Mobile Operators’ Code of Practice for the management and operation of PFI

Provided to Ofcom as evidence in a consultation on the regulation of these services in 2012. Full document here.

This document can be  found at pages 70-71. Additionally in this document are statements from O2, Vodafone, Three and EE on their individual approaches to the regulation of Payforit. These can be useful in negotiating with individual networks, as they often fail to follow their published procedures. Such a failure could be a reason for taking a case to the Communications Ombudsman.

Mobile Operators’ Code of Practice for the management and operation of PFI


Payforit’s role is to provide a safe and trustworthy environment under which mobile phone users may purchase goods and services and charge the cost to their mobile phone accounts.
First announced in March 2006, the Payforit scheme has been developed by the UK’s mobile operators to promote a consistent standard for paying by mobile, so that consumers can buy with confidence when they are making one-off payments or setting up subscription services via their phone.

The Code

1. The Scheme Rules

Payforit operates under the Payforit Scheme Rules, as amended from time to time. The current version (v3.0 28/2/2010) of the Scheme Rules can be found at The mobile operators enforce the scheme rules through contractual arrangements between each operator and their authorised payment intermediaries. The Scheme Rules are administered by the Payforit Management Group (“PMG”).

2. Changes to scheme rules

Changes to scheme rules will be notified to Authorised Payment Intermediaries (“API”), in accordance with contractual terms. Changes will all also be notified promptly [within 14 days?] to Ofcom by the PMG.

3. Monitoring

Each mobile operator will actively monitor the adherence of APIs and merchant clients to the scheme rules. Monitoring will be carried out regularly with a view to identifying breaches of scheme rules that could give rise to consumer harm. Mobile operators will share intelligence with each other about breaches of scheme rules that are identified.

4. Enforcement

If breaches of scheme rules are indentified, each mobile operator will take appropriate enforcement action, using the yellow and red card system*. Serious or repeated breaches of scheme rules could result in a merchant or API being barred from using Payforit indefinitely. Mobile operators will inform each other about red and yellow cards they have issued but each will decide independently what enforcement action to take.

*A yellow card is issued to a merchant for less serious breaches and the merchant is given 2 working days to remedy the breach. A Red card is issued if he breach is more serious and likely to lead to consumer detriment OR if the merchant has failed to respond to a yellow card in time.

5. Customer resolution and redress

Each mobile operator will take responsibility for ensuring that customer queries and complaints are dealt with in accordance with their regulatory obligations under General Condition 14. This includes resolving complaints directly or ensuring that the API or merchant clients resolve them in accordance with its internal processes and contractual obligations. If there is an allegation that an API or merchant is not properly dealing with the complaint, a mobile operator will secure resolution of that complaint directly.

6. Merchants banned from using Premium Rate Services (PRS)

An API or its merchant clients that have been barred from using the PRS payment mechanism as a consequence of an adjudication made by PhonepayPlus will not be allowed to transfer any barred service to the Payforit environment, so long as the PhonepayPlus disbarment remains in force.
An API or its merchant clients that appears on Ofcom’s Number Refusal List will not be allowed to operate in the Payforit environment

With the demise of Payforit, and a PSA consultation on a new Code of Practice for Phone-paid Services, we have decided to launch the Phone-paid Services Consumer Group (PSCG). You can visit the new website by clicking here. IF you need help, please contact us via the contact link on the new website.
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