Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Phoney phone-ins

Having at last been tagged for fraudulent abuse of premium rate phone services for their tacky viewer phone-in quizes, the TV companies' response was typically weak.

Such are the details of phone bill accounting these days that TMP has a sneaking suspicion that it is possible to trace and refund each of the victims, but the costs of so doing would be vast. Maybe the best way to deal with this is for all the companies in question to pay the estimated over payments to charity and claim gift aid tax relief..?

The BBC's Panorama exposed this with its usual piety, failing to answer a question that TMP has pondered for ages: when we are told that some 20p of a 25p call to a BBC show goes to charity - where does the other 5p go? TMP can call the USA for 5 minutes for 5p.

The whole tawdry premium rate phone business grew from roots in decidedly salacious services involving adult content and chat rooms, and now it's not really clear that it serves any sort of useful purpose. So TMP ponders the idea that one of the growing alternative forms of e-payment that are the responsibility of the caller, not just the poor sap that pays the bill, should be used instead.

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