ICSTIS complaint regarding failure of Coulomb Ltd to comply with ICSTIS Directions

05 October 2005

Complainant: The Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services (“ICSTIS”)
Complaint against: Coulomb Limited (“Coulomb”)
Case opened: 7 June 2005
Case closed: 3 October 2005
Issue: ICSTIS, the premium rate services regulator, has alleged that Coulomb has failed to comply with Directions made by ICSTIS under its Code of Practice and that, as such, Coulomb is in breach of the condition made by Ofcom under Section 120 of the Communications Act 2003 (“the Act”) for the purpose of regulating the provision, content, promotion and marketing of premium rate services (“the PRS Condition”).
Relevant instrument: Section 120 of the Communications Act 2003

Ofcom conducted an investigation following a complaint by ICSTIS that Coulomb had failed to comply with Directions made by ICSTIS. ICSTIS had issued these directions in order to establish, among other things, whether premium rate services were being operated on the Coulomb network in contravention of the ICSTIS Code of Practice for the content, promotion and overall operation of premium rate services in the UK.

Ofcom’s investigation has found that Coulomb did not respond to all of the ICSTIS Directions within the deadline stipulated by ICSTIS. However, all of these Directions have subsequently been complied with. In addition, Ofcom has found no evidence of material consumer detriment as a result of the delay by Coulomb in responding to the ICSTIS Directions. For these reasons, Ofcom has closed its investigation.

However, in closing this case, Ofcom has reminded Coulomb that it is under a duty to comply with ICSTIS Directions for the purpose of regulating the provision, content, promotion and marketing of premium rate services, in accordance with the PRS Condition.

This investigation is one in a series of investigations into the alleged failure by communications providers to comply with Directions made by ICSTIS. Failure to comply with Directions made by ICSTIS constitutes a breach of the PRS Condition. Ofcom may exercise its enforcement powers under the Act where Ofcom has reasonable grounds for believing that a communications provider is contravening, or has contravened the PRS Condition. Any further failure by Coulomb to comply with Directions issued by ICSTIS will be in contravention of the PRS Condition, and Ofcom will consider exercising its enforcement powers under the Act regarding such a contravention.

Case Leader: Ruth Gibson ( Email:ruth.gibson@ofcom.org.uk)
Case Reference: CW/00839/05/05


Text published when the case was opened

ICSTIS complaint regarding failure of Coulomb Ltd to comply with ICSTIS Directions

Complainant: The Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services (“ICSTIS”)
Complaint against: Coulomb Limited (“Coulomb”)
Case opened: 7 June 2005
Issue: ICSTIS, the premium rate services regulator, has alleged that Coulomb has failed to comply with Directions made by ICSTIS under its Code of Practice and that, as such, Coulomb is in breach of the condition made by Ofcom under Section 120 of the Communications Act 2003 (“the Act”) for the purpose of regulating the provision, content, promotion and marketing of premium rate services (“the PRS Condition”).

Relevant instrument: Section 120 of the Communications Act 2003

Under the PRS Condition made by Ofcom under Section 120 of the Communications Act 2003, Ofcom requires that Communication Providers comply with Directions given by ICSTIS. ICSTIS is responsible for regulating the content, promotion and overall operation of premium rate services in the UK. ICSTIS does this through its Code of Practice (“the ICSTIS Code”).

ICSTIS issued Directions to Coulomb in respect of the service provider Saristar Limited on 22 April and 4 May 2005. These Directions were invoked under ICSTIS’s emergency procedure. ICSTIS alleges that Coulomb provided inadequate, incomplete or late responses to its Directions. ICSTIS submitted copies of correspondence between it and Coulomb as supporting evidence.

Given the supporting evidence submitted by ICSTIS in respect of its complaint, Ofcom considers it is appropriate for it to investigate these matters further.

Case Leader: Ruth Gibson ( Email:ruth.gibson@ofcom.org.uk)
Case Reference: CW/00839/05/05