ComReg unveils website to combat premium rate fraud

12 Jan 201143 Views

Ireland’s telecoms regulator ComReg has published a new website, Phonesmart.ie, to better equip consumers in avoiding big bills that result from premium-rate phone services.

Premium-rate services (PRS) are goods and services you can buy by charging the cost to your mobile phone or landline.

Phonesmart.ie has been set up to explain the types of goods and services, and the costs involved in using them, so that if consumers decide to sign up for one of the services, they know what to expect. Premium-rate services include ringtones, sports alerts, TV voting, weather forecasts and competitions.

Features of the new website include a number checker, whereby consumers can check the origin of a five-digit short code, thus enabling them to contact the service provider directly with their query.

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“ComReg‘s vision is that consumers of premium rate services (PRS) will be as confident and safe in using PRS as in engaging with best practice retail services,” said ComReg commissioner Mike Byrne.

Plain speaking

“This new, consumer-focused website explains, in plain language, what premium-rate services are, the costs involved in using them and, if a consumer decides to sign up, what to expect.

“ComReg considers that, with consumer confidence in place, industry and consumers will benefit as new and innovative services are developed and made available,” Byrne said.

“Protecting and informing consumers is one of the cornerstones of ComReg’s legislative mandate. We believe that www.phonesmart.ie will complement and enhance the range of consumer information available through our other award-winning consumer websites – www.askcomreg.ie and www.callcosts.ie.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years

editorial@siliconrepublic.com