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ACMA directs premium SMS providers to comply
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has directed mobile premium
service providers AO Australia Online Pty Ltd (Australia Online) and Network Nine
Australia Pty Ltd (Nine) to comply with industry rules or face hefty penalties in the
Federal Court, after it found both companies breached the Mobile Premium
Services Code (the code).
The ACMA found that Nine breached the code by failing to advise of a helpline in
advertising two premium SMS competitions, Keno Million Dollar Comp and
The ACMAs research shows that premium SMS competitions are popular with
consumers, and the code requires that consumers be given information about who
to contact if they have questions about a service, said ACMA Chairman, Chris
Australia Online breached numerous provisions of the code, including failing to
advertise the correct price and failing to state that the service was a subscription
service. Providing clear and accurate information about the price, terms and
conditions of a service is fundamental to doing business, said Mr Chapman. The
ACMA will continue to pursue service providers who are not upfront with consumers
Complaints about premium SMS fell 90 per cent between September 2008 and
September 2010, due to the code and other regulations put in place by the ACMA.
While a direction to comply is the strongest action available to the ACMA in
response to a breach of the code, the ACMA may request the Federal Court to
impose penalties of up to $250,000 if a direction to comply is contravened.
From 3 November 2010, if a premium SMS provider does not comply with the code
and causes significant detriment to consumers as a result, the ACMA also will be
able to direct mobile phone companies to not charge consumers for the service in
The report of the ACMAs investigations and the formal directions to comply are
available from the ACMA website.
Information for consumers about mobile premium services is also available from the
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact: Donald
Robertson, Media Manager, on (02) 9334 7980, 0418 86 1766 or
ACMA Media Release
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The ACMA is Australias regulator for broadcasting, the internet, radiocommunications and
telecommunications. The ACMAs strategic intent is to make communications and media work in
Australias public interest. For more information: www.acma.gov.au.
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