REPORT NO.55


ICSTIS PUBLISHES EIGHTH CODE OF PRACTICE

ICSTIS today publishes its new Code of Practice. The eighth edition of the Code, which comes into force on Monday 9 March 1998, has been published to address consumer concerns, premium rate market developments and changing practices within the UK premium rate telephone industry. The new Code will be easier for service providers to use and interpret, with a clearer layout and accompanying ‘best practice’ guidelines.

“The new Code maintains appropriate levels of protection for consumers while recognising that the industry is maturing,” says ICSTIS Chairman, Baroness (Brenda) Dean. “Most premium rate services operate without cause for concern and the Code will help to ensure that this good practice continues.”

The eighth Code has been produced following extensive consultation with service providers, network operators, consumer groups, industry regulators and other interested parties. Part of this process involved the ‘Code on the Road’ programme of workshops, which proved invaluable in gathering early input from the service provider community.

The new Code has also taken account of the findings which arose from ICSTIS’ in-depth reviews of competition and virtual chat services.

Key changes to the Code include:

Definition of a premium rate service
The definition of a premium rate service has been revised to make clear that ‘pay for product’ services, which enable callers to pay for a product or service via the telephone bill, fall within the Code.

The introduction of these services is a natural, and inevitable, progression in the development of the industry.

Children’s services
To reflect changing values and practices, the definition of a children’s service has been revised to apply to those which are aimed at persons under 16 years of age. However, the Code still prohibits the use of live, virtual chat, dating and adult services by those under the age of 18.

Competition services
Cash prizes will not be allowed in competitions aimed at children.

Virtual chat services
Cost warnings are to be given after each £10.00 that callers spend, together with a requirement to obtain confirmation from callers that they wish to continue with calls. In addition, virtual chat service providers will be required to do what they can to ensure that under-18s do not use services.

A provision requiring virtual chat service providers to pay reasonable and valid claims for compensation in respect of disputed calls to virtual chat services has been included in the new Code but will take effect, with prior notification, later in 1998.

Recorded adult services
As with virtual chat services, the new Code will require cost warnings to be given after each £10.00 that callers spend as well as an active confirmation from callers that they wish to continue with calls.

Introduction of guidelines
In response to industry requests, ‘best practice’ guidelines will be published to provide service providers with guidance on how the Committee is likely to interpret a particular Code provision, based on past experience.

Guidelines on matters such as the legality of competitions and the categories of service which require ICSTIS’ prior permission to operate will also benefit the industry.

Service provider contact details
Greater contact between the industry and its customers has been encouraged by giving service providers the option of including a telephone helpline number, either instead of or in addition to their address details, in promotional material. This will enable routine technical problems and minor complaints to be resolved more efficiently.

Informal procedures
The informal procedure is an integral part of ICSTIS’ flexible complaints handling procedure. In response to industry requests to know more about when the informal procedure is adopted, details of its use have been included.

For further information or a copy of the new ICSTIS Code of Practice, please contact the ICSTIS Secretariat on 0171 240 5511.


ICSTIS COMMISSIONS WIDE-RANGING PREMIUM RATE MARKET SURVEY

Every service provider should now have received a questionnaire from ICSTIS’ consultant, Stuart Sharrock, asking them various questions about their business and views on the UK premium rate industry.

The survey is completely confidential and no company-specific data will be disclosed to ICSTIS or any other party. The data collated from the questionnaires will only be used in an aggregated form to build an overall picture of the UK premium rate industry.

The more responses that are received the more likely it is that key industry trends and problems will be highlighted. This survey will, in part, inform the debate about the future of premium rate regulation.

ICSTIS appreciates that completing this questionnaire might involve substantial time and effort for service providers, but would like to encourage all service providers who may not yet have sent in their questionnaires to do so.

If you require a questionnaire or further information about the survey, please contact:

Stuart Sharrock
The Barn
Sugworth Lane
Radley
Abingdon OX14 2HX

Tel: 01865 326204.
Fax: 01865 327179
E-mail: stuart_sharrock@compuserve.com


EUROPEAN REGULATORS GROUP UPDATE

The sixth meeting of the European Regulators Group will be held in London on Thursday 7 May 1998 to coincide with the British presidency of the European Union.

The Group, which was formed in 1995, meets twice a year to discuss developments in the premium rate industries across Europe and to exchange information on the approaches taken to deal with issues of common concern.

For further information on the work of the European Regulators Group, please contact Kate Close or Natalie Cole at the ICSTIS Secretariat on 0171 240 5511.


REVISED ‘LIVE’ CODE AND NEW COMPENSATION SCHEME

ICSTIS has today published its new Live Conversation Services Code of Practice. The current funding of the ICSTIS Compensation Scheme (for compensation claims in respect of the unauthorised calling of live premium rate services) will change when the new ‘Live’ Code comes into effect on Monday 9 March 1998. The new Code will maintain consumer protection while making the cost of entry into the live services sector fairer.

The provision of live premium rate information and entertainment services is governed by conditions in network operator licences — the ‘controlled services’ conditions. These state that licensees may only provide such services where a code of practice recognised by the Director General of Telecommunications is in effect. The ICSTIS Live Conversation Services Code of Practice (the ‘Live Code’) is the recognised code for such services.

Any service provider wishing to operate any type of live service has to comply with the Live Code, which includes applying for permission to operate services. ICSTIS may impose additional conditions during this process, while live entertainment services (chat, tarot and adult) are also usually required to pay into the Live Conversation Services Compensation Fund and record all calls.

Service providers currently have to pay an initial contribution of £20,000 into this fund from which all payments for claims are made. Existing contributors have complained that this scheme is unfair in that service providers operating in accordance with the Live Code are, in effect, underwriting the bad practice of others in the industry. Many prospective entrants to the live entertainment services market have also argued that £20,000 is too high a barrier to entry.

Under the new Live Code, a general compensation fund will remain in existence, although new entrants will now make a reduced initial contribution of £7,500. However, it is anticipated that payments to claimants from this fund will be light. Service providers will also need to have a separate bond that will have to be used before any payment is made from the fund.

If a service provider does not pay the costs of a claim that is upheld, the bond will be automatically called upon to meet the claim and the service provider will have to cease operating live premium rate services.

All service providers will need to apply to ICSTIS for a bond level to be set and will have to enter into contracts with the independent trustees who manage the Fund. Bond levels will be calculated according to the type of service (chat services have given rise to more claims than tarot services), the history of awards against the service provider, their history of compliance with ICSTIS’ Codes and the size of their operation. More details about the bond-setting process is contained in the ICSTIS Guideline — Setting Live Entertainment Service Bond Levels, available free from the Secretariat.

For further information or a copy of the new ICSTIS Live Conversation Services Code of Practice, please contact Anthony Smith at the ICSTIS Secretariat on 0171 240 5511.


SEMINAR ON THE FUTURE OF PREMIUM RATE REGULATION

The ICSTIS Industry Committee (IIC) is arranging a one-day seminar for invited industry representatives to be held on Thursday 26 March 1998. The seminar is taking place to ensure that, in what is a rapidly changing market, premium rate services regulation remains relevant, applicable and effective.

The programme for the day is being developed by the IIC. The subjects for discussion will include:

- the Code, its nature and format
- ICSTIS’ Statement of Purpose
- complaints handling
- reporting
- monitoring
- permissions or approvals
- redress
- the funding formula for ICSTIS.

ICSTIS and the IIC warmly welcome your views and ideas on this matter. Please contact Anthony Smith at the ICSTIS Secretariat on 0171 240 5511.


How ICSTIS Handles Complaints

ICSTIS has a range of procedures for dealing with all the complaints it receives. In all cases, the complainant is kept informed of the progress of the investigation.

Informal Procedure

In cases where the breach appears to be minor and of little consumer harm, the Secretariat contacts the service provider by telephone and outlines the nature of the apparent breach. If the service provider agrees to amend the breach, no further action is taken.

Standard Procedure

The Secretariat writes to the service provider, outlining the apparent breach and setting a time limit for response. Once the response has been received or the time limit has expired, the case, including any comments from the service provider, is presented to the Committee for adjudication.

Emergency Procedure

When a service appears to be causing serious consumer harm, the Secretariat begins an immediate investigation which may result in the instant barring of access to the service. The case is presented to the Committee for formal adjudication within 14 days.

Sanctions

When a breach of the Code is upheld, the service provider has an immediate duty to amend the service or its promotional material so that it complies with the Code. The Committee considers all relevant factors when deciding whether to impose a sanction on a service provider found to be in breach of the Code, including the severity of the breach and the breach history of the service provider concerned. Sanctions available range from assurances about future behaviour to imposing a fine or recommending that access to all numbers operated by the service provider be barred.

Administrative Charge

Service providers found to be in breach of the Code may be charged to cover the cost of the investigation.


Cases of Substance

Service Provider
Brennan & McPherson, London

Service Type
Sexual advice

Complaint Source
Intra-industry

Complaint
A service provider complained that the promotional material for a sex advice service, run by Brennan & McPherson, was sexually suggestive because of the title, “The Sex Files”, the wording “Women interviewed in vivid detail” and the picture of the model used (4.8.4).

Investigation and Decision
Brennan & McPherson claimed that the promotional material for the advice service was not sexually suggestive. They explained that the title of the service was a pun on “The X-Files”, and claimed that the picture of a woman on the telephone was appropriate and that the wording used gave as much information as possible. However, they stated that they wanted to comply with the ICSTIS Code of Practice and would make any amendments that the Committee suggested.

The Committee upheld a breach of paragraph 4.8.4 of the Code of Practice. A sanction was not imposed because Brennan & McPherson did not appear to be aware of the Committee’s current policy on sexual advice services relating to the use of images in promotional material.


Service Provider
Comedy International Productions Ltd, London

Service Type
Interactive astrology

Complaint Source

Internet service provider, Manchester

Complaint
An interactive service, run by Comedy International Productions Ltd, allowing callers to dial in their year of birth for a personalised astrology prediction, was promoted on the Internet but did not contain the correct pricing information (3.3.1). The content of the service appeared to be delayed as it took over two minutes before it was possible to enter any digits relating to the caller’s year of birth (2.1.2). It also appeared to be misleading as it was not very clear to the caller when the reading had finished and new options had begun (1.4.1).

Investigation and Decision
Comedy International Productions Ltd explained that the incorrect pricing information in the promotional material was purely accidental and that the promotion was no longer operating. However, they claimed that callers were not misled as to when readings ended as this, they claimed, was clearly denoted by the phrase, “blessing from the most high spirit”. In addition, they did not think that the introduction to the service was delayed as a detailed explanation of how to use the service was given.

The Committee upheld breaches of paragraphs 3.3.1, 1.4.1 and 2.1.2 of the Code of Practice. A sanction was not imposed.


Service Provider
Crown Enterprises, Essex

Service Type
Live information

Complaint Source
ICSTIS

Complaint
A live service selling stockings and shoes, advertised in Exchange and Mart, appeared to be operating without permission (1.4). In addition, operators were not providing callers with call charge information at the beginning of the call (2.3).

Investigation and Decision
Crown Enterprises claimed that they had completed a Live Services Application form but their network operator could not locate it. They added that their network operator had not stressed the importance of this documentation to them.

The Committee upheld breaches of paragraphs 1.4 and 2.3. The service provider was given permission at a later stage to operate the service.


Service Provider
Hats UK, Ilford

Service Type
Employment

Complaint Source
Public, Surrey

Complaint
A member of the public complained that an advertisment for a recruitment service run by Hats UK did not provide enough information to callers. The advertisement did not provide callers with the maximum cost of the call, an indication of necessary additional expenditure, the location of the work, the level of likely earnings or the address details of the agency (4.6.3a,b,c,e,f). In addition, the content of the service did not provide callers with the maximum cost of the call or prospective level of earnings within two minutes (4.6.4).

Investigation and Decision
Hats UK replied that the promotional material in question was no longer running and added that their current promotion does give pricing information, the length of the call, the address of the agency and the fact that the work is in the London area.

They claimed that the message clearly stated that the work was situated in London and that people must be prepared to travel, although the exact locations were not given. However, they explained that it was impossible to know the exact location and type of work or earnings until a deal had been negotiated with a potential employer, as many factors contribute to this. They added that all applicants were telephoned personally and informed of details relevant to their application.

In addition, Hats UK stated that the purpose of the service was not so much to recruit clients for particular jobs but rather to explain the application procedure, as, in the past, much of their time was wasted answering continuous calls.

The Committee upheld paragraphs 4.6.3a,b,c,e,f and 4.6.4 of the Code of Practice. However, because of Hats UK’s actions in amending their promotional material, a sanction was not imposed.


Service Provider
Lucas Media
International Ltd, Staplehurst

Service Type
Live employment

Complaint Source
Public, Surrey

Complaint
A member of the public complained that a live information service about jobs in the media was not live at all the times stipulated in the promotional material (4.6.6). This stated that the service operated between 10.00am and 6.00pm. However, on calling the service, a recorded message was given, stating that the service operated between 10.00am and 4.00pm.

In addition, the promotional material did not include the maximum cost of the call or the level of likely earnings and the recorded message did not provide this same information in the first two minutes of the service (4.6.3a,e, 4.6.4).

Investigation and Decision
Lucas Media International Ltd apologised that the service had breached paragraphs 4.6.3a,e and 4.6.4 of the Code of Practice. They said that if they ran the same promotion again they would make sure that it complied with these particular provisions.

However, they disputed that the advertisement was misleading as the service was normally live and was only not when they were occasionally involved in the production of other work for the company. Furthermore, they claimed that the recorded message only said that the best time to ring was between 10.00am and 4.00pm.

The Committee upheld breaches of paragraphs 4.6.3a,e, 4.6.4 and 4.6.6. However, because of the service provider’s clear wish to comply with the Code of Practice, a sanction was not imposed.


Service Provider
M&J Enterprises, Melton Mowbray

Service Type
Live entertainment

Complaint Source
Public, London

Complaint
A member of the public complained that a live service, “Hot & Moist Panties & Photo”, was sexually titillating and should therefore not be advertised in The Sport, and that it was offered on an incorrect dialling code for an adult service (4.8.4, 1.1.3). In addition it appeared that the service provider did not have permission to operate a live service (1.4).

Investigation and Decision
M&J Enterprises apologised for any offence caused by the promotional material. They explained that they did not think that their promotional material was any different from other material found in The Sport and added that it was not their intention to provide a ‘sleazy’ service. They also explained that they were not informed by their network operator that they needed permission to operate a live service and claimed that they were given the line without being advised to contact ICSTIS.

The Committee upheld breaches of paragraphs 4.8.4 and 1.1.3 of the ICSTIS Code of Practice and paragraph 1.4 of the Live Conversation Services Code of Practice. The service provider was given permission at a later stage to operate an amended live ordering service.


Service Provider
Maxim,
Alton

Service Type
Fax-back jokeline

Complaint Source
ICSTIS
Public, nationwide

Complaint
In a previous case, the service provider, Maxim, were informed that a fax-back service of four pages should take no longer than five minutes to transmit. However, when the line was monitored it took over 15 minutes to send four pages (2.1.2).

Investigation and Decision
Maxim explained that they had not fully appreciated the requirement to keep the maximum duration at five minutes, although they felt that this was a difficult target to achieve. However, they acknowledged that they had received this requirement from ICSTIS in writing.

In order to comply with the requirement, Maxim changed the artwork on their service so that the same information could be included within the required five minute transmission time.

The Committee upheld a breach of paragraph 2.1.2 of the Code of Practice. In addition, a fine of £500 was imposed because of the repeat nature of the breach.


Service Provider
Midhurst Photographic Ltd, Midhurst

Service Type
Information

Complaint Source
Public 2, Basingstoke & South Glamorgan

Complaint
Two members of the public complained that the promotional material for a model agency service did not contain legible pricing information (3.3.3). The material promoted a £1.50/minute service which did not appear to have permission to operate and did not provide call charge information at the beginning of the service (1.6.1, 1.6.2).

Investigation and Decision
Midhurst Photographic Ltd did not provide a written response but responded by telephone. They explained that clear pricing information was given in the promotional material but claimed that ICSTIS must have received an unclear faxed copy. In their telephone call they added that they had been given permission to operate the service by Oftel, but did not provide any documentation to verify this.

The Committee did not uphold a breach of paragraph 3.3.3 of the Code of Practice but breaches of paragraphs 1.6.1 and 1.6.2 were upheld as neither ICSTIS or Oftel had any record of permission being given. The service was barred until Midhurst Photographic Ltd has gained formal permission to operate the service using the higher tariff.


Service Provider
Paul Cooper, Handsworth

Service Type
Live information

Complaint Source
Public, Cumbria

Complaint
A member of the public complained that he had received a fax from a company called Drake Seacraft, which gave a higher tariff number, without pricing or address information, as the only means of response (3.3.1, 3.2.2). Although, the service provider, Paul Cooper, had been given permission to operate a live financial advice service at the higher tariff, he had not been given permission to promote a higher tariff number in this way (1.4.1, 1.6.1). In addition, on calling the service, one minute of recorded music could be heard instead of the live financial advice service and the message at the start of the service did not include pricing information (2.1.2, 1.6.2).

Investigation and Decision
The service was taken off-line according to ICSTIS’s emergency procedure, but this decision was reversed when Paul Cooper replied that the promotional material was nothing to do with him and that he had not yet started operating the live service.

However, when the line was monitored two weeks later, a new service was found for which permission had not been given. This gave details of a ‘Lottery Winners Guide’ to be paid for through the cost of the call. As a result of this, the Committee revoked Paul Cooper’s permission to run a higher tariff service.


Service Provider
Planet Telecom, Bolton

Service Type
Fax-back voteline

Complaint Source
Public, nationwide


Complaint
Several members of the public complained that they had received an offensive junk fax concerning the Myra Hindley case (1.3.3). They complained that the broadcast fax, written in a sensationalist style, was an inappropriate promotion to be sent indiscriminately to a large number of people (3.1.2).

The fax suggested that the intention of the service was to poll public opinion about whether Myra Hindley should be released or not. This appeared to be misleading since the poll was self-selecting and therefore carried little statistical validity (1.4.1). In addition, the fax claimed that the service was only partly funded by its premium rate revenue and was not a profitable service. The service provider was asked to substantiate this claim (1.4.2).

Investigation and Decision
Planet Telecom disputed that the fax was gravely offensive and claimed that it was no worse than the coverage of the Myra Hindley case in the tabloid press. They added that the fax could not have given rise to widespread offence as only a handful of complaints arose from the 99,522 faxes that were sent out. In addition, as the Myra Hindley case was of great public interest, there was no evidence that the fax was inappropriate for the recipients.

Planet Telecom stated that the question of where the results of the opinion poll would be published was not an important matter and was not a requirement of the Code of Practice. They also provided evidence to show that they had received a relatively small response and that the service had therefore not been profitable.

The Committee did not uphold breaches of paragraphs 1.3.3, 1.4.1 and 1.4.2. The Committee upheld a breach of paragraph 3.1.2 because, even though the material was not of a kind likely to cause grave or widespread offence, many people would have found the material in very poor taste and it was therefore not appropriate to promote the service using a broadcast-fax mechanism. No sanction was imposed.


Service Provider
Premium Phone
Services Ltd, Brentford

Service Type
Sexual advice

Complaint Source
Intra-industryComplaint

Complaint
A service provider complained that a sexual advice service, advertised on an Internet UseNet newsgroup posting, connected callers to a separate adult recording and did not include the necessary pricing information (4.8.4, 3.3.1). It appeared that callers were only connected to the advertised advice service when dialling from a switchboard number, with all direct dialled calls routed automatically to the separate adult recording.

Investigation and Decision
Premium Phone Services Ltd explained that incorrect call routing had taken place as a result of a technical error made by the company responsible for their signalling system, General Telecom. In addition, Premium Phone Services Ltd stated that they were unaware of the requirement to include pricing information in all promotional material.

The Committee upheld breaches of paragraphs 4.8.4 and 3.3.1. A sanction was not imposed because the service provider had experienced technical difficulties and did not appear to be fully aware of the Code of Practice.


Service Provider
Redway In-Depth Marketing, Manchester

Service Type
Tarot

Complaint Source
Public, Isle of WightComplaint

Complaint
During the investigation of a claim on the Live Conversation Services Compensation Fund, ICSTIS requested a tape from Redway In-Depth Marketing. The tape was not provided (2.1.3c - Live Conversation Services Code of Practice).

Investigation and Decision
Redway In-Depth Marketing replied, through their solicitors, that they did not wish to provide the tape to ICSTIS as the conversations in question took place before a recent hearing between ICSTIS and themselves.

The Committee upheld a breach of paragraph 2.1.3c. In addition, a fine of £1,000 was imposed.


Service Provider
Sporting Voice, Rochdale

Service Type
Children’s competition

Complaint Source
Intra-industry
Public, nationwide

Complaint
Three members of the public and one service provider complained that a children’s competition service charged at 50p/minute was not forced released at six minutes (4.1.2). When callers gave incorrect answers the questions on the service were repeated until all the correct answers had been given.

Investigation and Decision
Sporting Voice stated that the service was meant to be limited to a duration of six minutes, but explained that this had not taken place for all calls because of a corrupted disc. They voluntarily withdrew all promotional material until the problem had been resolved.

The Committee upheld a breach of paragraph 4.1.2 of the Code of Practice. However, because of the service provider’s actions and the apparent technical problems encountered, a sanction was not imposed.


Service Provider
Sussex Eye, Burgess Hill

Service Type
Recorded message

Complaint Source
Public (4), Sussex

Complaint
Four members of the public complained that an advertisement in a shop window in Burgess Hill for a “Flat to let” did not contain pricing or address information (3.3.1, 3.2.2). The complainants claimed that the recorded message on the advertised number was delayed and one complainant said that the service was misleading as they were never contacted by the service provider after they had left their personal details (2.1.2, 1.4.1)

Investigation and Decision
Sussex Eye explained that the service was leased out to third parties. They stated that, prior to leasing the line, they inform their information providers of the requirement to include pricing information, although on this occasion the information provider had not taken their advice. However, Sussex Eye claimed that the message was not delayed as it only contained 77 words, not much more than the example wording given in the instruction booklet which accompanied their answerphone.

They added that they had no record of any messages being left by the complainant on the answerphone and claimed, therefore, that the service could not be misleading because making a response was not possible.

The Committee did not uphold breaches of paragraphs 2.1.2 and 1.4.1. However, advice has been provided to help the service provider prevent similar future complaints. Breaches of paragraphs 3.3.1 and 3.2.2 were upheld.


Service Provider
Telecom Potential Group plc, Bristol

Service Type
Competition

Complaint Source
Department of Trade and Industry

Complaint
Officials at the Department of Trade and Industry asked ICSTIS to look into the promotion of a competition where neither the length of the call nor the full cost of the call were given in the promotional material (4.2.6e,i). The content of the service also appeared to be delayed as details of the most commonly available prize were given only after more than four minutes of the service had elapsed (2.1.2).

Investigation and Decision
Telecom Potential Group plc explained that they had taken over responsibility for the lines in question from another service provider who had had the scripts checked when the service was initially set up. However, they agreed to amend the promotional material and rearrange the service so that details of the most commonly available prize would be given first.

The Committee did not make an adjudication on paragraph 2.1.2 as it is currently reviewing its policy on where the most commonly available and/or lowest value prizes should appear in the content of recordings. The Committee upheld a breach of paragraph 4.2.6e,i of the Code of Practice. No sanction was imposed because of the service provider’s actions in this case.


Apology

In Report 54 (page 14), ICSTIS published details of a case involving the service provider, Telecom Express, concerning a property fax-back service, operated by one of their information providers. At the time of publishing this case, a request for a review of the adjudication and sanction had been received and was under consideration. In the circumstances, the case should have been withdrawn from the Report, for which ICSTIS apologises.


Summary of Other Cases

Please see the table below for a summary of the 10 cases involving minor breaches of the Code which were adjudicated upon during October – December 1997.

 Service Provider  Relevant Paragraphs of the Code of Practice
 Sound Advertising, London  3.3.1 (no pricing information)
 Greenland Interative, London  3.3.1
Willers Mill Wildlife Park, Shepreth  3.3.1
CT Racing Communications Ltd, North Yorkshire  3.3.1, 3.2.2 (no address information)
 Finders Satellite Systems, London  3.3.1
 Symphony Telecom, St Albans  3.3.1, 3.2.2
 Greenland Interactive, London  3.3.1
 Victoria Telecom Ltd, London  3.3.1
 FT City Line, London  3.3.1
 Teledata Ltd, Glasgow  3.3.1

Informal Cases

In cases where a breach of the Code of Practice appears to be minor and of little consumer harm, ICSTIS adopts the informal procedure. The Secretariat contacts the service provider by telephone and outlines the nature of the apparent breach. If the service provider agrees to amend the breach, no further action is taken.

ICSTIS adopted the informal procedure in 54 cases during October – December 1997.


International audiotex services

The ICSTIS Code of Practice also applies to international audiotex services which can be accessed by callers in the UK.

Please see the table below for a summary of the 21 cases in this category which were investigated and adjudicated upon during October – December 1997.

 Service Provider  Advertising Medium  Relevant Paragraphs of the Code  Adjudication and Sanction
 Data, Manchester  Daily Sport  3.3.1, 4.8.4  12 week access bar
 Scan XXX, London  Daily Sport  1.4.1,3.3.1,4.8.4  16 week bar
 A1, Wallington  Daily Star  4.8.4  12 week bar
 GC, Hong Kong  Daily Sport  4.8.4  12 week bar
 Lace, Isle of Man  Stoke Advertiser  3.3.1, 4.8.4  12 week bar
 NA, Guildford  Daily Sport  4.8.4  12 week bar
 Scover, London  Daily Star  4.8.4  12 week bar
 Arlingham, Bahamas  Daily Star  4.8.4  12 week bar
 BAE Ltd, Cyprus  Exchange and Mart  2.1.2, 4.8.4  6 week bar
 Lace, Isle of Man  Daily Sport  4.8.4  12 week bar
 PW, Australia  Daily Sport  4.8.4  12 week bar
 Arlingham, Bahamas  Daily Sport/Daily Star  4.8.4  12 week bar
 Data, Manchester  Daily Sport  4.8.4  12 week bar
 Line, Manchester  Daily Sport  2.1.2, 2.1.6, 3.3.1, 4.8.4  12 week bar
 NA, Guildford  Daily Sport  3.3.1, 4.8.4  12 week bar
 Scan XXX, London  Daily Sport  3.3.1, 4.8.4  12 week bar
 TDL, Dublin  Daily Sport  3.3.1, 4.8.4  12 week bar
 ARL, Hong Kong  Daily Star  3.3.1, 4.8.4  No sanction was imposed due to the service provider's actions to rectify the situation
 VTK Ltd, Birmingham  Daily Star  1.4.1, 3.3.1, 3.3.3  12 week bar
 Scan XXX, London  Daily Sport  2.1.2, 3.2.1, 3.3.1, 4.8.4  16 week bar
 Line, Manchester  Daily Sport  4.8.4  12 week bar

Key

1.4.1 Misleading service/promotion
2.1.2 Unreasonable delay
2.1.6 Low technical quality
3.2.1 Split prefix
3.3.1 No pricing or incorrect pricing information
3.3.3 Illegible pricing information
4.8.4 Adult advertisement in generally available publication


Analysis October – December 1997

Complaints received Oct-Dec 1997: 1,378

Top 10 service types by complaint (Oct-Dec 1997):

 Fax  563
 Competition  409
 Information  90
 Virtual Chat  89
 Dating  27
 International  21
 Adult Entertainment  19
 Live  18
 Entertainment  16
 Betting Tipster  6

 

Top 5 substantive reasons for complaint (Oct-Dec 1997):

 Misleading  98
 No pricing information  52
 Unreasonable delay  50
 Inappropriate promotion  12
 Illegible pricing information  10

 

Sources of complaint (Oct-Dec 1997):

 Public  1321
 Monitoring  36
 Advertising Standards Authority  13
 Trading Standards  2
 Oftel  1
 Total  1373

Permissions and Enquiries (Oct-Dec 1997):

 Permissions granted  65
 Copy advice enquiries  44
 Total  109


Index of Topics Covered in Previous Issues

Activity Report 1995 April/May 1996
June 1996

Chairman - Brenda Dean April/May 1996

Code of Practice (revision) February 1997
April 1997

Committee membership March 1996

Competition services Oct/Nov 1995
June 1996
January 1997

Coopers & Lybrand Review September 1995
January 1996

Editorial promotion of PRS September 1995

European Telecoms Regulators March 1996

External Relations March 1996
June 1996

Fine for fax service March 1997

Future regulation of PRS October 1995

Higher tariff October 1995
Aug/Sept 1996
February 1996

ICSTIS' tenth anniversary December 1996
January 1997

ICSTIS Industry Committee June 1995
Oct/Nov 1995
February 1996
April/May 1996
June 1996
December 1996
January 1997
February 1997

ICSTIS' statement of purpose January 1996

IPPR survey September 1995

Joke lines April 1997

Live services transfer January 1997

Oftel - future regulation of PRS Sept 1995
December 1996

Premium rate numbering February 1997

Pricing information for
short duration calls February 1996

Tariffs Aug/Sept 1996

Telemillion verdict July/August 1995

Sex advice lines February 1996

Service provider details July/August 1995

Virtual chat services June 1995
April/May 1996