Sunday, April 26, 2009

Realm Communications backs down from RegTel challenge

Remember the High Court challenge brought by Realm Communications (of Irish Psychics Live fame) against industry self-regulatory body RegTel? (Full details in this earlier post, but in short Realm were found to have been overcharging customers in breach of the Regtel Code of Practice and were banned from sending premium texts for twelve months.) In an apparent victory for RegTel, Realm has now agreed to abandon that action, to revise its services and to pay refunds in respect of customer complaints - though it seems that the twelve month ban has been waived. (Irish Times | Statement from Regtel)

The significance of this result? Although the result has no precedential value, it should strengthen the hand of Regtel in taking action against persistent breaches by removing a lingering threat about the scope of its authority. Perhaps more importantly from their perspective, it may also support the argument that premium rate services should be controlled by self-regulation via Regtel rather than (as the Minister has previously proposed) by statutory regulation giving new powers to ComReg.


  1. RegTel is not a 'self-regulatory' body. We are an independent regulator.

  2. Realm didn't "back down" they got a bloody good deal out of it. I know because one of the office staff is a friend of mine. Apparantly the Higgins guy who owns the outfit was rarin to get into court because he believed the firm hadn't done anything wrong and wanted his chance to prove it. It seems regtels case was doubtful to say the least. Which, given the recent press coverage just goes to show that you can't believe a lot of the stuff that makes it into the papers!!!

  3. Anonymous12 June, 2009

    RegTel is lucky to tidy this up out of court.

    If RegTel was in the right and could stand behind their processes and decisions, they had a moral obligation to the rest of the industry to bring the case forward.

    The outcome is an indictment of Regtel's capacity to carry out it's role effectively and to provide regulatory certainty to the industry as a whole.

    It is not for nothing that the Minister is publishing a bill to terminate RegTel and to do away with it's modus operandi. A damning conclusion to the saga and for the well-paid Board of Directors of Regtel.