ICSTIS

Summary List of Consultation Questions

The PRS Competition Sector

Question 1: Overall, the proportion of call revenue from PRS competitions which is paid out in prizes does not, in the view of ICSTIS, indicate serious manipulation or exploitation of consumers, though the proportion does vary from competition to competition. Should ICSTIS be concerned about the relationship between call revenue and value of prizes? If so, why?

Consultees are also requested to suggest ideas about how such a concern could be translated into practice. For example, requiring a minimum percentage payout of call revenue in prize money/value. ICSTIS foresees considerable practical problems with this approach but if consultees think this is an option which ICSTIS should consider comments are also welcome on how such a requirement could be enforced in practice.

Competition Formats and Questions

Question 2: Comments are invited on the fairness of different PRS competition formats. Comments are particularly sought on pre-drawn prize draws. Options open to ICSTIS to deal with any consumer detriment with these latter types of competition include: Question 3: Legal questions apart, is there any objection in principle to the use of two-stage random electronic selection of winners? If so, do consultees have any suggestions as to how the issue might be dealt with? If it were the case that only a proportion of correct answers formed the pool from which the draw was made (and accordingly some correct entries were discarded), would your answer differ?

Question 4: Some issues relating to fairness have been raised in Section 3 of the document and consultees' views are sought on these. Apart from these issues it seems that the management of competitions is, in the main, fair. Do consultees have any further issues or questions regarding the management of PRS competitions?

Complaints to ICSTIS and Other Regulators

Question 5: ICSTIS appears to be receiving the majority of complaints concerning PRS competitions. Do consultees agree with this comment? If not, could consultees suggest ways in which ICSTIS could reach more complainants?

Question 6: The level of complaints to ICSTIS about PRS competitions causes concern. This level is, however, partly a reflection of the popularity of PRS competitions and includes a high percentage of operating difficulties. The monitoring exercise carried out by ICSTIS indicates a good degree of compliance with the seventh edition of the ICSTIS Code of Practice. Do consultees agree with ICSTIS' assessment of the current situation as regards the ICSTIS Code and PRS competitions?

Consumer Attitudes and Issues

Question 7: The review has highlighted a number of issues concerning children and PRS competitions. There is considerable difficulty in defining what is and what is not a children's competition. In the light of this and taking into consideration the consumer research, consultees are asked to comment on the following: Question 8: The ICSTIS Code currently requires that all promotions for children's competitions state that the bill payers permission should be sought. Do consultees consider this sufficient? If not, could consultees suggest ways in which the effectiveness of the prior permission requirement can be boosted?

Question 9: Subject to the legal requirements set out in Section 7 of this report being met the level of skill in current PRS competition formats appears satisfactory from the point of view of entrants. Apart from the issues dealt with by Section 7 of this report ICSTIS intends to take no further action in this respect. Do consultees agree with this course of action? If not, why not?

Question 10: Consumer knowledge of the odds against winning PRS competitions appears to be low and of little interest to entrants. Should ICSTIS be concerned about the knowledge of the odds against winning? If yes, would it be desirable for consumers to be given information on the odds against winning? If so, how?

Question 11: The current exemption in the ICSTIS Code (Paragraph 3.3.5) which allows for no pricing information to be given for services which cost less than 50p and are terminated by forced release appears not to becausing problems in practice because service providers, in many cases, are voluntarily giving pricing information. However, comments are invited on whether ICSTIS should consider:

Summary of Legal Issues

Question 12: It is a breach of the ICSTIS Code of Practice to provide a PRS which is illegal. There is clear concern about the legality of some current competition formats, although it appears that there are various areas of the relevant law which are unclear. In view of the legal uncertainties, ICSTIS has operated a policy of referring competitions where legality is seriously an issue to the police. ICSTIS deals with breaches of its Code by a judicial type of process, but it is not a prosecuting authority or court of law. In the event that there are uncertainties in the law it is right that such matters should be dealt with through formal court processes. ICSTIS intends to continue its policy of referring PRS competitions where legality is seriously in issue, or raised as an issue by a complainant, to the proper authorities. ICSTIS is considering the possibility of acting itself under its Code in respect of the minority of services where ICSTIS considers the matter serious and is advised that there is no realistic doubt that the service is illegal. Do consultees agree with this course of action? If not, why not?
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