Three Customer Care procedures for Payforit 2012 as provided to Ofcom
All billing for services charged through the Payforit scheme, which utilises the “direct billing” capability of the network, carries a billing description that details for the customer;
• What was purchased
• The Merchant name
• The Amount charged
• The Contact telephone number of Merchant
This information is available to both customers and to Three’s Customer Support.
It is Three’s intention that customers who have used Premium rate shortcode and Payforit charged services are able to discuss the issue that they may have directly with the Merchant, Promoter or the agent of the Merchant in order to gain first call resolution where possible.
Three places a considerable amount of emphasis on ensuring that the information available to its customers using these services is comprehensive and widely available and that the Merchant is providing the correct level of support.
Customers are able to use My3 on their handset and on the web to navigate their account and view bills. My3 on the handset, provides a summary of Payforit charges (Payforit is listed as a separate line item). Web based My3 provides a detailed breakdown of the charges including the billing text containing the detail as discussed above.
At first contact from a customer regarding a Payforit billed service, Three will encourage the customer to contact the Merchant first and to come back to Three if there is no resolution between the Merchant and the customer.
Often, if the Customer Service call queue is light, the Customer Service Agent will contact the Merchant directly and if possible conduct a three-way conversation.
However, most Merchant help lines are voicemail systems so this generally results only in a message being left. Our most common enquiry is regarding cessation of a previously entered subscription service where the shortcode for the stop command is being sought (usually as the initial subscription message has been lost by the customer).
Most Merchants that have subscription services ask consumers to leave their phone number details if they want to be unsubscribed.
On a second contact from a customer to Three’s Customer Services, or if the customer is expressing dissatisfaction, the issue is escalated to the Payment Services department for detailed investigation. Based on the outcome of the investigation, Payment Services department will contact the customer with the findings from the investigation and one of three outcomes is possible;
• The customer is offered a full refund
• The customer is offered a good will gesture
• The customer is advised in detail how they engaged with the service and accepted the terms of the service as they passed through the payment pages and that the investigation did not find anything incorrect with the service.
Any customers dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation (very rare) will be advised of their current ADR options.
Monitoring and enforcement
In relation to the Payforit scheme, Three conducts random monitoring of services, particularly if a service is increasing in usage volumes and applies three tests of the service compliance to the Payforit scheme rules;
1. Does the Accredited Payment Intermediary (API) consistently apply the scheme rules in respect of presentation of textual information to the Three customer?
2. Does the API send out the relevant text message based information to the customer, particularly for subscription services?
3. Does the API or the Merchant have an operational help line for their service. Three’s test of “operational” is that the help line number is active, it is answered and any enquiry responded to within 1 working day.
Any non-operational help line would receive a warning (yellow card) escalating to a Red Card if the issue persists or the Merchant / API is a repeat offender.
Three places less emphasis on style and screen layout unless it a) causes the textual information to become ambiguous or unreadable or b) brings the Payforit brand into disrepute. A Red card would be issued in these situations.
Furthermore, any service that results in a Customer Services escalation to the Payment Services Team or has been passed over for investigation by PhonepayPlus or has appeared in an online complaint forum such GrumbleText is also investigated. The complete consumer flow is recreated from any initial promotion through to the final Payforit presentation. This investigation may result in a recommendation to improve the Merchant purchasing journey, Merchant information or Merchant advertising. Rarely is there a need to recommend improvements to the API presentation as this is defined in the scheme rules. A Yellow Card would be issued in this situation, escalating to a Red Card if the issue remains or is disputed.