Phone firm fined £250k over GMTV scandal

  • 25 September 2007

The phone company responsible for the fraudulent phone-in competitions on GMTV, which saw 18 million people charged for calls when they had no chance of winning, has been fined a record £250,000.

Opera Telecom was charged with the maximum penalty after regulator Icstis described the service as “the worst case which Icstis had come across in terms of the numbers of consumers affected and the amount of money at stake”.

It was discovered that the revenue generated by callers had topped the £20 million mark.

The company has also been banned from holding phone competitions for three months and ordered to pay a refund to viewers who lodged complaints.

Icstis chief executive George Kidd said: “Today’s adjudication sends a clear message to any company offering phone-paid services: your absolute responsibility is to the public who use your services.

“Cutting corners for the sake of convenience or to boost revenues is simply unacceptable and has serious consequences.”

The scandal in July prompted GMTV’s managing director Paul Corley to offer his resignation – he is leaving the broadcaster at the end of the week.

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