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PSA issues Special Conditions for online competitions and online adult, but fails to tackle the main problem warns AIME

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Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) – formerly PPP – has today issued the Special Conditions for Online Competition Services and Online Adult Services.

The Special Conditions require that the payment part of the transaction is separated from the product part to provide a distinction between the two for the consumer and that a double opt-in is achieved through a PIN flow or user controlled MO flow to confirm the payment.

For online adult services, the Special Conditions additionally require that  an age verification check is performed against the mobile operators database.

The changes to services are required to be in place by January 4th 2017 and have been made in response to market issues and findings from independent research into consumer journeys. As a result, PSA proposed additional regulatory requirements in the form of Special conditions for these services.

Key aspects of the finalised requirements on providers of these services include:

  • A clearer, single point of purchase, separate from service interaction
  • Clear identification of the brand of the service offered to and used by the consumer
  • Consent to be charged to be obtained in one of three ways:
  1. use of a secure PIN loop system
  2. use of a password system, or
  3. Use of secure, consumer controlled, mobile originating short message service system
  • Receipts to be sent each time a consumer incurs a charge
  • Retention of current Code requirements for consumer opt-out processes – PSA will be engaging further on his area to assess systems and possible alternatives.

“We expect providers who operate services to which these Special conditions apply to make any necessary changes in time for the implementation date,” says the regulator.

But industry body AIME has reacted with muted dismay. Although AIME worked extensively with PSA on improving the Special  Condition requirements from their original draft, the trade body had been expecting to see improvements to the STOP facility for consumers in subscription services and a more robustly worded  requirement for the consumer’s confirmation of the charge in the second stage of the two stage payment flow.

“We are asking PSA why they missed these opportunities,” says an AIME spokesperson.

“AIME believes that consumer complaints to PSA and MNOs are mainly due to the consumers lack of recall of agreeing to charges against their mobile account,” the spokesperson contiunues. “These complaints form the foundation of actions made by the MNOs that can affect the whole industry and detract from both developing Charge to Mobile opportunities and evolving principles based payment flows. We are expecting services with higher risk profiles but with legitimate consumer demand to be able to operate in a stable and level environment with these new Special Conditions.”

The Special Conditions can be found on PSA web site here.

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