ICSTIS has fined a Swiss telco £50,000 for installing premium rate diallers for an Internet-based adult service onto the PCs of British members of the public, without their knowledge. DDD Com AG was also barred from offering premium rate services in the UK for six months and to offer redress to all complainants. Opera Telecom supplied the premium rate number used by DDD Com AG.
In its ruling, ICSTIS wrote:
Members of the public claimed that a premium rate dialler had downloaded automatically onto their PCs without their knowledge or consent, adding that, in some instances, it had set itself up as the default dialler. This resulted in every connection to the Internet being charged at a premium rate, despite the complainants believing that they were connecting through their usual Internet Service Provider
In addition, the complainants' telephone bills showed that the service failed to disconnect by forced release at the maximum £20.00 call cost as required....
DDD Com AG disputed that the dialler could set itself as a default or that it could dial up without the knowledge or consent of users. They claimed that calls did disconnect by forced release at £20.00 as required but were unable to explain why the complainants' telephone bills showed differently.
DDD Com AG operates in Switzerland, but is headquartered in Liechtenstein, presumably for tax reasons. ®
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