Mobile industry fights TV-text rip-offs

Guidelines sought to protect consumers from TV text rip-offs

Protecting consumers from rip-offs by TV quiz competitions and text votes is the impetus behind a new initiative from the mobile industry.

Aimed at beefing up customer protection from scams and shady practices recently uncovered in the UK, the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF) will shortly publish a framework setting out how "participation-TV" should operate. It is designed to give consumers complete confidence that they won't get ripped off when using their mobile to vote by text. The MEF guidelines will complement the existing Code of Practice from ICSTIS , the UK's premium rate services regulator .

"These services are massively popular among the public and have become an integral part of many hugely successful programmes. It is up to the industry to self-regulate and put in place practical protocols to ensure that consumers have confidence in using Participation TV services." Suhail Bhat, MEF's Policy and Initiative's Director commented.

The MEF is currently engaging with key players in the mobile industry and in TV production to agree workable guidelines. Over thirty interested parties - including representatives of all UK mobile operators and a number of major TV production companies - attended a meeting yesterday chaired by the MEF to discuss the best way for operating participation-TV services.