Television bosses have been warned following a ‘worrying upsurge’ in complaints about TV competitions and quiz shows.
Premium rate watchdog Icstis says that in 2006/07 a quarter of all its complaints concerned TV competitions and broadcast quiz shows – the most significant number relating to Big Brother.
The news comes just days after the record £150,000 fine imposed by Icstis on telephony service provider Eckoh UK Ltd for Richard and Judy’s You Say, We Pay competition.
Icstis Chairman Sir Alistair Graham said: ‘Viewers become consumers when they pay to participate in radio and television phone-in competitions, text voting and TV quizzes.
‘Those consumers then have specific rights and these were not respected by the industry. No one can doubt the seriousness of the issue that we, along with Ofcom, attach to this issue and our adjudications. There has been a worrying upsurge in complaints about TV phone-ins and competitions over the last year. Never again must viewers and consumers be treated like this. It will not be tolerated.’
During the past year Icstis also used its emergency powers nine times to shut down premium rate services.
It also barred two individuals from operating premium rate services for between 18-24 months.
Sir Alistair Graham added: ‘The public should be able to use premium rate services with absolute confidence and should never feel cheated.’
From October, Icstis will change its name to PhonePayPlus.
Its new website will be www.phonepayplus.org.uk and consumers can also call 0800 500 212 to seek consumer advice regarding premium rate services.