The Consumer Lawyer

Premium rate texts – your rights

Nearly every week I get messages from readers who have received a huge phone bill and after investigation it transpires that this is due to premium rate texts they have received. Here’s what you need to know:

What are premium rate texts?

These are text messages that are typically for subscription services, such as games or weather updates.

The texts generally cost about £1.50 each and where they catch most consumers out is that it is not always obvious that you will be paying for these until you get a big phone bill.

I haven’t subscribed to any service but have been charged

Many people subscribe to premium rate text messages inadvertently, usually by ticking or failing to untick a box on a website, or by replying to a message. Other examples I have seen is when you enter into a competition. In all these examples, you could be signing up to a subscription service without actually knowing.

Protect yourself

Always read the terms and conditions if you sign up for a competition, provide your number online, or download something to your phone such as an app. What you need to look out for is the small print which says you are agreeing to subscribe to a service.


Your mobile phone provider will tell you that they cannot help. In these circumstances go to the Phone-paid Services Authority website – which contains lots of useful advice and guidance on how to avoid premium rate text messages.

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