ICSTIS, the phone-paid services regulator, has today become PhonePayPlus and has set itself the task of boosting public awareness about how to use services safely and how it can help people who encounter problems.
Phone-paid services - the goods and services that we can buy by charging the cost to our phone bills and mobile pre-pay accounts - have moved from a niche market to become a mainstream part of everyday life.
The list of services available is as long as the range of information and entertainment on offer is wide, with the public spending a staggering £1 billion a year on services such as help lines, voting, competitions, downloads, news alerts, charitable giving and interactive games.
Although the vast majority of services are run responsibly and enjoyed by thousands of people, consumer confidence in the industry has taken a knock following this year's high profile problems involving TV phone-in competitions.
According to research published by PhonePayPlus today, almost two-thirds of the UK population have a distinct distrust of phone-in competitions, while 60% admit to having little faith in chat and entertainment services. The research also showed that 76% of people would not consider using a phone-paid service in the next 12 months.
Commenting on the findings, Sir Alistair Graham, Chairman of PhonePayPlus, said: "After the headlines of recent months, there is no doubt that the public's trust in phone-paid services has been dented."
"While we don't underestimate the size of the task ahead, we are confident that confidence in phone-paid services can be restored. As well as knowing that there is an organisation out there making sure services are being operated fairly, consumers need to know where to go if they need advice or have a specific problem."
"The first step in this process for us has been to change our name. Changes in the services we regulate and the way in which we do it brought us to the point where re-branding was essential."
"ICSTIS was no longer an accurate description of our organisation. As our research showed, the name had low awareness among the public and was a significant barrier in terms of people knowing who we were and what we did. We needed a name that gives a real sense of what we do. PhonePayPlus - coupled with our 'Regulating to build consumer trust in phone-paid services' strap line - is much more meaningful and memorable for consumers."
www.phonebrain.org.uk (PhonePayPlus' successful, interactive children's website)