Tuesday, February 20, 2007

We've Been Robbed

Not meaning to be too dramatic but we have been robbed. Not in the "stick 'em up" sense but in cyberspace. Now, we both have mobile phones. And they cost a bit of money to maintain. I put $30 credit into Miky's phone a week ago. Four days later she tried to call me but was told that her credit was less than $2. Only problem is that phone calls between our phones are free.

Angry mode. I rang Optus customer service to find out why was it so. They quickly told me that we had been receiving text messages from a company which charges $4.50 every time you receive one. I had seen one of these messages and it went along the lines of "If you want to download sexy babes just text to etc, etc". And for this we get charged $4.50? If you wish to unsubscribe text "stop" to .

At first I just thought it was a scam to get you to validate your mobile phone number to some scammers. But now, after some $27 has been stolen from Miky's credit, I don't think that it is a scam anymore. It is robbery. And of the faceless kind.

The Optus customer service dude new exactly how to unscribe from this service and he even had their name and customer service phone number. That started ringing alarm bells straight away. Optus are obviously fully aware of this problem. They warned us to be careful when handing out our mobile number for competitions and marketing - things that we never do. Armed with the telephone number I finished my call.

Next day I rang this Mobile Messenger customer service line. You don't talk to a person. Surprise, surprise. You are prompted to use the keypad of your telephone to input your mobile phone number. Do I look like a schmuk? Normally holding the line lets you talk to an operator. No such luck. You just keep getting prompted for your mobile number. So I tried again and input 0400 000 000. It let me through to the next menu. The second menu gave me two options and one of them included leaving a message for a customer service operator to call me back. I left a message.

No phone call. I rang Optus again to let them know how unhappy I was and for them to give me the Telecommunications Ombudsman's number - 1800 062 058 in Australia. This person will be getting a call. Theft is not on in my book, fella. This time Optus informed me to call them to ask for my credit to be refunded. As if that is going to happen.

Maybe I should call the Australian Tax Office to investigate them. Mobile Messenger is supposed to be provide a *cough* service and as such should be registered for the Goods and Services Tax. I'm afraid that what we receive was not a service. Are they passing on the tax money being collected? Yes, I'm wild.

Check out their Website. It is full of bullshit about nothing, e.g. we use the latest technology to do wonderful things for our customers, blah, blah. They go to great lengths to say fantastic things but don't quantify anything. They even have call centres in Australia, not India, where you can talk to a customer service rep 24 hours a day. No phone number to contact them on the Website however. More alarm bells.

I'll let you know when I get to the bottom of this.


tmz_99 said...

Yeah, it's fucking criminal.. :S however they showed a number of these scams on the news a year or so ago when they first surfaced and appearantly they are a lisence to print money. They even showed how some like to keep you talking, ie: you get an sms just saying "hi", which costs you $5, and you txt back "who is this" cha ching, $5, "oh you must remember me ?" cha ching... this sorta thing is crap but yeah.. legal.

James said...

Tam had a similar issue, but with a ringtone club, she was getting a crap http address sent to her. When she rang Vodaphone about it they stopped it for her and gave her $60 back in credit that she said she had lost. Maybe you should consider changing your service company??

lori said...

you did need to reply stop to those messages, and if you unsubscribe, through the IVR at mobile messenger, it will unsubscribe you.

secondly, TIO won't do anything against mobile messenger, you might need to contact DOCEP instead or ACMA.

the reason why the consultant knew what numbers to give you, is approximatel 30% of most calls into any call centre now consists of angry customers getting 3rd party charges.

Hammy said...

Thanks for the valuable feedback Lori. Now I just have to work out what the acronyms stand for.

I've left a couple of messages for Mobile Messenger to call me but, strangely enough, I get a message that I'm not one of their registered customers. No-one has called me yet. I'm going to start turning blue soon.