The only thing that’s ‘premium’ about many so-called mobile services is the monthly hit they inflict on your phone bill for something basic like a ringtone or game. So we’re pleased to see the Federal Court upholding a $375,000 fine against two premium service providers for misleading advertising, even though some of the advertising involved Justin Bieber.
Global One Mobile Entertainment Ltd and 6G Pty Ltd both received fines for TV advertising that suggested services would attract one-off costs when they in fact involved ongoing charges. Those services included Space Invaders and Doodle Jump games, as well as a Justin Bieber ringtone. The original penalty was imposed in June 2011, but the two companies appealed the decision. That appeal was rejected by the Federal Court.
Rules for advertising premium mobile services changed in June, requiring prominent use of the word ‘subscribe’ if recurring payments are involved. That’s a welcome improvement, but our advice is unchanged: don’t go anywhere near them.