Cell Phones

"Premium" text message?

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  • Jun 16th, 2010 7:03 pm
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[OP]
Newbie
Sep 21, 2006
96 posts
5 upvotes

"Premium" text message?

Has anyone had any dealings with text88588?

They drained my mother's prepaid FIDO cell phone (used only for emergencies) of its account balance by sending text messages that cost $2/text message! :mad: The messages don't indicate that they had a fee so we'd just assumed they were spam messages and ignored them. And the FIDO website states that all incoming messages are free.

Fido claims they're not responsible for third party text messages. And when I called the customer service line on the 88588 website, all they could do was "unsubscribe" me from the service. They gave me an email to contact and when I also asked for the company's mailing address, I got a PO Box number!

I've emailed them and also lodged a complaint with CCTS.

Has anyone else been in this predicament? Was there a successful resolution of the issue i.e. full refund of the money lost?
18 replies
Deal Expert
Mar 25, 2005
21879 posts
2688 upvotes
6) I didn't know this was a subscription service?
All the advertisement material clearly state (either visually and/or verbally) that this concerns a subscription service. Further more, after subscribing the customer receives a free of charge information message stating the costs of the service, frequency, information on how to opt out and a website address for more information on the service.

7) I didn't subscribe to this service, why am I receiving messages?
Please note that we are not able nor allowed to send messages to a cell phone number which has not subscribed to the service. Please note that you are responsible for your device and the charges incurred from using it. If you are not aware of subscribing to the service, you are still receiving messages; please be advised that this could be due to the action of someone else who has had access to your phone. If you are still in dispute of the subscription, please contact your mobile service provider to discuss further, as the subscription could be due to the possibility of a recycled mobile number.
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 21, 2006
96 posts
5 upvotes
Forgive me if I take that FAQ with a grain of salt. Especially when the sole contact number they provide on the FAQ almost exclusively handles cellphone users calling to complain and unsubscribe. :lol:

(Looks like my mom was not the only person taken in by this outfit.)
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 19, 2005
1298 posts
72 upvotes
Montreal
Reply "STOP" to the SMS so they should send you a SMS without any fee saying "You are no longer registered" or something like that.

Your quite lucky it's with a prepaid account. I've seen 5$ Premium SMS on a bill that just the premium SMS where for 60$.
Member
Jan 5, 2004
256 posts
3 upvotes
Kahads wrote: Forgive me if I take that FAQ with a grain of salt. Especially when the sole contact number they provide on the FAQ almost exclusively handles cellphone users calling to complain and unsubscribe. :lol:

(Looks like my mom was not the only person taken in by this outfit.)
Wow, this is quite a scam. You have every right to be pissed.

Guaranteed that Rogers/Fido is taking the biggest part of the profit from this. Anyone can setup a shady little company to do this, but they would go nowhere is they needed to get people to give credit card, etc. They need Rogers to do their billing.
Banned
Jan 11, 2004
19816 posts
563 upvotes
Qwavel wrote: Wow, this is quite a scam. You have every right to be pissed.

Guaranteed that Rogers/Fido is taking the biggest part of the profit from this. Anyone can setup a shady little company to do this, but they would go nowhere is they needed to get people to give credit card, etc. They need Rogers to do their billing.
and i guess its also rogers fault if you use your phone to buy stuff, rogers fault if you call 1900 numbers right :o
Member
Jan 5, 2004
256 posts
3 upvotes
gilboman wrote: and i guess its also rogers fault if you use your phone to buy stuff, rogers fault if you call 1900 numbers right :o
In your first example, Rogers has nothing to do with it, and in both examples the customer isn't being tricked - they know it costs money.

In this case, Rogers is doing the billing for them. This is the critical piece that allows small, shady companies to operate. Customers are unaware that this is even possible (I'd never heard of it before). Most customers probably don't notice it on their bill since their Rogers bill is so complicated.

There are very few large companies that would be willing to facilitate this. It will make them a lot of money but it looks bad.
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 21, 2006
96 posts
5 upvotes
gilboman wrote: and i guess its also rogers fault if you use your phone to buy stuff, rogers fault if you call 1900 numbers right :o
Fido has to facilitate the billing to allow this third party to directly deduct money from the prepaid account. EVERY 1-900 number called informs you from the outset that there will be a $x/minute charge and to proceed with the call only if you agree to these charges.

In this case, except perhaps the very first text message sent (which I no longer have a copy of), NONE of these messages indicate that there is a charge for receipt. Most people would write these messages off as spam and delete them without even reading them.

In fact, the equivalent service provided by FIDO would be something like complaining about long-distance or roaming charges -- you're often not informed that you're being charged when you place a long-distance call or roam outside your area. But the FIDO website CLEARLY states that these charges will be incurred.

With these "premium" text messages (first I heard about this was last night), neither the actual message NOR FIDO's website states that a charge is incurred. In fact, the FIDO website clearly states: "Receiving text messages, regardless of where they originate, is always free."

Why would a customer assume otherwise?
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 19, 2005
1298 posts
72 upvotes
Montreal
Qwavel wrote: Wow, this is quite a scam. You have every right to be pissed.

Guaranteed that Rogers/Fido is taking the biggest part of the profit from this. Anyone can setup a shady little company to do this, but they would go nowhere is they needed to get people to give credit card, etc. They need Rogers to do their billing.
And what is the profit for Rogers & Fido.

They make 0$ profit and each time a client call to complains about the premium SMS it cost the company money for the call and the CSR might give some credit to the client also so there no advantage for them at all. Plus probably nothing from the 2$ goes in Fido/Rogers pocket.
Kahads wrote: Fido has to facilitate the billing to allow this third party to directly deduct money from the prepaid account. EVERY 1-900 number called informs you from the outset that there will be a $x/minute charge and to proceed with the call only if you agree to these charges.

In this case, except perhaps the very first text message sent (which I no longer have a copy of), NONE of these messages indicate that there is a charge for receipt. Most people would write these messages off as spam and delete them without even reading them.

In fact, the equivalent service provided by FIDO would be something like complaining about long-distance or roaming charges -- you're often not informed that you're being charged when you place a long-distance call or roam outside your area. But the FIDO website CLEARLY states that these charges will be incurred.

With these "premium" text messages (first I heard about this was last night), neither the actual message NOR FIDO's website states that a charge is incurred. In fact, the FIDO website clearly states: "Receiving text messages, regardless of where they originate, is always free."

Why would a customer assume otherwise?
It's the customer fault for not reading all the term when he register's his phone number. The only time it whould be the client's fault is if the client has some enemies and they register his phone number for him.

But for the pourcentage of people who actually want their premium SMS vs those who don't (which probably 90% of the people don't), Fido and Rogers should start considering blocking by default all premium SMS and the client who wants them whould just have to call to activate that.
Newbie
Jan 4, 2006
29 posts
I had same problem with Fido. I got at least one this kind of message each every day. By the end, I've been charged more than a buckle each. This is rip off. How can we chase down those greed, shady companies. They are out there to take advantage of every one doesn't even notice until they get their big fat bill.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 19, 2004
1928 posts
191 upvotes
Markham, ON
jcone wrote: I had same problem with Fido. I got at least one this kind of message each every day. By the end, I've been charged more than a buckle each. This is rip off. How can we chase down those greed, shady companies. They are out there to take advantage of every one doesn't even notice until they get their big fat bill.
Perhaps you should take some personal accountability. I've had a cellphone for more than a decade, never have I been billed a penny for premium messages. There are many other people who haven't either.

When you or other who have access to your cellphone decide to subscribe to these services when you see a commercial on Much Music, MTV or BET -- you get crap like this.

Facebook is another culprit.. People do these IQ tests and other garbage and subscribe to these premium messaging services.
Jr. Member
Nov 29, 2005
160 posts
aingaran wrote: Perhaps you should take some personal accountability. I've had a cellphone for more than a decade, never have I been billed a penny for premium messages. There are many other people who haven't either.

When you or other who have access to your cellphone decide to subscribe to these services when you see a commercial on Much Music, MTV or BET -- you get crap like this.

Facebook is another culprit.. People do these IQ tests and other garbage and subscribe to these premium messaging services.
You are being harsh. I am in the same situation as the OP, and not once have I ever sent a SMS to MuchMusic or MTV/BET or Canadian Idol voting for my fav contestant, etc. and I'm not a fan or a facebook addict who goes on it to tell others what I'm doing or where I'm going or what games I'm playing.
However, like you, FIDO also says that it is my fault. I've tried to STOP these services three times, but no avail. So, you would tell me that once I stop one of these services, I am going to go and knowingly sign-up for another one? and then call Fido and tell them to cancel? There are quite a few other people who are being scammed in a similar manner, and there is no way to be protected.
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Member
Sep 8, 2005
382 posts
23 upvotes
Vancouver
Just wanted to add that we've been hit with this syndrome also. Not sure where they got the number from, but are usually quite cautious to not release the phone number on the internet.

I can't believe there's no venue to stop such scams and that such providers like Rogers in our case, would not do anything for the customer. Rogers suggested we deal with the scammers ourselves - but what would that really resolve? would a thug thief really give your money back when you ask them??

:evil: :evil:
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 22, 2008
2076 posts
118 upvotes
North York
I have never used my number for subscription services like MuchMusic, BET, etc. or buy things from my phone or include my phone number. I recieved a message saying something about Haiti relief program and it charged me $0.50 premium message charge. I am not going to be super sour about the .50 cents, but I would hate to let this happen again, so I have to reply "STOP" to this right?

:evil:
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jul 20, 2006
5884 posts
38 upvotes
i was taken for $2 x 3. is that any dispute we can do for fido or just another lesson learned? damn facebook starbucks gc pwned me :(
Newbie
Jan 3, 2010
6 posts
GTA
i accidently went on a site with .com instead of the .org i was supposed to go on. looked pretty legit and even though 88588 wasnt mentioned, a signup was necessary to access. got charged $15 before i found out it was a scam
Newbie
Jun 14, 2010
1 posts
Markham
darkman007e wrote: Reply "STOP" to the SMS so they should send you a SMS without any fee saying "You are no longer registered" or something like that.

Your quite lucky it's with a prepaid account. I've seen 5$ Premium SMS on a bill that just the premium SMS where for 60$.
I am having the same problem. I checked with Fido account and my bill asked me for over $100 and it is just for Premium Text and they won't text me. If they texted me, I would reply Stop. I was wondering if Fido can cancel Premium Text on my cell phone or else my mom will cancel my phone.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jun 23, 2009
1034 posts
35 upvotes
Yea there are so many scams out there that take advantage of customers too busy to constantly check their bills for every detail. The service they provide for these premium texts is next to nothing too. Anyone defending these scams and saying how its only the customers fault an idiot. Can only hope they start receiving extra charges while they are away from the internet for a week so they can't check their bill.
Jr. Member
Sep 14, 2009
189 posts
11 upvotes
Toronto
ahbitheman wrote: Anyone defending these scams and saying how its only the customers fault an idiot.
+concur, 10,000.0% (approx : )

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