AIME Acts on Premium Rate "Scamsters"
The Association for Interactive Media & Entertainment (AIME) has brought together the UKs leading mobile SMS aggregators (Terminating Providers) to fuse best practices, standards and guidelines which relate to the planning, deployment and management of premium rate mobile services.
AIME members, who are mobile Terminating Providers, and typically also Application Providers, have agreed a series of measures to reduce the incidence of Merchant Promoters (MP) who cause consumer harm by breaching the PhonepayPlus Code of Conduct and other regulations. The AIME members that commit to follow the Best Practice Guidelines have agreed to implement all steps and procedures contained in these guidelines.
12 Terminating Providers worked with AIME to develop the guidelines, and the first five to sign up are Zamano, mBlox, WIN Plc, 2ergo and Oxygen8.
The Industry wants consumers to trust premium rate services. This trust is being undermined by a small number of Merchant Promoters who flout the regulations, says AIME Vice Chairman, Jeremy Flynn. This Best Practice initiative is designed to assist mobile TPs avoid contracting with miscreant promoters. The industry working together can drive these scamsters out of the UK market.
The Guidelines cover a series of requirements to ensure that TPs:
- Carry out due diligence on the MP in the same way that the PhonepayPlus 11th Code requires network operators to do so on technical service providers
- Carry out proactive searches to determine whether the MP or its directors have been involved in previous breach activities
- Run passport checks for MPs based overseas to validate identity
- Run bank account checks
- Carry out on-going monitoring and documentation of services to ensure compliance
- Create a compliance culture throughout the TPs organisation, including sales team
- Provide PRS (Premium Rate Services) regulation training to all relevant parts of the organisation
- Suspend any out-payments to MPs as soon as a suspected breach is identified
- Commit to proactive and regular analysis of traffic reports
Declan Pettit, Managing Director of, Zamano, says:
As with most Terminating Providers in this industry, Zamano have had regulatory issues with Merchant Providers in the past. Taking a collective view on board about lessons learnt, Zamano are delighted to support AIMEs initiative to set a minimum acceptable standard for the way Merchant Providers promote and operate their mobile services. Not only does it provide a benchmark for Due Diligence, it will also encourage the industry to embrace Compliance as a fundamental element in both their culture and processes going forward."