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Premium Text Message Scams


I'm currently on hold with Koodo waiting to speak to a manager. I have just wasted at least an hour of my life to get a $5 charge reversed for a Premium Text Message charge for which I never subscribed. Googling while on hold I find that the Competition Bureau is currently suing the Big Three over these charges, from which they are profiting big time. It appears Rogers now offers the ability to block all Premium messages. When are Telus and Koodo planning to offer the same service and, hopefully, make it the default, rather than an opt-in?

21 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +4
What premium text message scams are you referring to exactly?
Userlevel 2
Paul "Kid Android" Deschamps wrote:

What premium text message scams are you referring to exactly?

He might be referring to an impending case relating to premium messages over believed misleading representation. Not sure about the full details.
Userlevel 5
From what I understand, Koodo will give a one time only credit for premium messages. If you were given a previous credit for this then you should have been told how to stop getting charged (usually it is by texting the message STOP to the the 5 or 6 digit number), unless you said that you did agree to the premium message. So how did it turn out?
Yeah, would be nice if Telus/Koodo had the ability to block premium messages. I mean is there an actual premium message service that isn't a scam?
Userlevel 7
Badge +4
Aaron MacIntyre wrote:

Yeah, would be nice if Telus/Koodo had the ability to block premium messages. I mean is there an ...

It isnt a scam if you signed up for the subscription though because it says cleary at the bottom of every page how much you will be charged for this subcription. Its nobodys fault but your own when you type in your phone # in these sites/pages.
Aaron MacIntyre wrote:

Yeah, would be nice if Telus/Koodo had the ability to block premium messages. I mean is there an ...

I had a friend who ran his parents phone bill up into the thousands calling 900 numbers when he was a kid. I could see a kid doing the same thing with these pointless premium messages. You can block 900 numbers, why not premium messages. Not to mention Rogers of all places offers the block, the guys notorious for not giving a crap about their customers.
can I ask what are premium messages? sorry that I don't know :S
neonfreak52 wrote:

can I ask what are premium messages? sorry that I don't know :S

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/09/14/pol-competition-bureau-sues-telecoms-over-texts.html This was the article referenced in the original post, and describes premium messages as: "Premium texting lets consumers subscribe for ringtones, horoscopes and other services, but can cost up to $10 per transaction, and up to $40 for a monthly subscription. Those costs are on top of standard text messaging plans. It can be difficult to figure out how to unsubscribe and the bureau alleges that ads for the service are misleading about the cost." aka, scam.
neonfreak52 wrote:

can I ask what are premium messages? sorry that I don't know :S

whoaaa ok, thanks! i had no idea. I'm glad I didn't sign up for anything like that so far. I'm sorry you're having troubles - that's so weird you got premium message without signing up!
neonfreak52 wrote:

can I ask what are premium messages? sorry that I don't know :S

Yeah, thankfully I've never had it happen to me, but I can easily see somebody signing up for them not realizing they're committing to a monthly subscription. I feel for the op. Honestly I think such things should be blocked by default. If a user wants to use them, they have to log in to self serve and change it or call in. I know Koodo isn't obligated to do such a thing, but it would be nice, give people the impression that the company might care. I mean we all know they don't, but the impression would be there 😉
Userlevel 4
These "premium" services should be blocked by default and only enabled on request by the account owner. These "premium" services are in invitation to fraud, especially text messages. Reverse charged premium text messages are the worst.
Userlevel 2
The CWTA (Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association) website, which Koodo is a member of, links to the website here in regards to information about text messages in general. It is very clear what constitutes consent for premium messages in the FAQ section:

"All advertising material for a subscription-based service must clearly state the cost of the service. After subscribing, the customer receives a free administration message indicating the cost of the service, message frequency and a web site address for more information. Premium subscription services require that you confirm your subscription twice. This is done to ensure that the user is aware of the cost per message, the frequency of messages as well as the opt-out information. The user must take affirmative action to acknowledge the terms of the subscription service. The user must reply to this message with the keyword YES in order to accept the terms of the subscription. If you wish to cancel a service, reply with the keyword STOP."

Entering your telephone number to a website is not enough to constitute consent. You have to approve the service from the device with an affirmative in a text that you send back.If this does not happen; then there is no consent and is fraud at that point.
Userlevel 4
demon_390 wrote:

The CWTA (Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association) website, which Koodo is a membe...

Fraud from the premium msg provider...not the mobile phone provider, correct?
Userlevel 2
demon_390 wrote:

The CWTA (Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association) website, which Koodo is a membe...

It might be premium message fraud initially but phone companies are making a cut on these messages; so Koodo would actually be profiting from these messages. Another issue is that the wireless companies are partnering with these premium messages or they would not have been able to charge to the account. So the wireless carrier is not even policing their own code listed above. I would like to see a carrier prove with the affirmative message if I had to pay a bill for a premium message and the CRTC is proposing a requirement for the onus to be on carriers to prove that a premium message was consented to. If the carrier association is posting requirements above, then they are in affect responsible for the violation. Had that not been posted, then it would be only an issue for stopping subsequent messages and finding a way to prevent it. There is a lawsuit started by the competition bureau as a result of charges and believed misleading representations. Rogers has already proven that they can block certain premium messages; they already do. If a carrier is acting as a billing agent and sets rules such as that for "double opt-in" then it needs to be honoured. As a customer I'm relying on the fact that this situation would not happen and be confident that someone would not simply start charging for messages based on nothing other than a number. It would be just as easy to get a list of mobile numbers based on exchages (i.e. first 3 digits of a 7 digit number eg. [b]880-0000) and start war texting or something to that effect for revenue. Another question is if the association sets these rules but doesn't police them, who does?
Userlevel 4
demon_390 wrote:

The CWTA (Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association) website, which Koodo is a membe...

Seems like you've dopne your homework. How else can these services be billed to a phone if there is not bill to post it? That's the only reasion why premium messages are charged on a carrier's bill. I have not read anywhere that proves that carriers get a cut. Can you post a link that has these facts?
Userlevel 2
demon_390 wrote:

The CWTA (Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association) website, which Koodo is a membe...

which someone else found from the other question . At the end, Koodo does admit to getting a cut. My links are embedded into the words such as "competition bureau"
Userlevel 4
demon_390 wrote:

The CWTA (Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association) website, which Koodo is a membe...

Are we having the same coversation on two threads? hahaha 😛
Userlevel 2
demon_390 wrote:

The CWTA (Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association) website, which Koodo is a membe...

I'm trying the HTML coding (you can find all the allowable HTML allowed at the bottom reply under [i][b]Some HTML allowed) I thought the links look cleaner this way.
Userlevel 2
demon_390 wrote:

The CWTA (Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association) website, which Koodo is a membe...

I never questioned the billing route but the way it's done. I'm under the belief that it could be run similar as a credit card in protection. Initiating a chargeback reverses the charge against the merchant (or in this case premium messages). This would stop penalizing either the customer or the carrier for violations and force vendors to clean up; with credit cards, there is substantial protection. This also has the potential for expanding the market if people have some protection against questionable merchants (like Visa or MasterCard does). There's serious potential here but not when you have situations such as these. The method also provides an incentive for carriers to commence chargebacks (they might be able to keep the profit at expense of violating merchant). There would also be a need for provisions to catch friendly fraud (i.e. buyers remorse and claim as fraudulent). The vendors would have the chance to prove the consent.
Userlevel 2
demon_390 wrote:

The CWTA (Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association) website, which Koodo is a membe...

Damn it, I just realized that I wrote the same answer in two threads. Next time I'll choose one and just refer to it. I keep forgetting to refresh causing some gaps here. That message you wrote about the same conversation in two threads just showed up. This will be the thread I refer to.
Userlevel 6
I totally agree with you Mark. I just hope the government would also investigate the companies that are sending premium messaging. Those companies should be fined. But it is also a good thing to block it on the carriers end.

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