Unsolicited text messages

There has been a large rise in the use of text messages to promote premium rate services or to send information on news or entertainment.

Did you know that?

  • Research shows that nearly 50 per cent of children aged from seven to 16 now own a mobile phone.
  • Forty million people use mobile phones in the UK with over 1.3 billion text messages being sent each month.  

There are three different kinds of SMS messages:

  • 090
    This is where you receive a promotional text message inviting you to call a premium rate service with an 090 dialling code. These are often used for competitions.
  • Pay to Send
    This is where you are invited to send a text message at a premium rate. These are often used for votelines or opinion polls.
  • Reverse billed premium rate services
    This is where a promotional text message invites you to respond by text. This then triggers a premium rate service where you will get a number of other texts which you will be charged for.  

What should I look out for?


  • that friends or relatives will NOT send you messages asking you to call back on 090 numbers
  • that offers that seem too good to be true usually are
  • to read all the information about the cost of the calls/text. If there is a lack of information or it is not clear, check before you call.
  • to be wary of information on promotions which isn't clear and may be intended to mislead you.  

You can register with the Telephone Preference Service who will remove your mobile phone contact details from future mailing lists. You can telephone them on 0845 0700707 or you can visit their website by using the link in the related links section on this page.

You can prevent calls to premium rate services by asking your network provider for 'premium rate call barring'.

If you receive an uninvited text message which you would like to complain about, then please contact PhonepayPlus on 0800 500212. Or you can visit their website by using the link in the related links section on this page.

Information on other websites