About premium-rated services

If you would like to report unwanted billing to WASPA, please use this link.

What are premium-rated services?

  • Premium rate services (PRS) are goods and services that you can buy by charging the cost to your phone bill, whether you pre-pay your phone bill by buying airtime or pay a regular, monthly bill.
  • A premium rate service is one where the cost is higher than the standard rate, which is the normal charge that your mobile operator bills you for a voice call, an SMS, an MMS, a USSD service or a WAP service.
  • Five digit shortcodes (e.g. 12345) are often linked to premium rated services, but can also be billed at standard rates.
  • Pay close attention to any pricing information included on marketing for all mobile services. Clear pricing information will be shown for any premium rate service.
  • Examples of premium-rate services are buying a ringtone, getting a soccer score notification, entering a competition, and sending an SMS to vote for a contestant on a talent show.

What is a subscription service?

  • A subscription service is one where you are charged an amount on a regular basis (daily, weekly, monthly) for access to the VAS service.
  • You will usually see an advert for a subscription service on a webpage or advertised in a marketing message. If you respond to the advert by clicking, you will be taken to a confirmation step.
  • All of South Africa’s mobile network provide a confirmation step. You will be asked by your mobile operator to confirm any service before you are billed for it. Only once you respond by confirming will you be charged for the service.
  • If you receive a confirmation message for a service you did not intend to subscribe to, do not confirm the subscription.
  • After subscribing to a service, you will be billed the subscription amount regardless whether you are an active user of the service or not. You will need to unsubscribe for billing to stop.

Reminder messages

  • Anyone billing you for services on a regular basis is required to send you reminder messages, so that you don’t forget that you are being billed for the service.
  • Don’t ignore your reminder messages. Read them, and if you don’t want the service any more, follow the instructions to unsubscribe.
  • Reminder messages can be easy to mistake for spam. WASPA members are required to send reminders which start with the word “reminder” and then include the name of the service, how much it costs, how to stop it, and how to get help. Look for message with that format.

Opting out of a service

  • For most services, you should be able to cancel the service by replying STOP to any reminder message you receive.
  • If you can’t opt-out by replying STOP, then the reminder message will give you alternative instructions for cancelling the service.