Premium rate phone and text services
What are premium rate services?
Premium rate phone services (sometimes called Information Services) have a unique ‘15’ prefix, for example, 1530 or 1515.
Premium rate means the numbers cost more to call or text than other numbers.
Examples of premium rate phone services include:
- TV voting
- Charity donations
- Quizzes and competitions
- Advice and entertainment services
- Ringtones and wallpapers
There are also premium rate SMS services (known as PSMS) and these have a 5-digit Short Code beginning with the number 5.
Premium rate phone services in Ireland are regulated by ComReg (Commission for Communications Regulation).
A non-geographic number (NGN) is a phone number that is not linked to a specific geographic region or ‘area code’. An NGN is any phone number beginning with 1800 and 0818.
NGNs are not premium rate phone services. Calls to 1800 numbers are free, and calls to 0818 numbers cost the same as calling a landline number.
Cost of premium rate services
You can pay for premium rate phone services using your phone credit or phone bill.
Calls to premium rate services cost more than ordinary phone calls and each prefix has a specific call cost. Call charges from mobile phones are generally higher and the cost varies according to your mobile network operator.
Premium rate call charges will be on your phone bill and are generally listed separately.
Block and unsubscribe from a service
Unsubscribing from a phone service
You can block premium rate services from your phone by contacting your phone service provider.
Some phone service providers provide this service for free.
Unsubscribing from a text service
If you want to unsubscribe from a premium rate SMS Service you should:
- Reply by text to the last message you received on your mobile
- Send the word STOP
If you don't have a 5-digit number to send it to, ask your mobile phone network operator for the number attached to the last message you received. You should be unsubscribed within 48 hours of texting the word STOP.
Rules for premium rate services
Premium rate service providers are regulated by ComReg. They must have authorisation and comply with laws on personal data and advertising of services.
Authorisation to provide services
Premium rate services must be authorised by ComReg. Network operators must not issue a Premium Rate Number or a SMS Short Code until they get the ComReg letter of authorisation.
If a service is aimed at adults and not children, it must have an age warning. This applies to competitions, all chat or dating services, ringtones and logos, games and all subscription services.
For some services, you must get a price warning when you spend a certain amount.
Service providers must provide a helpline to handle consumer queries and complaints. This helpline must operate during normal office hours.
Service Providers must collect, process, keep, use and dispose of your personal data in line with rules set out in the Data Protection Act.
Services that collect your personal information must tell you why they need this information. Personal information covers your name, address, and phone number (including calling line identification
Services that collect your personal information must tell you why they need this information. Personal information covers your name, address, and phone number (including calling line identification or caller display information). You must be told if your information is used for any other reason and given the option to stop this.
Advertising of premium rate services
Advertisements for premium rate phone services on TV, print media and radio and online must meet standards to protect consumers.
- A premium rate service can’t be promoted as being "free"
- A product or service can’t be described as "free" if you can only get it by using a premium rate service
How to complain
If you have a complaint, first contact the premium rate service provider to give them a chance to fix the problem.
If you are not satisfied with the response, you can make a complaint to ComReg. You must make the complaint within 9 months of using the service. ComReg has discretion to accept complaints made outside this timeframe.
ComReg does not deal with disputes about the call cost of a premium rate service. You must get in touch directly with the service provider to make your complaint.