Does ICSTIS know what it's got wrong?

Congratulations Photo of a phoneto Channel 4 for – as far as I can see – carrying out a serious investigation into allegations of misdeeds and rips offs amongst its various phone-in contests – and deciding to pretty much scrap the lot as a result. And where they’re not being scrapped (how could Big Brother be Big Brother without the voting!) making them only cost-neutral or revenues to charity.

This follows the BBC suspending a whole range of items too. But where does this leave ICSTIS – the regulator who is meant to be keeping things under control and stopping us, the viewer and phone voter, being ripped off?

If ICSTIS was really on top of its job neither the BBC nor Channel 4 would have to be doing this large-scale cull. ICSTIS keeps on dolling out relatively small scale fines – sometimes to the very same firm time and time again. (Just look at the list of rulings against Opera Telecom – the firm at the centre of the GMTV scandal.) That’s clearly not working. When you keep on fining the same firm time and time again, isn’t about time you should do something different?

ICSTIS is far too reluctant to levy seriously heavy fines or to stop people who have been caught breaking the rules from continuing to provide the same services. It’s all been a matter of very, very slow catch up by them. Let’s hope they finally pull up their socks and the are rather more effective in future! Their latest annual report boasts (belatedly, hurrah!) about them starting to take more serious action. But if they are honest they’ll look around at the shambolic wreckage around them and admit they have failed.

0 thoughts on “Does ICSTIS know what it's got wrong?

  1. How Thatcherite the last 10 years became: don’t fetter business when it finds a way of making money. Or, at least, only do it if you can blame someone else (e.g. the EU). Still, it will be sad to lose those phone-in prize draws (sorry, competitions) where the £1 a throw will have more than paid for the prize so that the company donating the prize gets loads of free advertising.

  2. The Icstis model of regulation does not work because it treats all complaints as consumer complaints when many are in fact allegations of criminal theft.Look at the Icstis/Opera case from 13 September 2006.BackgroundComplaints were received regarding an unsolicited text message sent to their mobile phones, which charged them 50p for its receipt. It appeared that only customers on the Orange mobile network were targeted.The message stated – ‘Update: Your services have been modified. Please turn the handset off, then back on, for any changes to take effect’SanctionOpera Telecom were fined £30,000 and issued with a formal reprimand. In addition, access to the service was barred indefinitely as it could never be seen to be compliant.The “service” was an obvious case of fraud why didn’t Icstis refer the matter to the police?