13 July 2008

EU - Ringtone websites’ hidden charges 'exploiting" children

(Sunday Times)
More than 90% of websites selling ringtones for mobile phones to children and teenagers are misleading them with unclear charges and confusing information, an investigation by the European commission has found. The tactics include signing up users to subscriptions when they believe they are downloading one-off tunes and using free offers to lure them into long-term paid contracts. Brussels is to announce that it will launch inquiries into dozens of British ringtone websites, in addition to many others across Europe. In a further move against the exploitation of mobile phone users, Viviane Reding, the European Union telecoms commissioner, said that operators had adopted a "bunker mentality" by not reducing their international call charges.