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Premium Rate Texts

  • 17-09-2007 2:14pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 938 ✭✭✭ blah


    Hi guys,
    I've searched and this has been discussed plenty of times before but I wanted to share my experience. Basically I noticed that my vodafone credit was all used up when I didn't expect it, rang customer care and they told me that at least €50 has been taken from my account by Realm Communications. (I did notice the messages but ignored them because I was sure that I hadn't subscribed for anything). So, as advised, I sent an email off to [email protected]

    This was the response:
    Dear Mr [Blah],

    Subject: *[Blah's Number]*

    In relation an e-mail we received regarding the above mobile number, I
    am forwarding on to you the details and time of subscription.

    According to our records you were subscribed to a WAP service on the
    17/06/07 at 21:00:29 via the WAP connections on your phone in response
    to a promotional message. The terms and conditions were on the WAP site
    before the content had been downloaded. The terms and conditions did
    state that you would receive free complimentary credit from a
    subscription service and if you wished to cancel to text stop followed
    by the name of the service or just stop on its own. After clicking onto
    the wap site you received another free text saying

    Welcome! 2claim c info on d WAP page u received. 0818286606 for
    info.free msg.€80 credit 2b claimed per month, subbed @€;35 /mth.cal r
    txt 2unsub stop57704

    This again told you how much the service cost and that you were on a
    service, it also told you again how to stop the service. The time and
    date indicated in our system stated that you were on the WAP connection
    and it can take as little as this to connect. The service had been
    cancelled by a user request text on the 2007/08/30 at 00:57:4818.52. By
    downloading the content the user of the phone agreed to the terms and
    conditions.

    The user of the phone is not charged for browsing the WAP page, however
    the user is charged when they click on the content and press download.



    All services are cancelled to your mobile and your number has been
    deleted from the database.

    Kind Regards

    Obviously if the terms and conditions were clear no-one in their right mind would agree to them. I don't have any recollection of signing up for it, in June?

    This stands out to me:
    Welcome! 2claim c info on d WAP page u received. 0818286606 for
    info.free msg.€80 credit 2b claimed per month, subbed @€;35 /mth.cal r
    txt 2unsub stop57704

    Is that part of a legal contract, and if so, shouldn't it be in English, because I honestly don't understand it. I know I'm rambling here because I feel like I've been mugged, and I have.


Comments

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 13,381 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Paulw


    Unfortunately, yes it's a contract. Many people just don't read the full text on pages they browse, and end up subscribing to such services without fully realising the costs.

    There are plenty of ads on radio and TV lately about premium services, and to just text STOP to the number to opt out.


  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators, Regional South East Moderators Posts: 28,073 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Cabaal


    Consumer beware!
    Everybody should read the T&C's before subscribing to services or products.

    Safest thing you can do in relation to TXT services is just not use them!


  • Registered Users Posts: 559 ✭✭✭ knighted


    i had the same text from that crowd -i rang the number up and got an answer phone ,left a stinker of a message detailing how they shouldnt have even had access to my mobile number to send me a promotion in the first place ,and that if someone didnt ring me back the following day i would be on to comreg the next morning - they rang me the next morning telling me that it was just a pro mo and i hadnt been charged and would be deleted from thier data base (they always seem to send those pro mo's at night)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 160 ✭✭ MDTyKe


    I think you have made a point there. Contracts, as such, have to be in one of the legal languages of the country - in this case Gaelige or English. They could argue it 'was' in English, but I'm not sure if it is enough to legally define a contract. It doesn't "make sense", so you can argue you were "mislead" or they gave you "misleading information" and claim it back.


    Matt


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,734 Newaglish


    Cabaal wrote:
    Consumer beware!
    Everybody should read the T&C's before subscribing to services or products.

    Safest thing you can do in relation to TXT services is just not use them!

    It's easy to say that, but a similar thing happened to me.

    I received some garbled text message (Also from Realm) with some sort of WAP link that opened after I had opened the text. I realised it was trying to access WAP and just hit the close button.

    By opening the WAP link, I had subscribed to a premium rate service (unknown to me at the time) that cost me 4 x €2 every time I put credit on my phone.

    Worst part was, I don't think I was even getting anything for it! Nor did I know I was being charged for the text messages. I would never, EVER, use a premium text service, download a ringtone or whatever crap they peddle.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,713 ✭✭✭✭ jor el


    txtbllsht wrote:
    Welcome! 2claim c info on d WAP page u received. 0818286606 for
    info.free msg.€80 credit 2b claimed per month, subbed @€;35 /mth.cal r
    txt 2unsub stop57704
    Well I have no idea what that means. Is there some promotion where you get €80 free credit? What's the €35 for? You could argue that their terms were illegible and demand your money back.

    I'm pretty sure that premium text companies have been investigated by either Comreg or maybe the National Consumer Agency before and were told to refund lots of money to people. That could have been because the subscribers were children though.


  • Site Banned Posts: 5,904 parsi


    Not being smart but there is a big campaign to have legalistic type notices converted into "plain english". Maybe this crowd took plain engish to be same as "txtspk" ?

    I would agree however that the premium rate services seem to be based on the principle that you have to opt-out rather than opt-in and are a scam.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,063 ✭✭✭ antoinolachtnai


    Did you kick up with vodafone? Tell them that the credit was obtained from you by deception and you want a refund.

    If vodafone are bothered, they'll take the money off realm and give it back to you.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 234 ✭✭ Jack Bauer999


    Did you kick up with vodafone? Tell them that the credit was obtained from you by deception and you want a refund.

    If vodafone are bothered, they'll take the money off realm and give it back to you.



    vodafone dont give a crap, same thing happened to me, i started getting
    all these txt messages all of a sudden, i didnt take any notice of them and
    just ignored, after a while i realised i was flying through my phone credit so
    i monitored my phone and then copped on i was getting charged 2euro for each
    txt i recieved from that crowd, i dunno if it was the same crowd as the other
    posters above, I certainly didnt remember signing up to anything.

    so i rang vodafone furious, asking them where they got my number from.
    vodafone said it wasnt from them, they told me what the company name was
    and gave me a phone number to ring, i rang the number but all it is
    is a answer phone telling how to stop the messages.

    very sneaky way of making money!


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,063 ✭✭✭ antoinolachtnai


    Dpes anyone know what happens if you complain to Comreg?


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 35 ✭✭✭ jimmy2shoes


    comreg won't do anything. all of these companies have to provide a 5 digit number that you can use to unsubscribe from them through. your network operator should have these codes if it isn't in the text. they are regulated by regtel and the networks have to let them use the network to send these messages and as such demanding a refund from your operator will get you no where apart from a chuckle when you end the call.

    for refunds go thruogh regtel,

    http://www.regtel.ie/


  • Moderators, Music Moderators Posts: 25,849 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Doctor DooM


    vodafone dont give a crap, same thing happened to me, i started getting
    all these txt messages all of a sudden, i didnt take any notice of them and
    just ignored, after a while i realised i was flying through my phone credit so
    i monitored my phone and then copped on i was getting charged 2euro for each
    txt i recieved from that crowd, i dunno if it was the same crowd as the other
    posters above, I certainly didnt remember signing up to anything.

    so i rang vodafone furious, asking them where they got my number from.
    vodafone said it wasnt from them, they told me what the company name was
    and gave me a phone number to ring, i rang the number but all it is
    is a answer phone telling how to stop the messages.

    very sneaky way of making money!

    Just want to point out that vodafone cannot do anything for you- the problem is between you and this company, and sadly voda would be in the wrong to interfere. Go to comreg. Show the company you are not messing around.


  • Subscribers Posts: 19,425 Oryx


    I know of loads of people who got caught with these scams, and as it happens they all had pay as you go phones. I have a bill phone, and have never inadvertently signed up for anything like this or been charged for a subscription service. Ive asked a few other bill pay customers and the story is the same. I just wondered if is this coincidental or does the subscription charge not work the same way on a billed phone? Has anyone here with a bill phone ever been scammed this way?


  • Moderators, Music Moderators Posts: 25,849 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Doctor DooM


    KtK wrote:
    I know of loads of people who got caught with these scams, and as it happens they all had pay as you go phones. I have a bill phone, and have never inadvertently signed up for anything like this or been charged for a subscription service. Ive asked a few other bill pay customers and the story is the same. I just wondered if is this coincidental or does the subscription charge not work the same way on a billed phone? Has anyone here with a bill phone ever been scammed this way?

    Not being smart but people with bill phones tend to be older/ more responsible with their usage. Theres no other difference.


  • Subscribers Posts: 19,425 Oryx


    SDooM wrote:
    Not being smart but people with bill phones tend to be older/ more responsible with their usage. Theres no other difference.
    Point taken, but Ive seen some smart responsible payg users being done by these schemes.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,063 ✭✭✭ antoinolachtnai


    I cannot see why vodafone aren't responsible. I take it facts are not disputed by them and you have no prior relationship with this other company that is getting the money for the texts.

    If there was a deception, it seems to me that vodafone are making themselves party to the deception if they accept the facts. They should at least refund their own proportion and the VAT.

    This isn't like a bill for telecommunications services. It's a bill for content services. Bills for content services don't have the same protection in law that bills for telecommunications services do.

    Regtel is all very well and the OP should get your money back from them if they can, but it's not a statutory agency and the OP has no commercial relationship with it.


  • Moderators, Music Moderators Posts: 25,849 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Doctor DooM


    I cannot see why vodafone aren't responsible if the facts are not disputed and if you have no prior relationship with this other company that is getting the money for the texts.

    If there was a deception, it seems to me that vodafone are making themselves party to the deception if they accept the facts. They should at least refund their own proportion and the VAT.

    This isn't like a bill for telecommunications services. It's a bill for content services. Bills for content services don't have the same protection in law that bills for telecommunications services do.

    Regtel is all very well and you should get your money back from them if you can, but it's not a statutory agency and the OP has no commercial relationship with it.

    I have dealt with this situation 100s of times. Invariably, the user has commited some act (sent a message, or clicked a button on some wap site) which effectively means they have entered a contract. Invariably also there is a text / some message which informs the user of the costs. As I understand it, legally, the company in question has done nothing wrong- UNTIL you send them a text saying "STOP".

    The network providers can do nothing but send mails to the company telling them to stop.

    The network can do nothing. Regtel might be able to do something.

    Regtels remit covers specifically premium rate phone services.

    Ask over in the mobile forum if you wish to speak to some experts on this matter, the corinthian for example may know in greater detail than myself.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,734 Newaglish


    SDooM wrote:
    Not being smart but people with bill phones tend to be older/ more responsible with their usage. Theres no other difference.

    Inadvertenly opening a text message and being signed up to something that you don't even realise you're being charged for does not make you immature or irresponsible!


  • Registered Users Posts: 246 ✭✭ GUIGuy


    It is totally false to suggest that the recipients of these texts have in some way signed up for these services. Go to:

    http://www.irishgadgetoffers.com/nokia_n95/

    This site is in breech of Regtels guidelines on font size for T&C. Also because there's no way of knowing who submitted the request. Anyone could type in anyones number here and then he/she would be plagued by texts. Its no good people saying that you should send stop if all your credit is taken up as soon as you buy it. Obviously this site is also worded to make you think its a competition.

    I'm writing to regtel about this one:mad:


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,713 ✭✭✭✭ jor el


    I've just been thinking about this and if you did sign up to one of these services then you would have to have sent a text to them in the first place. Now if you're sure you didn't, then contact your mobile operator and ask them to send you a complete account history, back as far as when the texts started. They should have this information on file, they may charge a small fee but it would be worth it. Look through the text records to see was a text sent to the scam/premium operator. If nothing was ever sent then you have proof they are scamming you.

    If it's a very recent thing and you're with O2, you can check your recent text/call history on line. I don't think Vodafone let you check this history online (at least they didn't when I was with them).

    You can then report them to the mobile operator, Comreg, Regtel and maybe the minister for comms. Also copy your report to the scam company and tell them you've discovered their deception and will rest happily when they go out of business :)


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 28 ✭✭✭ matthew1979


    dont know if this will work with everyone but this is how i handled my situation with premium messages . . i found out last night i had been paying some company since 1994 !! i went mad and sent them an email . . im not usually like this but i was so livid when i found out this is what i emailed and the relpy i got and this is only one company i was paying out to that i didnt know of . .notice the "thanks for the email" in the reply :D

    To: [email protected]
    Subject: DEAR BASTARDS !!
    Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2009 22:17:47 +0000

    .ExternalClass .EC_hmmessage P{padding:0px;}.ExternalClass body.EC_hmmessage{font-size:10pt;font-family:Verdana;}I want you to send me the following detailes so i can further them onto my solicitor and comreg in ireland . . i have been wondering where the **** all my phone credit has been dissapearing to over the last few months and i have just found out you have been taking it . . €42 in just over a month !!!

    1. I want to know when the "opt-out information service at regular intervals " was sent ??
    2. I want to know when the "On spending €20, you will receive a free reminder message containing details of the subscription service, charges and frequency of charges and how to exit the service by texting the word stop" was sent ??
    3. I want to know why did you on this date take money from my account twice ?? Text in

      25/01/09 18:125708000:00:00€2.00 tick.gifText in21/01/09 18:115708000:00:00€2.00 tick.gifText in18/01/09 18:115708000:00:00€2.00 tick.gifText in14/01/09 18:115708000:00:00€2.00 tick.gifText in12/01/09 10:155708000:00:00€2.00 tick.gifText in04/01/09 18:075708000:00:00€2.00 tick.gifText in31/12/08 18:075708000:00:00€2.00 tick.gifText in31/12/08 18:075708000:00:00€2.00 tick.gif
    my ****en blood is boiling here because of you shower of ****en mugs ripping people off ,
    let me tell you somthing you have ****ed up on this one !!

    i want to know in total how much money you have scammed out of my account and i want these details in full ..
    if you do not give me these details or a full refund i will be knocking on your ****en door and knocking your ****en head off ,and that is a promise !!! I dont care where you are based ill ****en find you or your company !! BASTARDS !!!!

    <name and Email snipped>


    Dear Mr Matthew

    Thank you for your email.

    According to our records you had subscribed to a ringtone service on the
    11.07.08 at 18.31 via the wap connections on your phone in response to a
    promotional text message and wap message. Within these promotional
    messages you had a choice of downloading seven different pieces of
    content. You had been advised that by ordering content you will be
    subscribed at €8 per week plus optin costs, contact number and how to
    cancel if you wished to do so and if you wished to optout of the
    promotional database to text DELETE. Your number entered our database on
    the 17.02.04 at 14.23 when you had entered a flights to New York
    competition with us directly. Since then you have been receiving
    promotional messages from Opera Telecom

    In relation to your inquiries
    1. Upon ordering your ringtone, you received a free text message
    advising again on cost, contact details and how to cancel. After each
    €20 spent you also received a free subscription reminder message
    advising the same details as above.
    2. Please find attached a copy of all reminder messages sent to you.
    3. All messages are sent in twos. Upon ordering content you agreed to
    take part in this subscription service and receive content at €8 a week

    In total you have been charged €226. This wap request should show up on
    your phone bill. As this service had been requested unfortunately i can
    not offer you a full refund, however as a gesture of good will i can
    offer you a refund of €190. If you could kindly forward a contact
    address for you, i can issue your refund as soon as possible.

    All services are cancelled and your number has been deleted from our
    database.i couldnt believe i was giving these mugs money since 1994 . you might say "how did i not notice" and i would say i havent a clue only i use my mobile alot and just never copped it untill now .


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,748 ✭✭✭ tony1kenobi


    I don't see where you get 1994 from that?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 28 ✭✭✭ matthew1979


    my bad 2004


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,815 ✭✭✭ Ste.phen


    And they even offered a substantial refund.
    Hard to fault Opera Telecom really, is it?


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,610 sceptre


    Subject: DEAR BASTARDS !!
    I think we've all wanted to send at least one email to a company with a subject line like that.


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