Phone subscription firm Veoo fined £600,000
A firm that facilitated a phone subscription scam has received a record £600,000 fine from a UK watchdog.
Veoo provided billing and messaging platforms to firms which were signing people up to subscription services without their knowledge.
Eight companies that had contracts with Veoo had previously been sanctioned.
Regulator Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) has been investigating the scam since 2017.
The firms involved charged unwitting consumers between £2.50 and £4.50 a week for subscriptions to a range of services, including games, videos and adult content.
Consumers reported having no knowledge of signing up to them but they will have received a text message which read something along the lines of: "FreeMsg: U have subscribed to Comp House competition for £4.50 per month until you send stop to 82225".
Most people assumed the message was spam and ignored it.
The firms claimed that they had either "pushed a key" on a computer or phone in an online competition or in response to the phone message in order to sign themselves up for the services.
The PSA received more than 800 complaints about the services and they were all fined for charging consumers without consent.
Veoo generated more than £335,000 from facilitating the operation of these services.
Joanne Prowse, chief executive of the PSA, said: "This is a significant case which sets an important precedent for the market and advances the consumer interest.
"Our tribunal found clear evidence that Veoo knowingly failed in its due diligence, risk assessment and control procedures, which enabled consumer harm to take place, and that it provided the regulator with false information.
"The message is clear: do business responsibly and don't seek to mislead the regulator or face significant sanctions."