Premium rate services, non-geographic calls, and personal numbers
Vodafone Code of Practice for Controlled Premium Rate Services and Number Translation Services for Domestic Customers
This Code of Practice contains information for Vodafone’s domestic customers relating to calls to premium rate services and number translation services.
1. Controlled Premium Rate Services
1.1 Identifying Controlled premium rate services
Controlled Premium rate service calls are calls to certain numbers which are typically prefixed by “090” or “091” or, in the case of mobile services, four or five-digit short access codes followed by a descriptive key word. Directory enquiry services beginning with “118” are also premium rate services. Premium rate services offer information and entertainment through a variety of media including phone, fax, Internet, mobile and TV. Services range from sports results, voting and adult entertainment to competitions, chat lines, horoscopes and business information services. Premium rate service calls are typically charged at a higher rate than standard calls.
1.2 How Controlled premium rate services work
Premium rate services are provided by service providers, who are responsible for the content, product or services provided or who act as resellers or aggregators on behalf of a number of such providers.
When you make a call to a controlled premium rate service number, Vodafone ensures that your call is passed to the telephony company which receives the call on behalf of the controlled premium rate service provider.
The revenue from the premium rate call is usually shared between the controlled premium rate service provider, Vodafone and the telephony company receiving the call, with the controlled premium rate service provider receiving the bulk of the revenues. The controlled premium rate service provider is also responsible for complying with most of the obligations imposed by the Phone-paid Services Authority code of practice (see paragraph 1.6 below). On request, Vodafone can usually provide details of the identity of a controlled premium rate service provider and the telephony company receiving the call on their behalf.
1.3 Charges for calling premium rate numbers
If you wish to find out the cost of calling a particular premium rate number please call Vodafone customer services on 191 from their Vodafone phone, or 03333 040 191.
1.3.1 Premium rate call bar service
If you have a Premium Rate Call Bar active on your telephone line this will restrict all outgoing calls to premium rate numbers starting 09, it will not restrict outgoing calls to numbers starting 118.
1.4 Telephone Preference Service and Fax Preference Services
The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is an opt-out register enabling people to register their wish not to receive unsolicited sales and marketing telephone calls. It is a legal requirement that companies do not make unsolicited sales and marketing calls to numbers registered on the TPS. You can register on the TPS free of charge by going to www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/number_type.html or by calling them on 0345 070 0707. The Fax Preference Service (FPS) is an equivalent register enabling people to register their wish not to receive unsolicited sales and marketing faxes. You can register on the FPS free of charge by going to www.fpsonline.org.uk/fps/ or calling them on 0345 070 0702.
1.5 Internet diallers
If you have a dial up Internet connection and try to access certain premium rate services such as sports highlights, film and music downloads or adult content, you may be asked to download a piece of software, know as a “dialler” which temporarily disconnects your dial up connection and re-connects to a premium rate number for the duration of the visit to the website. If you have broadband, the "dialler" may use your computer's dial-up modem to connect to the PRS number without disconnecting your broadband modem.
Many companies use diallers legally to bring in revenue from people who don't want to pay for services with their credit cards. Such companies will normally inform you of the premium rate call charges before you download the dialler.
However, in some cases, diallers can connect your computer to a premium rate number without your knowledge or consent. Such services are known as “rogue diallers”. Often the premium rate number used by a rogue dialler stays in your dialler, meaning that every time you connect to the Internet, the dialler will dial up the premium rate number.
You should therefore always be cautious about clicking on pop ups or links or accepting downloads, particularly if these appear unexpectedly. We also recommend you install the latest software and upgrades to protect your computer from rogue diallers. If you use a broadband connection, we recommend you leave your computer's dial-up modem unconnected from your telephone line.
1.6 Role of Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA)
Phone-paid Services Authority (previously known as PhonePayPLus), is the industry-funded regulatory body for all premium rate services.
The PSA regulates premium rate services in the UK through its Ofcom-approved Code of Practice, which contains the rules governing the content, promotion and overall operation of controlled premium rate services. It investigates complaints and has the power to impose sanctions if the Code of Practice is breached. The PSA’s service is free to consumers and fully independent.
The PSA website (https://psauthority.org.uk/) also provides a facility to help you identify individual premium rate service providers who provide premium rate services. The PSA's contact details are set out at paragraph 6 below.
1.7 How to complain to the PSA
Before submitting a complaint about a particular number, Phone-paid Services Authority recommends that you visit its number checking facility (https://psauthority.org.uk/forconsumers) for instant information about the number in question. If you are unable to access this facility, Vodafone can check the number(s) on your behalf.
There are a variety of ways to submit a complaint to the PSA:
if you have a hard copy of a promotion of the premium rate service you wish to complain about (e.g. a page from a magazine), you can make your complaint in writing, with a copy of the promotion, to: Contact Handling Team, Phone-paid Services Authority, 25th Floor, 40 Bank Street, London, E14 5NR
Online by completing an enquiry form, which can be found at https://psauthority.org.uk/for-consumers/ive-been-charged-what-next
by phone, on 0300 30 300 20, between the hours of 9.30am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays.
1.8 The PSA’s powers
If the PSA finds that its Code of Practice has been breached, the controlled premium rate service provider must immediately amend the service and/or its promotional material so that it complies with the Code.
In addition, the PSA may impose any one or more of the following sanctions on premium rate service providers:
issue a formal reprimand;
order the premium rate service provider to submit future promotions and services to the PSA for prior approval;
impose a fine;
bar access to services;
bar the individual(s) behind a company from running any other controlled premium rate services under any company name on any telephone network for a defined period. If it can be shown that your phone has been used without your permission to call a live (rather than pre-recorded) controlled premium rate service, Phone-paid Services Authority may be able to help you obtain compensation from the service provider. Other organisations which may be able to help you include Citizens Advice, Trading Standards and the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS) (see paragraph 1.9 below).
1.9 Role of the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS)
The Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS), of which Vodafone is a member, has the power to investigate complaints regarding calls to premium rate numbers appearing on your Vodafone bill. CISAS will only investigate such complaints if you have first complained to Vodafone and either:
your complaint remains unresolved 8 weeks after bringing such complaint; or
you have received a letter from Vodafone which says that we are no longer able to deal with your complaint (a "deadlock letter"). You may bring the complaint to CISAS within six months of receiving this letter. If, following an investigation, CISAS finds that Vodafone is at fault, CISAS may require Vodafone to take action to rectify the situation. CISAS may, for example, ask Vodafone to offer you:
a product, service or some practical action that will benefit you;
an apology or explanation;
up to £5000 including VAT. Vodafone will of course abide by any decision of CISAS. CISAS’s contact details are set out at paragraph 6 below.
2. Number Translation Services
2.1 Identifying number translation services
Number translation service calls are calls to certain numbers identified in the National Telephone Numbering Plan as “special service” numbers. Such numbers are typically prefixed by “08”, such as 0845 and 0870, and legacy 0500 Freephone numbers.
2.2 Tariffs for calls to number translation services
Our charges for certain number translation service calls can be found on our website (www.vodafone.co.uk/help-and-information/costs-and-charges/charge-checker-uk).
3. Contact us
If you have any queries or concerns about premium rate or number translation services or if you would like to discuss any charges for premium rate or number translation services found on your bill, please call Vodafone customer services on 191 from your Vodafone phone, or 03333 040 191.
4. Availability of this Code of Practice
This Code of Practice is available free of charge on our website. Alternatively, please call Vodafone customer services on 191 free from Vodafone mobile, or 03333 040 191 from other UK landlines to request or mobiles (standard call charges apply).
5. Responsibility for complying with this code
Sara Savoia is responsible for ensuring that Vodafone complies with this Code of Practice. If you have any questions about our compliance with this Code please contact:
Senior Regulatory Manager
6. Contact Details for Phone-Paid Services Authority and CISAS
6.1 Phone-Paid Services Authority
Contact Handling Team
Phone-Paid Services Authority
40 Bank Street
Tel: 0300 30 300 20
Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution
70 Fleet Street
Telephone: 020 7520 3827
Textphone: 020 7520 3767
Fax: 0845 1308 117