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Unsolicited Reverse Bill Texts


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I have been a victim of a mobile phone [problem] that I did not know had existed, its called unsolicited reverse bill texts. It is when out of the blue you receive a text message or three, you of course delete them thinking they are spam, then find when you get your bill that you have been charged £1.50 each for them. In the most extreme case I found one guy had nearly 150 texts when he switched on his phone.

The Networks all deny responsibilty, telling you cannot receive these text unless you subscribe, a lie!

Ofcom tell you to contact Icstis, who are a industry self regulated body, they tell you the same story. Then look at their web site and you will find lists of adjudication against companies for this fraud.

In my case my details were obtained buy the company purchasing a mailing list, but the ICO were not interested.

The trading standards are not interested, the Police have an interest but because these companies operate within a grey area of the law they cannot act.

The DTI are confused as to what to do about it, upon questions in the HoC Margaret Hodge said that it was not illegal to sent unsolicited reverse bill texts but the DTI say different. Who is correct?

When a complaint is made Icstis reprimands the company and fines them, then they are allowd to continue the [problem] with another partner. They are told to refund all partie that have complained but Icstis do not have the power to force them, so they don't.

No one seems to control and industry that turned over £1.6b in 2005

 

Have you been a victim?

Have you got any advice? :confused:

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You advise your network to bar Premium Rate texts. Believe it or not, the networks HAVE this ability, but many staff are unaware that it can be done. And if truth be told, it is not in the network's interest to cut a revenue stream.

 

If you've been a victim - or even if you haven't DEMAND that the bar be placed on your account. It works for contract AND pre-pay. I'm with Orange, and I cannot receive any text message that has a charge element.

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This is one of the many avenues that I have been down. All the networks except one, T-Mobile, will not bar incoming premium rate texts. This is due to contracts with the content providers to keep 100% of the traffic running, in my case it was he same content provider that was involved in the [problem]. I have contacted both my networks, o2 & Vodafone, and wrote to Orange, T-Mobile & 3UK, only T-mobile wrote back with a positive and helpful answer.

If you have manged to get yourself protected against incoming chargable texts you are one of the lucky few.

You would not believe how common these scams are, I didn't, and how much they earn the crooks.

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I don't think I'm lucky - I just complained until I found the person who knew what to do. The threat of court action also helps, as you can raise a small claims action asking the court to ensure the network put the block in place, but Orange and O2 complied without this.

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That's a different issue! As a consumer you should have a choice whether to purchase services willingly. Reverse charge is like Direct Debit - you're NOT in control. EVERYTHING on a mobile network is customisable, so the fact they say nothing can be done proves their ability to lie - and the consumer needs to assert control.

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It is worse than a direct debit, as with a DD a disputed debit will be immediately refunded by the bank. In this case you receive the texts & then charged immediately without your knowledge. You then have to TRY to prove that you never subscribed to the damn service and you are a victim of a [problem]. All those around you who you think will help,

the networks, Ofcom & Icstis are telling that you must be guilty and don't ant to know. You have nowhere to go believe me, I have tried.:Cry:

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As busby says it is worth trying to get the network to bar these texts. However if your network is being hard work there is another method.

 

All premium text service providers, as a term of their service must respond to the keyword "STOP" or "STOP ALL". More info and what you can do if this doesn't work at http://www.short-codes.com/assets/STOP.pdf

All my posts are made without prejudice and may not be reused or reproduced without my express permission (or the permission of the forums owners)!

 

17/10/2006 Recieve claim against me from lloyds TSB for £312.82

18/10/06 S.A.R - (Subject Access Request) sent

03/02/07 Claim allocated to small claims. Hearing set for 15/05/07. Lloyds ordered to file statement setting out how they calculate their charges

15/05/07 Lloyds do not attend. Judgement ordered for £192 approx, £3 travel costs and removal of default notice

29/05/07 4pm Lloyds deadline for payment of CCJ expires. Warrant of execution ready to go

19/06/07 Letter from court stating Lloyds have made a cheque payment to court

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hi Gino32

 

yes you are totally correct. These thefts committed by the premium rate industry in partnership with the mobile billing platforms are extremely common.

 

The DTI, Ofcom and Icstis know exactly what is going on. Unsolicited reverse billed theft happens because the market place has been rigged to allow it to happen.

 

Who was the content provider? Have you any details? Ask your operator details of the "service" they billed for.

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Davethorpe, you are correct in that all you have to do is return a text with'stop' or 'stop all', well in a perfect world! We are talking about companies that are involved in a [problem], a nice word for fraud. They ignore the request and continue to send texts, I have found countless victims that are left helpless because no one will act to stop these theives.

goodwill, you are 100% correct. They all know it's happening but it suits their profit level to ignore it, it's the reason why they refuse to block incoming premium rate texts.

The companies involved were Dialogue Communications, PNC Telecom & Moby Magic. On 30.4.07 Icstis adjudicated against Dialogue & Moby Magic reprimanding them and a fine of £10,000. Dialogue were told to refund all complainants, which mount to only 41 out of many thousands of texts they sent out. Moby Magic had used a mailing list which they had purchased, which included my details. Dialogue are a wap web partner of Vodafone (hence the lack of help I received from Vodafone), they have five Icstis adjudications against them, four for sending out unsolicited reverse bill texts, one for the 0871 phone [problem]. PNC Telecom for some reason were not even mentioned in the Icstis adjudication, yet were part of the [problem]. Icstis refused to tell me why they were not included.

I applied for the return of the cost of the texts as per the Icstis adjudication: 'Not our responsibility' says Dialogue 'go to PNC': 'Not our responsibility' says PNC 'go to Moby Magic'. Moby Magic have sent an e-mail they they will refund at the end of May. Yet they had promised a refund back in March which never arrived. And what of Icstis you may ask? They are looking into it and waiting for a reply!

You could not make it up if you tried. It is legalised theft.

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PNC are not the issue - they are deemed not liable for the uses their clients put to the premium numbering resource. However if they are seen to be wantonly having a higher proportion of 'problem' customers than most, the OFT can act. (In much the same way the car hire co is NOT liable for the fines etc of its customers).

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I disagree Buzby: They were an active part of the [problem], taking profit from the sending of unsolicited reverse bill texts to innocent victims. Why should they not be punished?

The OFT did not bother to send an acknowledgement to my letter! :mad:

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PNC are not the issue - they are deemed not liable for the uses their clients put to the premium numbering resource. However if they are seen to be wantonly having a higher proportion of 'problem' customers than most, the OFT can act. (In much the same way the car hire co is NOT liable for the fines etc of its customers).

what a load of bull

and not for the first time

I can only asssume you are "on the game".

 

I disagree Buzby: They were an active part of the [problem], taking profit from the sending of unsolicited reverse bill texts to innocent victims. Why should they not be punished?

The OFT did not bother to send an acknowledgement to my letter! :evil:

@ Gino Have you asked anybody for a refund. If so what reply?

 

I'm a consultant to Moby Magic and am therefore acting on their behalf.

 

Moby Magic can confirm that they are in receipt of your letter to Dialogue, and a refund of £4.50 will be made by end of May.

 

Apologies for the delay in this matter.

 

James McNab

For and On behalf of

Moby Magic

"I'm a consultant to Moby Magic" actually he's the Director of Marketing for

PNC.

NOC E-Newsletter: PNC appoints new marketing director as part of business expansion

Remember PNC buzby? PNC aka Telecom One? "The Great Phone Call Con"?

BBC NEWS | Business | The Great Phone Call Con

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@ Goodwill: That quote from the e-mail from Mr McNab looks familiar,especially the way it's edited !!! It's the one I received from the man himself. I found out this morning that our Mr McNab was one of the 'head honchos' of PNC Telecom from a guy with a superb knowledge of this whole murky industry, you may of heard of him and his pals?.

As you will see from one of my earlier postings I am waiting on a refund, but it's not over till the fat lady sings!

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what a load of bull

and not for the first time

I can only assume you are "on the game".

 

Get a life. If all you can do is hurl abuse, there are better places to waste your time than here. This is a place that tells it like it is, not what you feel is 'right'. Which 'game' are you referring to? Prostitution?

 

Remember PNC buzby? PNC aka Telecom One? "The Great Phone Call Con"?

BBC NEWS | Business | The Great Phone Call Con

 

Sure I do - I was at the launch of the 'Personal Number Company' and met the first tranche of directors. They were convinced they'd make their money on the newly launched 07 number range for 'follow me' numbers.

 

As for what they've done subsequently - you seem to think that a 'con' (if that's what you say they a perpetrating) it does not necessarily follow it is illegal. If that's what you want to assert, why not take this risk of court action on your own shoulders and not involve CAG.

 

For a [problem] to work, it takes two.

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:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

'For a [problem] to work, it takes two'

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

 

Sorry Buzzer yet again I say you are wrong.

 

I was one of many Innocent victims of this [problem], I had no knowledge of it. To me I had received spam texts and so deleted them as anyone would do. It was only I researched what had happened to me that I first saw the phrase unsolicited reverse bill texts.

 

'For a [problem] to work, it takes two' - I don't think so!

 

It takes one company, an agreggator (the service provider/the sender) and another company, the information provider, to construct the text messages. Then you need mugs like me, you & Goodwill and millions of other mobile phone accounts which they get from buying customer lists. There's also a computer program that generates phone numbers from random, 'these dont exist I was told', yet so easy to find on the net.

Buzzer old mate these are the real ingredients for a [problem], it is not as simple as 'it takes two'. Sorry, no offence, but you don't seem to have grasped the situation here.

 

Final Insult: After they keep theiving £4.50 from your mobile phone account, everyone that knows better tells you that you are at fault and they cant do anything about it. They tell you that these companies are not breaking the law! (It seems that no one has gone to law to dispute this fact)

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Who is to blame for the situation we find ourselves? Even this site has supporters of Direct Debit, who are happy to abdicate financial responsibility to third parties they hardly know in the blind belief it will be 'easier' for them. It was this relinquishing of financial control that made the arrival of reverse-charge text a no-brainier.

 

Trust us - we can deliver the services you want, and take payment from your phone bill. I thought it stunk, and complained to OFTEL. Did you?

 

The fact they continue to do this is a testament to hoe people don't care - your protestations are some 10 years too late. The OFT feel nothing is wrong, and with the control you once had over your financial affairs just a memory, it'll take some doing to get back to where we once were.

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I don't think that you can generalise in saying that 'this is a testiment to those people who don't care' and 'my protestations are 10 years too late' (or are you trying to widen the scope of this thread?)

 

I am a good example; I have owned a mobile phone for over 25 years. I thought I had a good knowledge of what is going on, I read up on all the latest gadgets, new price plans etc. It is not until you are a victim of these scams that you find out the hard way all about them.

 

They originally aimed the scams at the youngsters with PAYG mobiles because they were easy to hit, because of the web sites the kids use, and they are difficult to trace. The kids only realize they have been scammed when they find they have no credit left.

 

The reverse charge text was an accident waiting to happen, it was shouting out 'easy [problem] maker'. Those in control could not or did not want to see it, mega bucks involvement tends to make it difficult to see hear and reason.

 

The media are not interested in these scams I tried, even though they earn the crooks millions. The TV scams make good news, it's still going on. Yet there wasn't even a half a dozen, there have been millions of unsolicited reverse bill texts sent. It just does not make good newspaper space.

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The people at the time most certainly 'didn't care' OFTEL only received 28 'concerns' at the introduction of reverse-charge SMS. Or, they didn;t have a viewpoint until the process was permitted, THEN they saw the problem.

 

For these services 'You must be over 18, and ask the bill-payers permission'. Pardon? They offer a service where the consumer has to self-certify their age and bill responsibility. No checks! How is this so different from cinemas declaring only those over 12 15 or 18 get in to see the certificated picture. I forgot, there's a gatekeeper - the paybox, who looks at you before selling you a ticket. A safety net that is absent from the mobile phone scenario.

 

Can a user escape these charges by saying they were not authorised or requested? Nope. Just as we are supposed to be innocent until proved guilty, a phone user is deemed to have requested the services and agreed T&C, and when redress is required, everyone turns their back and says its all the consumers fault.

 

Now, the 'kids' you refer to have ordered a product because they want it - they only see their immediate requirement, and ignore or do not comprehend their commitment. You say this is a '[problem]', I disagree - if the purchaser has not the ability to know what they are doing, they shouldn't be doing it.

 

Sure there's small print telling you all the bad stuff, that's called marketing. But to claim that it's all a '[problem]' is too wide a brush to paint the problem. The media is right, it takes TWO to tango, and just as someone happily takes out a 110% Provident loan doesn't mean these loans are illegal or the company are [problem] merchants.

 

Folk have to take responsibility for their actions, it's the only way to learn. You call folk who offer these services 'crooks'. Why have they not been prosecuted? Because it's LEGAL. If you don't like it, change the system.

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the sending of "unsolicited reverse billed text messages" are unlawful in two ways.

 

http://www.mpsonline.org.uk/tps/

This is because under the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2004 it is unlawful to send an unsolicited sales and marketing text message.

and

Knowingly taking money you are not legally entitled to is theft.

and yes why don't the police investigate it.

Because the government instructed to police to refer all complaints to Icstis.

As soon as somebody tries to defend this you can be pretty sure they are involved in the industry somehow.

 

The government knows that if the con, [problem], fraud and theft marketing methods the telecom/premium rate industry employ were "outlawed" the industry would go tits up.

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The government knows that if the con, [problem], fraud and theft marketing methods the telecom/premium rate industry employ were "outlawed" the industry would go tits up.

 

You give them too much intelligence. If they did go bust, the only folk to miss them would be the shareholders.

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Buzby

 

The rights and wrongs of the premium rate texts, we can go round in circles all day, the fact is they are with us. I can see they have their uses within the telecoms industry, but as in life there is always some 'scroats' that will look to make an easy buck. This is where the problems lay.

 

The law is not clear enough, I was explained about this by the City of London Police. There is a grey area in which they operate, not legal & not illegal. Until something is done to outlaw these crooks any mobile phone account is at risk.

 

The Networks are earning money, even from the scams they take their share which can be up to 35p per text. Ofcom pass the buck and Icstis look after their own, so where does leave me and the other innocent victims of these [problem].

 

Sorry Buzzer, we the victims are not to blame. The premium rate/telecoms industry is running wild and until laws are made to put it in check and give us the protection we enjoy with all other services, including my own, we have problems.

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To be honest, our views are not that far apart. It is just that we get the services we deserve - and whilst you correctly point out there are [problematic] afoot, the truth is EVERYTHING we deal with involves [causing problems] to a greater or lesser extent, from charity collections - all the way up to this very site condoning premium texts. It's just another avenue to make money out of the public. You'll never get premium texts stopped because of fraud or scams in much the same way as charities will not be banned because there are some folk out there using them as get-rich-quick schemes.

 

The problem AISI is that we should all have the right to opt-out of premium rate scams, but certain networks do their level best to ensure we do not unless threatened by court action.

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are you connected to the biz buzz

 

The reason I ask. Several months ago I posted information concerning a particular internet dialler fraud case.

I thought at the time it was strange that you should be so eager to attack the victims of that fraud in order to protect the companies involved.

 

I realise that subject can appear complicated to some and that's what I put your apparent misunderstanding down to.

 

Now with unsolicited reversed billed text messages I find it very difficult to see how any body could try to justify them.

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Nope. I'm just a firm believer in taking responsibility for ones life instead of expecting a 'nanny state' to look after you.

 

For rogue diallers, you take your own precautions. Ensure you're NOT compromised - not bleat to a firm because they had the ability to make money from your errors. For virus attacks, you do the same - not look for someone easy to blame.

 

Nobody can justify 'unsolicited' reverse charge messages, but the trouble is many folk have actually inadvertently signed up, but are not aware of doing so. For those that genuinely did not, court action, forcing the network or supplier to prove that you did, is a useful ploy.

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