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140 posts

Master Geek
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# 249107 25-Apr-2019 22:27
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My wife is the victim of an 0900 phone scam. It goes something like this. You click on a 'competition' that appears in your Facebook feed, purporting to be from Countdown supermarkets with a $500 grocery prize. It directs you to phone 0900 55667 to get an access code for the competition. Having got the code, they then keep you on the line for a long time to use the phone to answer a long series of trivia questions that appear on the computer screen. All along you keep getting encouragement telling you how well you are doing compared to others who are taking part at the same time as you. At the end you get a well done message, we'll contact you if you won a prize etc. Several weeks later the phone bill comes in with a $99 charge for each of two 0900 calls. I hate to think how many people have been hit with this!

 

This all leads me to many questions about how the 0900 system works. I understand the numbers are handed out by Telecom (Spark). Do they vet the person/organisation buying the number (the top three responses to a Google search on the number pointed towards scam reports)? Do calls terminate in NZ, or can they go straight to international destinations? How are the calls charged, and when does the owner get paid (right away after the call? or some time later?) Is there any way of withholding the payment, or to get the charge reversed? I'm not a Spark customer, so the charge goes from Telecom to Vodafone to my RSP and then to me. It seems awfully messy and I can see that none of the parties along the way is likely to accept any responsibility or ability to do anything about it. But shouldn't Telecom be monitoring 0900 charges as a responsible service provider and flagging something suspicious with such high charges going through?

 

PS I submitted a report to Netsafe. Should I also inform the police?


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  # 2225071 25-Apr-2019 22:33
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got me wondering - do 0900 have a standard rate across the board or can they charge whatever they want? if that's the case it could have been a lot more?





Swype on iOS is detrimental to accurate typing. Apologies in advance.


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  # 2225128 25-Apr-2019 23:18
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The owner of the 0900 number sets the price.

Thus can be a per minute charge or a fixed price per call.

 
 
 
 


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  # 2225133 25-Apr-2019 23:30
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Spark have the power to refund that and not pay the end user. I would suggest anything else makes them complicit in a scam.





nunz



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  # 2225161 26-Apr-2019 06:47
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nunz:

 

Spark have the power to refund that and not pay the end user. I would suggest anything else makes them complicit in a scam.

 

 

Hence my question about when does the payment to the number owner actually happen? It is now about three weeks since,  and I imagine if the money goes offshore then recovery becomes problematic.

 

Is there a process to follow to file a claim with Spark? 


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  # 2225172 26-Apr-2019 07:48
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It directs you to phone 0900 55667

 

.....Would that not make you stop immediately? Even if it's a 'tel' URL which puts the number in the dialler, you still have to hit the call button.... not a lot of sympathy tbh. Also don't think Spark need to do anything, as the number was dialed by the user.


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  # 2225173 26-Apr-2019 07:49
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Are you a Spark customer or with another RSP?




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  # 2225185 26-Apr-2019 08:23
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chevrolux:

 

It directs you to phone 0900 55667

 

.....Would that not make you stop immediately? Even if it's a 'tel' URL which puts the number in the dialler, you still have to hit the call button.... not a lot of sympathy tbh. Also don't think Spark need to do anything, as the number was dialed by the user.

 

 

It would stop you or me, but not everyone has the same awareness.


 
 
 
 




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  # 2225186 26-Apr-2019 08:24
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Linux:

 

Are you a Spark customer or with another RSP?

 

 

With another RSP, via Vodafone.


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  # 2225187 26-Apr-2019 08:26
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Contact your phone provider. Asking here on the forum is probably not going to be as fast to authenticate and get your money back/scratched from the bill.

 

This is no different than those ads "You won an iPhone - click here to claim" you see on Stuff and NZ Herald (or those "Samsung is giving away phones" you see on Facebook) only be greeted with a "Quiz to check if you qualify" where they collect a lot of information - mainly adding them to their spam database.

 

This is more sophisticated as it actually costs money instead of just an avalanche of spam.

 

It's no less of a scam and you should lodge a formal complaint with your telco against this number. The sooner the better.





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  # 2225246 26-Apr-2019 09:15
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colinuu:

Linux:


Are you a Spark customer or with another RSP?



With another RSP, via Vodafone.



Sorry I see you mentioned Vodafone now in first post, You only can talk to VodafoneNZ about the charge as they are the ones that billed you



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  # 2225247 26-Apr-2019 09:16
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freitasm:

 

It's no less of a scam and you should lodge a formal complaint with your telco against this number. The sooner the better.

 

 

Already done.

 

It makes me angry that vulnerable people can be targeted this way. This scam is particularly pernicious, as you don't even know about it until the phone bill comes in, which can be weeks after the event.

 

I think Spark need to do more to restore the integrity of the 0900 system.


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  # 2225383 26-Apr-2019 10:13
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If there was no warning regarding the cost of the call in the opening message, then it would appear that the provider is in violation of Spark's T&Cs

 

 

 

https://www.spark.co.nz/help/other/terms/policies/0900policy/

 

Requirements: Subject to any exceptions contained in this Policy or Spark's specific written authorisation to the contrary, every Spark 0900 Service must:

 

     

  1. have an opening message as outlined in clause

 

Opening Message

 

Opening message: Opening messages must:

 

     

  1. be approved by Spark, if Spark so requests;
  2. be pre-recorded and provided via Spark's 0900 audiotext system or, where authorised by Spark, Spark approved Service Provider equipment equipment; or, for Internet Dialler Services, be displayed in a separate fixed dialogue box prior to connection to the Internet Dialler Service;
  3. be clear, audible (except for fax back and Internet Dialler Services) and easily comprehensible.
  4. provide:

     

       

    1. the name of the Spark 0900 Service;
    2. the name of the Service Provider;
    3. the cost of the call including whether that cost is calculated per minute or is a set fee for the entire call and whether that cost includes or excludes GST; and
    4. a warning to those not responsible for paying for the call to seek the permission of the Account Holder

     


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  # 2225547 26-Apr-2019 14:09
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wellygary:

 

If there was no warning regarding the cost of the call in the opening message, then it would appear that the provider is in violation of Spark's T&Cs

 

 

 

https://www.spark.co.nz/help/other/terms/policies/0900policy/

 

Requirements: Subject to any exceptions contained in this Policy or Spark's specific written authorisation to the contrary, every Spark 0900 Service must:

 

     

  1. have an opening message as outlined in clause

 

Opening Message

 

Opening message: Opening messages must:

 

     

  1. be approved by Spark, if Spark so requests;
  2. be pre-recorded and provided via Spark's 0900 audiotext system or, where authorised by Spark, Spark approved Service Provider equipment equipment; or, for Internet Dialler Services, be displayed in a separate fixed dialogue box prior to connection to the Internet Dialler Service;
  3. be clear, audible (except for fax back and Internet Dialler Services) and easily comprehensible.
  4. provide:

     

       

    1. the name of the Spark 0900 Service;
    2. the name of the Service Provider;
    3. the cost of the call including whether that cost is calculated per minute or is a set fee for the entire call and whether that cost includes or excludes GST; and
    4. a warning to those not responsible for paying for the call to seek the permission of the Account Holder

     

 

 

 

 

I read this thread on my phone last night and was going to reply today once I was on my laptop pretty much pointing out the same things but you've already done it.

 

Every 0900 number needs to advise the cost of the call at the start - and if it doesn't it will be in breach of Spark's T&C if they provided it.

 

If the number doesn't advise the cost you'll have goods ground to get a refund.

 

If it does I think you're simply going to have to suck it up and accept it. Yes it may be a scam, but if the provider has advised the cost of the call very clearly I'm not too sure what grounds you can really have to claim a refund.

 

 




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  # 2225549 26-Apr-2019 14:14
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@wellygary

 

Thank you for coming up with this. I think it could prove very helpful!


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  # 2225556 26-Apr-2019 14:22
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Besides the declaration of charges, you'd think it would breach this part of their 0900 policy too:

 

2(v) mislead a user in any way including by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration or omission;


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