PHONECHARGES.ORG goes live
PhoneCharges.Org launches a free service to UK consumers to help them investigate unrecognised charges on their phone bills
From bus tickets to charity donations, competition entries to music streaming, the everyday services that can be paid for via your phone bill just keeps growing. No need to take your wallet out, no need for cash or credit card details, it’s safe, convenient and increasingly popular. Most UK adults – including older age groups – already use phone-paid services. As the industry grows and consumer uptake broadens even further, it’s so important that the right information is conveniently available; that spending is transparent and transactions are easy to interpret.
The charge-to-phone sector is like most industries; awash with jargon, acronyms and technical terminology. It might be useful to distinguish the nuanced differences between payment mechanics, but to a consumer it’s largely irrelevant and just plain confusing. If a charge appears on my phone bill, I just want to know what it’s for. If I don’t recognise it or want to dispute it, I want to understand how best to do that without getting sent from pillar to post.
A new, not-for-profit and free-to-use service launched this week called PhoneCharges.org and sets out to help. The website is the initiative of the Association of Interactive Media and Micropayments (AIMM) and is a collaboration with The Cute Group (Cute). It is the first iteration of a service that aims to deliver answers to questions about charges to a phone bill quickly, easily and in a consumer-friendly way.
Cute has long worked with brand and media owners, app developers, digital platforms and mobile-based services to support UK consumers navigate the maze that is the phone-billed services industry. Its mission is to enable users to get the most out of services they engage with, resolve queries quickly, collect and collate feedback to improve services over time and, where needed, to support legitimate complaints to a satisfactory conclusion.
Cute sees first-hand the potential for confusion, the challenges consumers face, the mis-information and suspicion that can arise and the circuitous routes people get sent on to find what should be simple to answer.
Cute has been a long-term advocate of effective solutions to support consumers and to alleviate frustrations with a mechanic which should be one of the simplest, safest and most convenient ways to pay for almost anything.
AIMM’s vision for PhoneCharges.org as a single, easy-to-locate source of information on phone-paid charges chimed with Cute’s own initiatives in the space. It was simply a no brainer for Cute to give whole-hearted support to the AIMM project. The launch version of PhoneCharges.org provides users with links to the relevant pages of their mobile networks’ website or to the Phone-paid Services Authority Number Checker so that they can find out quickly where any charges have come from. Additionally, it will provide easy-to-understand information about how phone-paid services work, why users may have charges on their bill and when a refund may be due. It will also provide topical news stories from within the industry which will help consumers understand the types of services that use charge-to-mobile billing.
PhoneCharges.org is funded by AIMM and its membership, and has been built free of charge by Cute, bringing their wealth of experience in handling customer queries in this area. Future evolutions of the site will develop on the tools and features available to help consumers get the most out of phone-billed services and find easy resolution to any issues that might arise.
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AIMM is the specialist trade association for the Interactive Media and Micropayments (Phone-paid) industries in the UK. We are a not for profit organisation, funded by our members. Our purpose is to create an environment of consumer confidence and trust within which phone-paid services can flourish, inside a framework of a strong code of ethics. AIMM is made up of members from all parts of the Interactive Media and Micropayments value chain, from network operators to technology or application providers, to broadcasters and content publishers, to value-added services providers and regulatory authorities. Members of AIMM work collaboratively to address key industry issues and to build a trusted environment for consumers to use phone-paid services with confidence.
About The Cute Group:
The Cute Group operates at the interface between brands and their customers, partnering with operators of apps, digital platforms, interactive, web and mobile-based services and delivering award-winning services to UK and international clients. We provide omni-channel support, creating safe and nurturing environments for our clients’ users to engage, interact, receive and exchange value. We have specialisms in multi-platform participatory digital entertainment, delivering and monetising services at the convergence of television, mobile telecoms and the web. We create, manage and support social media communities, building services around carefully moderated user generated content. We facilitate users to connect in an environment that is engaging and compliant for the consumer and the publisher alike. We are an independent, owner-managed business with a unique background and experience in our field.