ACCAN has submitted to the review of the Mobile Premium Services (MPS) Code, conducted by Communications Alliance. MPS deliver paid information and entertainment to your mobile using 19xx text messaging, which is then charged to your mobile phone bill. The MPS Code sets out industry rules and consumer safeguards for mobile service providers (for example, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone) and 19xx third party providers (for example, Oxygen8 Australia, Mobile Embrace).

ACCAN’s research, Third Party Charges: Consumer Experiences and Expectations, shows that stronger consumer safeguards for MPS and other third party services are needed. Current arrangements are not adequately protecting consumers from unsolicited third party charges, and poor industry practices.

Our submission welcomes changes to the MPS Code which allow for mobile providers to resolve MPS complaints, and other changes that align Code privacy obligations with the Privacy Act. However, we remain concerned that a significant proportion of third party services that are ‘direct carrier billed’ are not covered by the Code, and have recommended a range of additional safeguards including:

  • Re-introduction of industry MPS Code compliance monitoring and reporting
  • Broadening the MPS Code to cover all third party billing services
  • Setting spending caps for post-paid and pre-paid mobile services to zero
  • Introducing an overall opt-in arrangement for all third party billed services so that they need to be activated on request of the account holder, instead of the current opt-out default

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