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Television: Telephone Services

Volume 459: debated on Wednesday 2 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what her Department’s policy is on dealing with the recent television premium rate phone call incidents. (134579)

Responsibility for the regulation of these services rests with the independent regulators, Ofcom and ICSTIS. In response to recent concerns, ICSTIS has set out a range of actions aimed at restoring public trust in premium rate services. This includes the introduction of a licensing regime for all premium rate service providers operating participation TV services. In addition, Ofcom is now undertaking an inquiry into these services and will examine consumer protection issues. It will report to the Ofcom Board in early summer. In the meantime, Ofcom is investigating specific allegations. Where this exposes serious failures of compliance, or failures to protect the interests of consumers, Ofcom has the power to impose statutory sanctions and intends to use them.