Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.


Premium-rate Services is a term used to describe services that offer some form of content, product or service that is charged via users’ telephone payment arrangement. Typical examples include mobile ringtones and logos, horoscopes, chatlines, adult material and competition and prize draw lines. PRS are usually advertised on 09 dialling codes and SMS Short codes. They also include 0870, 0871, 0872 and 0873 numbers.

The CAP Code states:

II The Code does not apply to:

b the contents of premium rate services, which are the responsibility of the PhonepayPlus; marketing communications that promote those services are subject to PhonepayPlus regulation and to the CAP Code.

Marketers should therefore check in the first instance whether the content of their services complies with the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice (available on www.phonepayplus.org.uk/). The PhonepayPlus Code regulates the promotion of those services – it overlaps with the CAP Code – and advertisements should comply with both Codes.

Aspects of advertisements dealing with pricing information are outlined more explicitly in the PhonepayPlus Code than in the CAP Code (the latter merely requires ads not to mislead). We therefore advise marketers to refer to the PhonepayPlus Code, and its strict guidelines on the way in which pricing information is conveyed, when preparing marketing communications for premium-rate telephone services.

They should of course bear in mind that all non-broadcast advertisements are subject to the requirements of the CAP Code: advertisements for premium-rate services that are potentially misleading, offensive, socially irresponsible or harmful to children may be investigated by the ASA independently of PhonepayPlus.

Marketers should also be aware that PhonepayPlus regulates directory enquiry services (118 numbers) and that PhonepayPlus, unlike the ASA, has the power to issue fines.

See “Premium-rate Services: General”.


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