06 Sep 2012

Hidden Premium Rate Android App from Russia; £ 50,000 Fine for Deceitful Practices

A Russian Android app vendor received a “formal reprimand” and a £50,000 fine on account for having deceitfully charged users for downloading an app allowing them access to popular games, as reported by techworld.

It appears that a £10 SMS was automatically sent on behalf of the app user before the app was actually accessed, more precisely when users clicked to read or to agree with the terms and conditions governing the service.

Pursuant to the receipt of 10 complaints about inaccurate pricing information and “charging without consent,” PhonepayPlus, the UK premium rate phone number and service regulator submitted the matter to court.

The Tribunal having ruled in this `very serious’ case decided the Russian company should “submit all premium rate services to PhonepayPlus for prior permission for two years” and “make refunds, within three months, to all consumers who have used the service for the full amount spent, regardless of whether or not they have claimed a refund.”

In “the most serious mobile malware incident yet to be uncovered in the UK,” a Latvian app developer received the same fine for planting in the Android app store bogus apps mimicking famous games that actually sent ten premium rate SMS upon being downloaded.