Cell users not laughing at price of subscription text jokes
Published Wednesday, May 16, 2012 1:49PM MDT
Unwanted premium text message subscriptions have left many cell phone users frustrated when unexpected charges appear on their phone bills.
The subscription consists of companies sending jokes or trivia facts to your cell phone for a fee.
Christine Koeksal says she was tricked into giving her cell number to a premium text message service.
Koeksal says an internet pop up asked her to take part in a survey and, in return, she'd be entered to win an iPad or Walmart gift card if she provided her cell number.
Weeks after taking the survey, Koeksal's cell phone bill arrived showing $60 in charges from Mobshack, a premium text message service.
Joy Austin was also signed up to Mobshack. It's likely she was subscribed after taking a survey that popped up on Facebook.
"I said ‘How did you get our cell phone number Mr. Mobshack?'", says Austin. "'How did you get our number to even charge it? I haven't put our cell number out there anywhere. Now that you've got it, the only way I can stop you from charging it is to deactivate our cell number, is that correct?'"
The wireless industry has put some new consumer protection measures into place to prevent unsolicited premium text messages.
- Rogers now allows its customers to block all premium text messages by calling customer service.
- Telus is working on a similar text blocking technology and hopes to offer that option to customers by the end of 2012.
- Wind Mobile says it's working towards allowing customers to block only premium text messaging but couldn't provide a time frame.
- Bell said only that it can block all text messages upon customer's request but can not specifically block subscription text messages.
If you have a problem with unwanted text subscriptions, file a complaint with the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services.
Consumers who have contacted the commissioner, including Christine Koeksal, often got the subscription cancelled and their money back.