their premium rate services (whether produced by themselves or by their
- information providers) comply with both the general and specific provisions of
- this Code.
- 1.1.2 Before providing services, a service provider must notify ICSTIS of the
- a. the telephone number ranges (including prefixes) allocated to it by the
- network operator;
- b. the name, address and telephone number (including facsimile, where
- applicable) of the person representing the service provider who is nominated
- to receive all communications in connection with the application of the
- Code, and
- c. where different from b above, the name and contact details of the person
- responsible for handling enquiries.
- Any changes or additions to the above must be notified to ICSTIS immediately.
- 1.1.3 Where certain codes or number ranges have been allocated by either Oftel or a
- network operator for the provision of particular service categories, services within
- these categories must use those codes or number ranges.
- 1.1.4 ICSTIS may require that particular categories of service should not be provided
- unless ICSTIS has given its prior written approval of any service within that
- category. ICSTIS will give reasonable notice of such a requirement and the
- category of service to which it applies. Such approval may be withdrawn upon
- reasonable grounds and with notice in writing.
- 1.1.5 Where a service provider can demonstrate that any requirement of the Code can
- be adequately satisfied by alternative means, ICSTIS may give prior written
- approval for the service to be provided. Such approval may be withdrawn upon
- reasonable grounds and with notice in writing.
- 1.2.1 Services and promotional material must not contain anything which is in breach of
- the law, nor omit anything which the law requires. Furthermore, services and
- promotional material must not facilitate or encourage anything which is in any
- way unlawful.
- 1.3.1 Services and promotional material must not contain material indicating violence,
- sadism or cruelty, or be of a repulsive or horrible nature.
- 1.3.2 Services and promotional material must not be of a kind that are likely to:
- a. result in any unreasonable invasion of privacy;
- b. induce an unacceptable sense of fear or anxiety;
- c. encourage or incite any person to engage in dangerous practices or to use
- harmful substances, or
- d. induce or promote racial disharmony.
- 1.3.3 Services and promotional material must not be of a kind that are likely to:
- a. cause grave or widespread offence, or
- b. debase, degrade or demean.
- 1.3.4 Services and promotional material must not involve the use of foul language.
- 1.3.5 Service providers must use all reasonable endeavours to ensure that services and
- promotional material are not used to promote or facilitate prostitution.
- 1.3.6 A service must not be replaced on the same number by another service which
- might give offence to callers reasonably expecting the original service.
- 1.4.1 Services and promotional material must not be of a kind that are likely to mislead
- by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise.
- 1.4.2 Before promoting or providing services, the service provider must have readily
- available all documentary and other evidence necessary to substantiate any factual
- claims made. This material, together with a statement outlining its relevance,
- must be provided without delay if requested by ICSTIS.
- 1.4.3 No premium rate service may be promoted as being free.
- 1.4.4 No product or service may be promoted as being free, or described in a way that
- implies it is free (eg gift), if the most obvious or practical way of obtaining it is
- by using a premium rate service. This does not apply in cases where the service
- provider revenue does not exceed the delivery costs of the product and the
- promotional material states the maximum cost of the call.
- 1.4.5 Services and promotional material must not seek to take improper advantage of
- any characteristic or circumstance which may make consumers vulnerable.
- 1.4.6 A service must not be replaced on the same number by another service which
- is inappropriate for callers reasonably expecting the original service.
- 1.5.1 When registering with the Data Protection Registrar, all service providers must in
- their application:
- a. disclose ICSTIS as a potential data user, and
- b. state that the data may be used for regulatory purposes.
- 1.5.2 No undertaking given by service providers to callers, suppliers, information
- providers or others shall preclude any information being given to ICSTIS in
- 1.5.3 Services which involve the collection of personal information, such as names,
- addresses and telephone numbers (which includes the collection of calling line
- identity (CLI) or caller display information), must make clear to callers the
- purpose for which the information is required. The service must also identify the
- data user (if different from the service provider or information provider) and any
- different use to which the personal information might be put, and give the caller
- an opportunity to prevent such usage.
- 1.6 1 No services may be provided at a higher national premium rate without prior
- written approval from ICSTIS. Such approvals may also impose additional
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- 1.6.2 All services charged at a higher national premium rate must have a short
- introductory message clearly stating the cost of the call and, where appropriate,
- the likely duration and how the service operates. Instructions on how to bypass
- this message for future calls may be given at the end of this introductory message.
- 2.1.1 Services must not contain incorrect information and it should be clear to
- consumers when time-sensitive information was last updated.
- 2.1.2 Services must not be unreasonably prolonged or delayed.
- 2.1.3 No service shall enable a caller to receive a prize, reward or benefit, the value of
- which relates only or predominantly to the duration of the call.
- 2.1.4 Services which themselves promote products or services must also comply with
- the provisions of Part 3 of this Code.
- 2.1.5 Where a service promotes other products or services, and such promotion exceeds
- 15 seconds in duration, the advertised service must be provided before the
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- 2.1.6 Service providers must use all reasonable endeavours to ensure that all their
- services are of an adequate technical quality.
- 3.1.1 In the case of promotions that appear in editorial material, service providers must
- use all reasonable endeavours to ensure compliance with these provisions.
- 3.1.2 Service providers should take all reasonable steps to ensure that promotional
- material does not reach those for whom the service concerned may be
- 3.1.3 Promotions transmitted by radio, television1, teletext1, telephone, facsimile or any
- other form of communication must observe these provisions in the manner most
reasonable and appropriate to the technology employed.
- 3.1.4 Service providers must also comply with the provisions of the British Codes of
- Advertising and Sales Promotion which is supervised by the Advertising Standards
- 3.2.1 In all promotional material, the prefix number must be separate from the rest of
- the telephone number so that it can be readily identified as a premium rate or
- international prefix. In the case of international services, the country of origin
- must also be clearly stated.
- 3.2.2 For any promotion the identity and address of either the service provider or
- information provider, where not otherwise obvious, must be clearly stated. This
- should include at least the company name, street name and number or a PO Box
- number (PO Box numbers cannot be used in the case of employment services -
- see paragraph 4.6.3) and full postcode of the main place of business.
- 3.2.3 In the case of services which are promoted in publications or other media which
- have a long shelf life, a statement should be included in the promotion to the
- effect that the information given is correct as at the date of publication and that
- date should also be stated.
- 3.3.1 The service provider must ensure that the charge for calls to each service is
- clearly stated in all promotions. Prices must be noted in the form of a numerical
- price per minute, inclusive of VAT, or the total maximum cost to the consumer
- of the complete message or service.
- 3.3.2 In the case of promotions transmitted in television programme time, the pricing
- information must be spoken as well as being visually displayed if the maximum
- call cost can exceed £2.00.
- 3.3.3 Textual pricing information must be legible, prominent, horizontal and presented
- in a way that does not require close examination.
- 3.3.4 In cases where it is unlikely that a consumer will have seen or heard any
- promotion containing pricing information, the service provider must place a short
- distinct pricingmessage at the beginning of the service.
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- 3.3.5 Services which always cost less than 50p and are terminated by forced release are
- exempt from the above requirements concerning pricing information.
- 4.1.1 In this code:
- a. a child is someone under 18 years of age;
- b. a children's publication is either one where a significant proportion of the
- readership is under 18 years of age, or a publication which appears to be
- wholly or in part intended for persons under the age of 18;
- c. any promotional material contained within a children's publication is
- assumed to be aimed at children, and
- d. children's services are those which, either wholly or in part, are aimed at
- persons under 18 years of age.
- 4.1.2 No children's service may cost more than œ3.00 and all children's services must
- be terminated by forced release. All children's services that can cost more than
- 50p must be prefaced by a short statement clearly stressing that the service should
- only be used with the agreement of the person responsible for paying the
- telephone bill.
- 4.1.3 Promotional material for children's services must clearly state:
- a. the maximum possible cost of the service and
- b. that it should only be used with the agreement of the person responsible for
- paying the telephone bill.
- 4.1.4 Children's services, and any associated promotional material, should contain
- nothing which is likely to result in harm to children, or which exploits their
- credulity, lack of experience or sense of loyalty.
- 4.1.5 Services must not be of a kind that might involve an invasion of privacy of any
- 4.1.6 Direct appeals to buy must not be made to children unless the product or service
- is one likely to be of interest to them and one which they could reasonably be
- expectedto afford for themselves.
- 4.1.7 Children's services must not encourage children to ring other premium rate
- services or the same service again. Promotions must not encourage excessive use
- of premium rate services.
- 4.1.8 Children's services must not include anything that a reasonable parent would not
- wish their child to hear or learn about in this way.
- 4.2.1 Services in this sector fall into five basic categories:
- - lotteries;
- - competitions;
- - other games with prizes;
- - an entry mechanism into a draw, and
- - information about prizes.
- Most of these are subject to legal restrictions. Before embarking on any such
- scheme, service providers are strongly advised to seek expert advice on legal and
- excise duty implications.
- 4.2.2 All services specified in 4.2.1 above, that can last for more than ten minutes,
- must, at intervals of no more than five minutes, require an active confirmation
- that the caller wishes to continue the call. The method used to obtain this
- confirmation must have been approved by ICSTIS. Failure to provide the correct
- responses must, after the provision of any necessary claim information, cause the
- service to be terminated immediately by forced release.
- 4.2.3 Unnecessarily long or complex rules must be avoided, particularly in the case of
- services aimed at children.
- 4.2.4 Service providers must take special care to ensure that competitions which are
- aimed at children comply with the provisions of Section 4.1 above.
- 4.2.5 All competitions must have a closing date except those where there are instant
- prizewinners. An insufficiency of entries, or entries of insufficient quality, is not
- an acceptable basis for changing the closing date of a competition or withholding
- 4.2.6 Promotional material must clearly state any information which is likely to affect a
- decision to participate, in particular:
- a. any closing date;
- b. any significant terms and conditions including any restriction on the number
- of entries or prizes which may be won;
- c. an adequate description of prizes, including the number of major prizes;
- d. any significant age, geographical or other eligibility restrictions, and
- e. for services which do not force release within two minutes:
- i) the likely playing time or full cost of the call, and
- ii) details of how the competition operates and an indication of any tie-
- 4.2.7 The following additional information must also be made readily available to
- potential competitors. If not contained in the original promotional material, it must
- be available free to anyone sending a stamped self-addressed envelope.
- a. how and when prizewinners will be informed;
- b. how prizewinner information may be obtained;
- c. any criteria for judging entries;
- d. any alternative prize that is available;
- e. the details of any intended post-event publicity, and
- f. any supplementary rules which may apply.
- 4.2.8 The chance of winning a prize must not be exaggerated and there must be no
- suggestion that the winning of a prize is a certainty. Service providers must have
- readily available all documentary and other evidence necessary to substantiate any
- claims relating to the availability of prizes.
- 4.2.9 Words such as "win" and "prize" should not be used to describe any items which
- are offered to all participants.
- 4.2.10 Competitions which offer an alternative postal entry should not suggest that
- consumers must dial a premium rate number in order to participate. Furthermore,
- participants who choose to enter by post should have the same chance of winning
- as those entering by premium rate.
- 4.2.11 Prizewinners must receive their prizes within 28 days after the close of the
- competition unless a longer period is clearly announced in the promotional
- 4.2.12 When there is any element of subjective assessment in the selection of the
- winning entries (eg. tie-breakers) in a competition open to the general
- public, either the competition should be judged by a person independent of
- the service provider and any intermediaries involved, or a judging panel
- should be appointed including at least one independent member.
- 4.3.1 All advice services should be conveyed in a responsible manner.
- 4.3.2 Services giving medical, financial, legal or other similar professional advice, must
- indicate clearly in the promotional material or at the beginning of the service, the
- identity, the current status and any relevant professional qualifications and
- experience of the person(s) or organisation supplying the information or advice.
- If the advice is given by a person with no relevant qualifications, the service
- should explain the source of information.
- 4.3.3 Where advice needs individual interpretation, it must be prefaced with a statement
- that the caller should not act upon such advice without first consulting a suitably
- qualified practitioner.
- 4.3.4 To avoid being classified as a service of a sexual nature, advice services and
- promotional material for them, must not contain anything of a sexually suggestive
- or titillating nature.
- 4.4.1 This section relates to those marketing techniques which are used, usually on a
- temporary basis, to make goods and services more attractive to the consumer by
- providing some additional benefit whether in cash or in kind and in respect of
- which premium rate services are involved in any way.
- 4.4.2 The presentation of a promotion must be clear and no promotional material,
- whether by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise, should be
- of a kind that might mislead consumers as to the nature of the promotion.
- Particular care should be exercised when the recipient has no opportunity to
- examine goods before taking delivery.
- 4.4.3 Where a promotion may require participants to become involved in further
- publicityor in advertising, whether connected with the sales promotion or not,
- this must be made clear before the consumer is committed to participation.
- Written permission must be obtained from participants if their names and
- 4.4.4 Any factor likely to affect a consumer's decision to participate in a promotion
- must be made clear before the consumer is committed to any purchase upon
- which participation depends. These factors include:
- a. instructions on how to participate;
- b. the full cost and any conditions of participation;
- c. any closing date;
- d. any significant age, geographical or other eligibility restrictions, and
- e. any limits on the number or amount of promotional products on offer.
- 4.4.5 If an unexpectedly high level of demand might lead to an inability to supply
- consumers with the promised goods, contingency plans must be made to supply
- consumers with an alternative (either in cash or in kind) of equal or greater
- perceived value.
- 4.5.1 Promotional material for charitable promotions and for fundraising must make
- a. the identity of the beneficiary;
- b. the extent and nature of the benefit to be gained by the beneficiary, and
- c. any limitations on the extent of the contribution to be made to the
- beneficiary. There must be no limit to callers' contributions - should these
- contributions exceed projected levels, additional funds should be forwarded
- to the beneficiary according to the same criteria used for contributions below
- that level.
- 4.5.2 Substantiation of the benefit accruing to the beneficiary as a result of the
- promotion must be available on request.
- 4.6.1 Service providers wishing to provide employment services should seek advice
- from the Department of Employment. Section 6(1) of the Employment Agencies
- Act 1973 prohibits employment agencies and employment businesses from
- charging fees to persons for finding or seeking to find them work whether
- employed or self-employed, subject to certain exceptions. The service provider
- element of the premium rate charge amounts to a "fee" for this purpose. Any
- service which is found to be in breach of the law will breach the Code (see
- paragraph 1.2.1).
- 4.6.2 All services and promotions must correspond to genuine vacancies and/or
- opportunities, the existence of which must be fully substantiated on request.
- 4.6.3 All promotions must clearly state:
- a. the maximum total cost of the call;
- b. any additional expenditure, including any investments, that may be required
- over and above the cost of the telephone call;
- c. the type of work to be done and its geographical location;
- d. the number of workers required;
- e. the basis and level of remuneration and where known, the level of earnings
- that may realistically be expected, and
- f. the identity and full address of the service provider or information provider -
- a PO Box number is not sufficient, nor is a registered office.
- 4.6.4 All the information required by 4.6.3 above must also be provided within the first
- two minutes of the service itself, together with the principal terms of employment
- and the address and/or telephone number of the employer or business opportunity
- 4.6.5 All services must inform the caller of the cost of the call at intervals of no more
- than five minutes throughout the service.
- 4.6.6 No service or promotion whether by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration,
- omission or otherwise, should be likely to mislead a caller as to the conditions,
- necessary qualifications or availability or extent of any potential employment or
- business opportunity.
- 4.6.7 When, in any service or promotion covered by this section, claims relating to
- earnings are made, the evidence that such earnings are currently and regularly
- attained by existing employees or equivalent, should be readily available. In the
- absence of such evidence no claims as to earnings should be made.
- 4.7.1 In the context of this section, the "advertiser" is the person featured in the initial
- 4.7.2 The service provider is responsible for ensuring that any publicly available
- elements of services do not contain telephone numbers, addresses or any other
- means of direct contact.
- 4.7.3 The service provider must use all reasonable endeavours to ensure that nobody
- under the age of 18 uses these services.
- 4.7.4 The service provider must obtain and record from all advertisers their name, date of birth,
- and telephone number.
- 4.7.5 The advertisers' records (clearly linked to the reference number used in the
- message) must be retained, in confidence, for a minimum period of six months
- and must be made available to ICSTIS on request.
- 4.7.6 No individual's advertisement should appear unless the service provider has
- agreed with the advertiser where, when and for how long the advertisement will
- 4.7.7 All promotional material should make clear the location, sex and age range of
- advertisers on the service.
- 4.7.8 When individually advertised voice-mail boxes may not contain a recorded
- message from the advertiser, this should be made clear in the promotional
- 4.7.9 Where telephone numbers are to be given out to respondents, service providers
- should warn advertisers of the risks involved.
- 4.7.10 Where the advertiser has not collected responses for more than four weeks, access
- to the voice-mail box should be barred and the advertisement should be withdrawn
- forthwith. If the service provider is unable to tell when responses are collected,
- no advertisement should be published for more than four weeks.
- 4.7.11 When requested by the advertiser, the service provider must ensure that the
- relevant details are removed from the service at the earliest opportunity and in all
- cases within 24 hours.
- 4.7.12 All users should be given clear advice on sensible precautions to take when
- meeting people through dating services.
- 4.7.13 Dating services which can exceed 15 minutes in duration should inform the caller
- of the cost of the call at 15 minutes and at intervals of five minutes thereafter.
- 4.8.1 Services of a sexual nature are services of a sexually suggestive or titillating
- nature or services where the associated promotional material is of a sexually
- suggestive or titillating nature.
- 4.8.2 Services of a sexual nature, or promotions for them, must not contain references
- which suggest or imply the involvement of children.
- 4.8.3 Services of a sexual nature must not contain a visual component (for example,
- facsimile, video telephony, or pictorially based electronic mail).
- 4.8.4 Promotions for services of a sexual nature must not appear in generally available
- publications (other than "top shelf publications") or in any publication which is
- unsolicited. In the case of promotions in other media, paragraph 3.1.3 applies.
- 4.9.1 All interactive entertainment services which can last more than ten minutes must
- inform the caller of the cost of the call at intervals of no more than five minutes
- throughout the service.
- 4.10.1 Services and promotional material must not make claims about future selections
- being certain winners or about the certainty of profits.
- 4.10.2 Where opinions on particular selections are given in services or promotional
- material, it must be clear that they are opinions and not statements of fact. The
- use of quotation marks on their own is not sufficient.
- 4.10.3 Promotional material must not quote odds for future selections on the service
- unless the availability of these odds can be substantiated.
- 4.10.4 Claims about previous selections, including general statements about tipsters'
- track records, should only be made if the selections have been "proofed", either
- to a third party approved by ICSTIS, who will make such proofs available for
- verification by ICSTIS, or to ICSTIS for a fee.
- 4.10.5 Claims about past profits must be able to be substantiated. Aggregate profit
- figures may only be calculated using starting prices and the total stake on which
- the profit is based, must be stated.
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- 4.11.1 Service providers must use all reasonable endeavours to ensure that the
- information contained on bulletin boards and similar computer-based services
- complies with this Code.
- 5.1.1 ICSTIS will investigate all complaints which are received within one month of the
- time that the complainant first heard or saw the matter complained about. If there
- is any special reason why a complaint was not made within that time limit then
- ICSTIS should be informed of that reason and will consider whether the complaint
- should be investigated.
- 5.1.2 ICSTIS, through its Secretariat, monitors premium rate services and the
- Secretariat can itself initiate a complaint where there appears to be a breach of the
- 5.2.1 Normally when the Secretariat receives or initiates a complaint the "Standard
- Procedure" will be invoked:
- a. The service provider will be given all necessary information about the
- complaint including details of the service or promotional material which
- gives rise to the apparent breach of the Code, and will refer the service
- provider to the relevant provisions in the Code.
- b. The service provider will then be given a reasonable time in which to
- respond and to provide any information requested. In the absence of any
- special circumstances, this response will be required within five full working
- days. In special circumstances, a shorter time limit may be set - but this
- will be no less than 24 hours.
- c. If the service provider fails to respond within the required period then
- ICSTIS will proceed on the assumption that the service provider does not
- wish to respond.
- d. The Secretariat will prepare a report together with relevant supporting
- evidence which will be placed before ICSTIS for adjudication.
- 5.3.1 Where it appears to the Secretariat that a breach of the Code has taken place
- which is serious and requires urgent remedy, the "Emergency Procedure" will be
- a. The Secretariat will undertake an immediate investigation of the complaint.
- b. On completion, the Secretariat will notify its findings to three members of
- the Committee.
- c. If all three members agree that there appears to be a serious breach of the
- Code requiring urgent remedy, the Secretariat will then telephone the service
- provider and advise him that his service appears to be in breach of the Code,
- that the Emergency Procedure has been invoked and that unless the service
- is removed immediately, the network operator will be advised of the breach
- and requested to bar access to the relevant number(s) forthwith.
- d. If the Secretariat is unable to contact the service provider, ICSTIS will
- advise the network operator of the apparent breach of the Code and
- recommend that access to the relevant number(s) should be barred forthwith.
- e. Once the service has been removed, the service provider will be provided
- with all necessary information relating to the complaint and will be referred
- to the relevant provisions of the Code. The service provider will then be
- required to respond in writing within three working days.
- f. All relevant information will be laid before the Committee within 14 days
- from the date of the initial reference.
- g. The time limits set out in this section may be extended at the Committee's
- discretion if the Committee considers that their strict application might cause
- 5.4.1 During complaint investigations the Secretariat may request the service provider to
- disclose to ICSTIS, in confidence and within a reasonable time period, any
- additional relevant information or documents required for the completion of the
- investigation. This may include information about call volumes, patterns and
- revenues, details of the numbers allocated to an information provider, or details of
- services operating on particular premium rate numbers.
- 5.5.1 ICSTIS may, at its discretion, hear oral representations.
- 5.6.1 On the basis of the evidence presented, ICSTIS will decide whether there has
- been a breach of the Code. Each case will be considered and decided on its own
- 5.7.1 ICSTIS may, at its discretion, review adjudications in the light of new
- 5.7.2 ICSTIS may, at its discretion, review any sanction imposed following an
- adjudication. Following a request from the service provider, either the Chairman
- or three Committee members may decide to suspend the sanction imposed,
- pending a review by the Committee.
- 5.8.1 Once ICSTIS has adjudicated on the complaint in question, the Secretariat will put
- before the Committee the service provider's details - these will include a list of
- relevant breaches upheld and sanctions imposed and the numbers of lines and
- numbers allocated to the company.
- 5.8.2 ICSTIS has a range of sanctions which it will apply according to the degree of
- seriousness with which it regards the breach. Having taken all relevant
- circumstances into account ICSTIS may:
- a. require the service provider to remedy the breach, and/or
- b. require an assurance from the service provider, or any associated individual,
- relating to future behaviour in terms determined by ICSTIS, and/or
- c. require the service provider to submit certain or all categories of services
- and/or promotional material to ICSTIS for prior approval for a defined
- period, and/or
- d. recommend to the relevant network operator that access to some or all of the
- numbers allocated to the service provider should be barred for a defined
- period, and/or
- e. recommend to the relevant network operator that the service provider should
- be prohibited from providing a particular type or category of service for a
- defined period, and/or
- f. impose an appropriate fine on the service provider to be collected by
- ICSTIS. Non-payment of a fine will be considered to be a breach of the
- Code and may result in further sanctions being imposed, in addition to a
- recommendation to the relevant network operator to withhold and pass over
- to ICSTIS the sum(s) due from the service provider's outstanding payments,
- g. recommend to the relevant network operator that the service provider should
- no longer be permitted to provide any premium rate services for a defined
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- 5.9.1 All service providers found to be in breach of the Code may be invoiced for the
- administrative and legal costs of the work undertaken by ICSTIS. Non-payment
- will also be considered to be a breach of the Code and may result in further
- sanctions being imposed, in addition to a recommendation to the relevant network
- operator to withhold and pass over to ICSTIS the sum(s) due from the service
- provider's outstanding payments.
HOW TO COMPLAIN
* Complaints can be registered by dialling the free complaints line on 0800 500 212.
This operates during working hours. Alternatively, complainants may write to the
* As there are a large number of premium rate services and many service providers, it
is helpful if complainants provide as much detail about the service in question as
- 3rd Floor
- Alton House
- 177 High Holborn
- WC1V 7AA
* When the complaint relates to the content of the service, the complainant should
provide the Secretariat with the following:
* When the complaint relates to promotional material, the complainant should provide a
sample or, if one no longer exists, details of when and where the promotion was seen
- a. details of the name and telephone number of the service;
- b. the date and time at which the complainant dialled the service, and
- c. wherever possible, a copy of any relevant promotional material.
* Complaints which are received within one month after the complainant has first seen
or heard the promotion or service complained about will be investigated. If there is
any special reason why a complaint was not made within this time limit, then ICSTIS
should be informed so that it can consider whether the complaint should be
* All complaints received will be acknowledged and all complainants will be advised of
* The anonymity of all complainants will be preserved unless the Secretariat has express
permission to the contrary. However, ICSTIS may disclose whether the complaint
was made by a member of the public, the media, from within the industry or was
generated internally. Where appropriate, complainants will be given the name and
address of the relevant service provider to enable them to pursue complaints directly.
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