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Editors Blog – 09-03-15

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Hello and Happy Friday! Phonepay Plus (PPP) has come out fighting… while the vast majority of the industry was in Barcelona soaking up Mobile World Congress, PPP snuck out a post judicial review statement after weeks of silence [LINK TO https://www.telemediaonline.co.uk/dev/index.php/phonepayplus-response-to-ordanduu-and-optimus-judgment-ups-the-ante/] . In it the regulator stated that the JR was limited to only that case, lodged a limited appeal and then settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.

Of course PPP has the right to appeal and to do this, but the statement smacks of arrogance: “yeah we got caught out here but only for this bit and its business as usual”. As if to reiterate this last point, later in the week PPP published several adjudications – against Circle Marketing for not paying a fine and some other code breaches.

Again, PPP is quite within its right to do this but it all seems a bit too much like the case was done and dusted, caused a massive furore and had the industry wondering where all this went next. Instead, PPP has laid low, spent a load of the industries money on settling – and keeping the amount to itself – and decided to come out all guns blazing that this changes nothing.

There is a caveat in the press statement – incidentally ‘forwarded’ to telemedia by PPP rather than sent to us as part of its press list, I assume as an oversight – surely they wouldn’t be deliberately leaving us out now would they? – that says that the regulator is going to listen to input from the industry to “the necessary steps to learn lessons and to address the issues raised in the judgment”, but this only will apply to the letter of the JR which was about applying the emergency code and its context to EU law.

These are both big issues, but they also shut off any dialogue about the rest of the process. For instance, the settlement. This is money garnered from the industry and has been handed – to the tune of several million pounds we understand – to a company metaphorically in a locked briefcase in a dark alley. Such a lack of transparency is akin to the fog that, until uncovered by the JR, shrouded the emergency procedures procedure.

Secondly, the statement’s tone really is one of defiance and makes no mention of the fact that there is no cast iron reason why PPP’s code of practice need be the one adopted by the industry. Technically, if it can be agreed, then any code of practice can be implemented if all parties agree to it.

Thirdly there was a golden opportunity here for the industry and the regulator to re-imagine how the industry works and is policed. The industry is changing rapidly and this would have been a great chance to change things. Instead all I can see is that there are now some very angry people on both sides who think the other is more wrong than they were before. Let’s hope that the various meetings and consultations that we shall see over the coming months will yield a new and better world for the industry.

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