@prescilla_g alerted me to this thread, and as it turns out I can share a bit more with you all on where we are at with Age Verification 'stuff'. Unfortunately, however, I'm going to need to be rather vague on a lot of this. Sorry - there's just a lot here that I can't share just yet.
So, what's the story then? As some have pointed out in this thread, there is a voluntary agreement between the Telcos and Ofcom (& government) on best practice when it comes to Age Verification and blocking adult content. That agreement is currently under revision and looks like the guidance contained in it will become stricter than what currently is in place.
I've been taking point on discussing everything Age Verification related with O2, who are managing the relationship with Ofcom. We're likely, as a result of this process, to need to make changes to our Age Verification process. What form those changes take are yet to be determined - we've been exploring a range of potential options.
A few things to note here (in general terms) that are relevant to this discussion and the decisions we'll need to make when the time comes:
1) Access to government held data is not as easy as you might think, and at the current time there is/would be a cost to giffgaff involved.
2) Credit card charge/refund is a relatively expensive solution. We still have to pay charges to the card companies, and these aren't cheap.
We're absolutely committed to finding an Age Verification process for the future that is a) fits with the voluntary guidance agreed with Ofcom, b) cost effective for us as a business, and c) (most importantly) simple and easy to use for the widest cross section of members as we can (which means members from international are a consideration).