Warning about cost of rogue apps

Image caption Smartphones have become a popular item, creating a huge industry in apps

The premium rate regulator has uncovered two cases of smartphone apps charging users without their knowledge or consent.

Now the regulator, Phonepayplus, has issued plans for more protection for consumers from rogue traders in the industry.

In one case an app automatically sent and received text messages that could cost the user £4.50 each.

It was shut down by the regulator.

Now Phonepayplus has started consultation on proposals that consumers' consent to charge is clearer, password requirements are strengthened to prevent children buying items, and there is more explanation of the cost of virtual credit.

"We need to be nimble and flexible in our approach. We know that the best regulation is one that works collaboratively with industry to pre-empt problems that harm consumers and damage markets," said Paul Whiteing, Phonepayplus chief executive.

"We will not hesitate to use our robust sanctioning powers to drive out rogue providers who could damage a vital part of the UK's growing and innovative digital and creative economies."

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