Who: The Phone-Paid Services Authority (PSA), Ofcom, directory enquiry (DQ) providers.
Where: United Kingdom
When: 28 November 2018
Law stated as at: 30 January 2019
On 4 February 2019, two new conditions for the provision of DQ services were brought into effect. These conditions are that:
Where DQ services are promoted using interactive, voice response messages (or other such means) on numbers which Ofcom classifies as geographic, only number that are active or already being used for legitimate purposes other than promotions may be used.
Before onward connections are made by a DQ provider, the consumer must be clearly informed of the cost and be given a reasonable amount of time to decline the connection (whether by hanging up the call or otherwise).
These conditions were introduced because the PSA noted that, while there had been a significant decline in the use of DQ providers, there had been a simultaneous increase in both the cost per call and the number of complaints made by consumers that they had been misled by 118 numbers’ charges.
These conditions will be followed on 1 April 2019 by a cap on all calls to 118 numbers, after which date all calls to such numbers will be limited to £3.65 per 90 seconds. This change essentially brings price caps back down to 2012 levels.
Why this matters:
Businesses will need to ensure that, where their practices involve the use of interactive voice response messages, these practices are updated in order to comply with the two new conditions imposed by the PSA.
Businesses that offer DQ services will also need to ensure that they amend their pricing and billing systems in order to ensure that they do not overcharge consumers after the cost cap comes into effect.