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freitasm

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#9918 23-Oct-2006 19:57
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A few months back I received an e-mail from someone in the U.S. asking "please stop this". After contacting this person asking what was "this" she told me her son sent a SMS to a number he saw on TV, not knowing that he was in fact subscribing to a daily SMS, charged at "premium" prices. Of course I asked this worried mum to contact Cingular (the operator providing the service) for action.

Fast forward a few months, and what I see here in New Zealand? Ads on TV that start with a big picture of a Microsoft Xbox 360, and all the words that make you believe it's a competition to win one of those gaming machines.

It's easy: simply SMS the correct answer to a skill question ("Who makes the Xbox 360? a]Microsoft b] Nintendo) to a premium SMS number to be in to win!

In small, very small letters: you have to send 5 SMS to enter the competition. Each cost $3. Also this is a subscription service with something as 3 or 5 SMS received per week, at $3 each, charged to your mobile account. To unsubscribe send "STOP" to a number in an even smaller font.

How can Telecom New Zealand and Vodafone New Zealand let this kind of scam take place here?





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sbiddle
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  #49399 23-Oct-2006 20:18
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This same company was discussed on Fair Go a few months ago with their previous promotions to win a X-Box 360.

There are people that would probably argue that neither answer is correct anyway since the iPod uses AAC as it's native format. If we were lucky enough to have ITMS here people may not actually have any mp3 files on their iPod! :-)


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  #49400 23-Oct-2006 20:19
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FYI the X-Box 360 was their old promo - you can win an iPod now.


freitasm

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#49401 23-Oct-2006 20:20
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iPod? I saw the Xbox 360 ad a couple of days ago on TV. But back on topic - so they were on Fair Go, but didn't learn the lesson?

















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#49402 23-Oct-2006 20:34
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They were also on Campbell Live a few weeks ago and based on that article, my understanding of this promotion is that:

 - The subscriber may or may not win the prize.
 - Regardless of whether the subscriber wins the prize, they will have fees charged to their phone account.

Tell me if I'm missing something here, but doesn't that meet the generally accepted definition of gambling? And isn't it illegal for anyone to engage in gambling if they fall within the age group which these advertisements are clearly targeting?

Regardless of whether Telecom or Vodafone condone this, Internal Affairs should definitely be doing something about it.

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  #49403 23-Oct-2006 20:42
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Ahh it may have been Campbell Live that had it on. I recall now that it was the ads for ringtones on Fair Go - a guy lost something like $50 because the service kept charging him trying to send him ringtones to his phone that didn't support them. To stop it you had to waste another $3 or something sending them an SMS.

Campbell Live got a group of kids in front of a TV, showed them the ads and wanted to know their understanding of it.

Vodafone & Telecom do need to do something, afterall they are the ones who are going to suffer the bad PR as a result.


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  #49416 24-Oct-2006 01:26
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The worst one is I have someone on the web whom keeps sending my number "SMS.AC" signups messages.... at 99c each, I have complained to Telecom to no avail...THey won't even credit me so I have complained to the service operator..... no replies to emails  It's not even me let alone even their service, it's just "confirming you own this phone number". There should be a "premium sms block" like 0900 blocking... time for me to take this to comcom to force operators to have premium blocking.. I know it can technically be done* so no excuse, the network operators are in on this cash cow. They also have a master list of codes which they will not reveal. (thanks 123 oprtator for the inside info;-)

*(by sending piles of chargeable messages to $0 balance prepays which alert you to a blocked chargeable message.)

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#49418 24-Oct-2006 07:38
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This is the new age of 0900... interesting technology can lead to nuisanse!




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  #50086 28-Oct-2006 18:04
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Back to the topic. Are the Xbox 360, Limited edition iPod, Guys pack (with psp) and girls pack (with iPod), those stupid custom ringtones "You have a message master" and the "Silent ringtone" etc. all part of the same EVIL scheme to take over your mobile account?

Adam

freitasm

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#50087 28-Oct-2006 18:07
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Probably.




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  #50590 1-Nov-2006 10:36
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Well what if I tell you I KNOW of a way to send txt messages to telecom that the handset does not show (at least on the newer phones) now that would be scary, premium messages that you didn't know you were getting!




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#50599 1-Nov-2006 11:16

The same thing happened to my wife's telecom phone. I first noticed the item on my bill 3 months ago. My wife has a telecom one bill which is great for her as she hardly uses but hates toping up. Anyway we barely look at the bills closely but I have looked back over a year and noticed a non discriptive line in the bill called 'TXTService calls' the last bill had 28 TXT Service Calls!! No more information. I missed this for a year between 15 and 30 dollars a month went to those scamsters. I was able to get the last 2 months credited to my account after saying I would trade in my phone for a new Voda on You Choose. They caved in! They added a note on my account saying this was the last credit to be applied for TXTService calls. But I said I was unhappy with them being delivered in the first place as we never sent any messages or signed up ourselves. TNZ said they were powerless to stop them as I directly or indirectly subscribed to the service! How can they charge you for incoming messages? Its a 0900 reverse text scam! I was told by telecom the only info they could give me was the name SMS.AC and had no contaqct number for me. I googled them and on the corporate page is an american number in California (+1 619 696 1300) and they looked up my number 6427xxxxxxx and had an account in my wifes maiden name! Goiung back to 2005! I asked for the account to be closed and explained why and she was very nice and killed it in a snap. She told me that they only charge 50c (usd). So I wonder who keeps the rest after the exchange rate??!! The Provider. It seems calling america is a bit much to cancell a service I have never heard of or wanted. The messages have no info on how to cancel either. Anywya it is all sorted. ( (

ictgeeknz
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#51039 4-Nov-2006 18:43
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sbiddle: FYI the X-Box 360 was their old promo - you can win an iPod now.



Simple life rule: work hard, save money, buy this stuff!

Reminds me of those old Internet ad-banners where you "shoot the duck" for a new PlayStation.







riahon
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  #51040 4-Nov-2006 18:56
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Zeekjam: The same thing happened to my wife's telecom phone. I first noticed the item on my bill 3 months ago. My wife has a telecom one bill which is great for her as she hardly uses but hates toping up. Anyway we barely look at the bills closely but I have looked back over a year and noticed a non discriptive line in the bill called 'TXTService calls' the last bill had 28 TXT Service Calls!! No more information. I missed this for a year between 15 and 30 dollars a month went to those scamsters. I was able to get the last 2 months credited to my account after saying I would trade in my phone for a new Voda on You Choose. They caved in! They added a note on my account saying this was the last credit to be applied for TXTService calls. But I said I was unhappy with them being delivered in the first place as we never sent any messages or signed up ourselves. TNZ said they were powerless to stop them as I directly or indirectly subscribed to the service! How can they charge you for incoming messages? Its a 0900 reverse text scam! I was told by telecom the only info they could give me was the name SMS.AC and had no contaqct number for me. I googled them and on the corporate page is an american number in California (+1 619 696 1300) and they looked up my number 6427xxxxxxx and had an account in my wifes maiden name! Goiung back to 2005! I asked for the account to be closed and explained why and she was very nice and killed it in a snap. She told me that they only charge 50c (usd). So I wonder who keeps the rest after the exchange rate??!! The Provider. It seems calling america is a bit much to cancell a service I have never heard of or wanted. The messages have no info on how to cancel either. Anywya it is all sorted. ( (


so it was your fault - I hope you rang telecom to reverse the credit.

freitasm

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#53762 26-Nov-2006 23:35
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Today I saw one of these ads on TV, for a "SMS Chat" service, and visited their site. When you sign up to the service you will pay $4 per SMS received, and there's this fineprint:

This service employs operators who are paid to participate in chat...


It means they will probably try to keep the conversation going on and on and on and on... At $4 each message.





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#53763 27-Nov-2006 00:27
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Holy !!! $4 chat, That's just nasty.

I am still having problems with the "confirm your signup to SMS.AC" which ovbviously some kid whom has just gotten internet and a mobile phone thinks is a great joke, and i get stung 99c for each "confirm your resistration" message I never initiated.

Telecom don't want to know when there is a problem, Telecom DO keep a master list of premium SMS numbers and the shortcodes and contacts, you WON"T be getting this from them as they are told not to give it out.

You can get an 0900 block,, They (Vodafone and Telecom) need to get (be forced by the government) to put a mandatory Premium sms block as well, it's getting out of hand especially with this current scam.... This particular case where I am not even involved, I am about to have investigated by a higher level.

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