**BEWARE REVERSE CHARGE TEXTS**Serious Fraud is occurring right now!!

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Mobiles
24 replies 15.2K views
peterbakerpeterbaker
3.1K Posts
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Mobiles
I have a Vodafone PAYT SIM that I use infrequently.

My partner got a Nokia N95 at the weekend and was hunting for compatible games on the internet.

One site offered a "Free Game Download" ... 'Just enter your mobile number to be sent a link' the link sent in the second or third SMS from 85066 was on http://wap.zingtones.tv

Rather than use her normal SIM, to avoid spam texts we used my Vodafone PAYT number. That's all we gave. Just the number. No names, no agreements, no registration, no Ts&Cs.

Sadly the fraud had begun ...

Vodafone tell me that BBC News have reported this problem recently ... the 85066 texts I received cost £1.50 each TO RECEIVE!!!

I only had to open them to incur the charge.

Had I not noticed something odd about the texts and my PAYT balance, and had I not pressed to speak with a manager at Vodafone 191 I would still be being charged on a regular basis. Luckily the initial balance on my PAYT account was low and had soon dropped below £1.50. I was told that two further texts were queued to my PAYT number and they would be sent by the network when I had topped up (and would take £1.50 each from my new topped up balance should I be daft enough to open them instead of just deleting them.

Vodafone gave me a geographic number for the company responsible for fraudulently taking money from my Vodafone account. I can say FRAUD because I know I have been defrauded.

Vodafone seem to be having trouble calling it the same thing...

I said I'd come here and help them crystallise their thoughts on the matter.

The number of the company responsible is 01706 221777. They might be known as 'Mobile Streams' but the website seems to be something to do with Zing. Whether thats the same Zing that Dell are supposed to have bid to takeover, I don't know... http://www.zing.net/press.html , and I don't really care. It is careless of major companies to allow their brands and systems to be used in defrauding customers. That's why I pressed Vodafone to the extent that I told them that they would be aiding and abetting a fraud unless they did something about my report and refunded my money.

I can't believe that a mobile customer opening a text from 85066 is all that is required for Mobile Streams or whoever to dip their hand into the customer's wallet to the tune of £1.50...

Vodafone said they are working on the problem (alongwith all the other networks).

I think they'll need big reminders from affected MSE'ers.
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Replies

  • reehsetinreehsetin Forumite
    4.9K Posts
    this happens so often, at least you had some contact with the company
    some people just randomly start getting chargeable texts
    if you text back to the number 'STOP' literally just 'STOP' they have to cease sending you any more messages
    Yes Your Dukeiness :D
  • peterbakerpeterbaker
    3.1K Posts
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    We had no effective contact with any company other than Vodafone. We made no contract with any company other than Vodafone.

    That's why I gave Vodafone some stick.

    The money taken was taken from my Vodafone account.

    That's how I persuaded Vodafone to put the money back. In fact they credited my account with £10. They saw my point.

    If more people saw the point clearly, and made their mobile company see it too, then the problem would not be commonplace.

    And yes, I have now sent STOP to the scum that dipped my Vodafone account, whoever they might be...
  • Why people bother with these short codes for ringtones, games,TV voting etc I will never know.
  • peterbaker wrote: »
    We had no effective contact with any company other than Vodafone. We made no contract with any company other than Vodafone.

    That's why I gave Vodafone some stick.

    The money taken was taken from my Vodafone account.

    That's how I persuaded Vodafone to put the money back. In fact they credited my account with £10. They saw my point.

    If more people saw the point clearly, and made their mobile company see it too, then the problem would not be commonplace.

    And yes, I have now sent STOP to the scum that dipped my Vodafone account, whoever they might be...

    think your very lucky to get some money back a lot of networks will point you to the company in question and let you fight it out with them
    Yes Your Dukeiness :D
  • peterbakerpeterbaker
    3.1K Posts
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    I am not lucky. I am am just clear where I stand in this grot-pit we sometimes call the 'remarkable' UK economy.

    I won't stand for Vodafone or any other company I have an account with who have permitted fraudulent transactions to occur telling me "It's not our fault" or "It's not us taking the money" or "It's not just us it's a problem with all the networks"...

    You don't get it, do you? There is no fight to be had ... but there is justice to be done, and we all need to get with the programme to achieve zero tolerance of unscrupulous scum who dare to rip us off in the name of 'business', and zero tolerance of uncaring customer service from the big companies whose brands, accounts and systems are exploited to achieve the rip-off.

    It's easy when you think about it. If we each did our bit, the networks would have to employ specialist enforcers and we'd run half these crooks out of the country in a week.

    And Peter,
    Why people bother with these short codes for ringtones, games,TV voting etc I will never know.
    The reason people use them is because they are promoted as an arrangement whereby their mobile network controls the transaction via a protected electronic account not disimilar to a bank account. You do use banks I presume?
  • Pleased you got your money back

    Red Circle Technologies have already been investigated by Icstis and "fined"

    May 2002
    http://66.102.9.104/search?q=cache:6I1Gid-J_p0J:www.icstis.org/pdfs_news/IMR89.pdf+%22Red+Circle+Technologies%22icstis&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=5&gl=uk
    page 12
    working with Opera Telecom

    09 Oct 2006
    http://www.phonepayplus.org.uk/consumers/adjudications/default.asp?AD=24%2F09%2F2007&SP=Red+Circle+Technologies&ST=&SpLookup=Search&Keywords=&cmd=2
    working with 2 Ergo Ltd

    which would tend to ask whether the fines Icstis (PhonePayPlus) are levying deterrents or "tax".
  • Just so you know...

    you don't have to 'open' the texts messages to be charged. you are charged as soon as you receive them. Or more-over as soon as you have credit and the text passes through the network's charging system.

    the T&C's are generally advertised on the site somewhere, or you are referred to a site at some stage.

    Your acceptance of these terms is through sending an SMS to the 5-digit code.

    your contract is with Vodafone. Vodafone have a contract with 3rd party SMS companies who in turn provide you with the 'service' of games.

    When you buy a can of Cola from sainsbury's, you have entered into a contract with Sainsbury's for the sale of the product. However, as the manufacturer of the item, you have an asymilated contract with the company. which is why you can sue them if the prodcut is defective.

    In much the same way, the T&C's of your contract will allow for the provision of the agreements with 3rd part SMS companies.

    When you spoek to a manager, he did not 'see your point of view'. He merely understood it would be more efficient to keep you sweet by offering to return your £10. This keeps you happy, keeps him and you off the phone, and probably saves time in dealing with your issue. Time costs money. If it had been £30,000 and you had used the service but was unhappy... he would have directed you to the company to make a complaint, and would not have just written off your bill.

    If you read your contract, you will see something to the effect of the agreement i mention above.

    It would be ludicrous to believe that you are not bound by the T&Cs, because this is a very lucrative business for both network and service providers.


    On the other hand, if it is a scam (you never signed up to it, never were shown any T&Cs etc..) the issue would still need to be resolved (generally) with the service provider (ie, the 5-digit short-code provider). As although Vodafone may bill you, they are billing you based on services supposedly delivered to you. but in most cases, if the amount is low, companies will tend to refund and appologise to keep you happy.

    proplusplus
    Information provided is offered as a guide, and should not be deemed to be 100% accurate/correct. Please verify with the appropriate company/legislation for confirmation. Always seek verification to ensure you do not encounter future problems!
  • to to put it another way: theft
  • T & C on the site you've posted the link for clearly set out the charges, they only need to be read.
  • beefturnmailbeefturnmail Forumite
    833 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭
    I too have also been the victim of this type of fraud on more than one occasion. It's worth pointing out that providers take a cut of the profit from these texts (in the region of 15p for a £1.50 text I think). I found that 'reminding' Vodafone of this was a fairly effective counter to the 'it's not our fault' line.
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