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October 07, 2009

Fitzpatrick welcomes crackdown on text and phone scams

Rogue text and premium phone lines which operate scams targeting older people, young people and other vulnerable people in Kildare are facing a crackdown, according to local Fianna Fáil TD, Michael Fitzpatrick.

“New laws which are now making their way through the Dáil will require anyone who operates a premium rate text or phone service to have a licence, while those who break the rules will face fines of €250,000.”
“In recent years there has been a large increase in the number of premium rate phone services. Many provide a valuable service but some rogue operators target people with scams that can leave users with phone bills running into hundreds of euro.”
“What is particularly disturbing is the numbers of older people and children who have run up bills without realising the true cost of the services they use only it is too late.”
“Under the new laws which will be debated in the Dail it will be an offence to overcharge for a service, there will be a new code of practice and new tougher fines.”
“The code should ensure that all costs are up-front and clearly visible to the public before they pick up the phone. It is important that under the new code of practice that call and text services which involve a repeat subscription rather than a once off cost state this up-front in any advertising.”
“The new laws will not only protect consumers of all ages but also the industry, which has been damaged by the level of complaints made by those only out to make quick money rather than provide a service”, concluded Deputy Fitzpatrick.