As I can't post this on the outboards here it is...
I don't mean to stir up more "OMG OUT IS TEH BAD!!111" posts and the like, but I emailed out asking what was up with the restrictions and if there was some kind of quota I managed to pass, nothing nasty or anything just a simple "can't find anything about it, could you help" email.
This is what I get back:
Yes Kevin you are restricted, you can initiate messages until you buy a membership in two weeks time. You can thumb their profile and they may well reply back.
Kind regards Lizzie
Somehow, I'm starting to think I should let my Out membership lapse and not bother if this is the kind of attitude they seem to find acceptable.