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Clampdown on ring-tone scams

July 29, 2008 1:01 PM

Online companies providing ring-tones for mobile phones could face tough legal action from EU watchdogs if they do not change their tactics, according to a local Euro-MP.

Hundreds of consumer complaints prompted an EU-wide investigation into misleading practices by the European Commission. Half of the websites investigated did not state prices clearly or at all. Some 60% of sites investigated presented information 'in a misleading way' such as making contract information difficult to find, or locking unwitting customers into a contract without making this clear.

Speaking today, local Euro-MP Liz Lynne, Vice President of the European Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs Committee, who campaigned for the lower mobile roaming charges introduced last year, said:

"My hope is that this EU investigation will create a better, fairer industry in mobile phone products, which can't come soon enough. Websites selling, or supposedly offering free ring-tones, have got away with unfair practices for too long. Customers have often signed up for something they thought was free or low-cost, only to get a whopping bill through the post later.

"The fact that half the websites investigated deliberately targeted children makes these dodgy dealings even worse. These companies need to be told to quickly clean up their act or face the consequences. If they don't they will rightly be hit with fines or closure."