Communications Minister Eamon Ryan today presented to the Oireachtas a new law to halt malpractice by broadcasters in premium rate competitions.
At the report stage of the Communications Regulation (Premium Rate Services and Electronic Communications Infrastructure) Bill 2009, Minister Ryan outlined new provisions under the Bill to tackle broadcasters who scam the public through premium rate services they provide i.e. competitions such as Play TV.
Under the new law, TV3 for Play TV and RTÉ for competitions such as on the Late Late Show will come under the regulatory regime of ComReg. They will be obliged to have a licence to operate and must abide by the conditions of that licence.
Failure to comply will result in possible suspension or revocation of the licence and broadcasters can be fined up to €250,000.
Overcharging will be a separate offence and refunds will be allowed for under the legislation.
Speaking to the Seanad Minister Ryan said, “This Bill is tackling rogue operators who operate premium rate phone lines or text message services. I am pleased that the legislation will now apply to services that are broadcast on television as well.
This is a timely piece of legislation, which will protect consumers. Broadcasters must now be very careful in their operation of these services. The Government will not stand for its citizens being duped, defrauded or overcharged by corporate entities.”
The Bill, which is going through its final stages, is due to be signed into law in early February.