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Regulator of Expensive Premium Rate Phone Lines

You know those expensive Premium Rate phone numbers which are charged at £1/minute, £1.50/minute, etc? Numbers starting with 0905 or 0906 ? There are rules which govern how they are allowed to be used, and the governing body for this is ICSTIS.

Premium Rate phone numbers have to be properly described and the rates clearly shown, so if you see an 090 number being mis-advertised, you can put a complaint in and ICSTIS will be keen to hear from you!

Crime and detection in the Premium Rate phone business is relatively easy as ICSTIS already know the phone number of the culprits and can easily chase them up.

If you'd like to contact ICSTIS, here's the details:

ICSTIS www.icstis.org.uk , telephone UK freefone 0800 500 212

So, if you see bad advertising of 090 numbers, put a complaint in!

ICSTIS are overworked and understaffed, but will be keen as mustard to punish a company for misleading advertising of a premium rate number.

The punishments have a certain style! If a company is found guilty of swindling people using a Premium Rate phone scam, they are fined (typically £7,500), and (in a manner similar to the RSPCA punishing people who mistreat animals), they are banned from owning any Premium Rate phones for so-many years! But most satisfying, and a refreshing change from the data protection nonsense and culture of secrecy, the culprits are publically humiliated by having their names and contact details published for all to see!

I think that expensive 0870 phone numbers should also be included in the remit of ICSTIS, and should have to say "calls cost 10p/minute", not "national rate" which actually refers to a theoretical oldfashioned national rate from years ago.

Other references: The phone page, which also tells you how you can bar outgoing premium rate calls from your own home phone. Also see the PDS Parcel Delivery Service warning, which also warns of supposed "prizes". Also beware of fake radio stations, time-critical situations, and 0905 or 0906 very expensive premium rate numbers dropped into shpiel without proper cost warnings.

To contact ICSTIS, visit www.icstis.org.uk or phone UK freefone 0800 500 212 *

ICSTIS = Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of the Telephone Information Services

It's now called PhonepayPlus, and the website is now www.phonepayplus.org.uk

* Calls are charged at 0.0 pence per minute from a standard UK landline telephone!