or … sms.ac is evil!
A little background…
I have a family plan with my wife and daughter for our cell phones. We share 1,000 weekday minutes and also have free weekends, text messaging, voice mail etc. Our monthly bill is about $300, but much of it is to run our businesses.
My daughter was using way to many of our daytime minutes with calls and voicemail, so she switched to text messaging with a vengeance. After paying the first bill where she was way over the text message limit (she paid her part), we switched to a plan giving us 2,500 free text messages a month.
On the last bill I see an extra charge for $236 for 472 messages. As there was only a total of 1099 messages I assume there is some kind of mistake. The 472 messages are billed as premium services (I know some of you are way ahead of me). So I guess that maybe my daughter was sending photos or something.
When I called Rogers they said that the premium messages where sent by a third party and the extra charge had nothing to do with them. This puzzled me, when had I authorized this and did they have it in writing?
They said that my daughter must have answered yes to a spam she received on her cell phone. “That’s it,” I wonder? I have to give Rogers 4 pieces of information so they will talk to me about my account, but one button push on her phone allows a flood of spam I have to pay for?
So I did some quick research today, and anyone with information to add should feel free to do so.
There is a website called sms.ac that sends out text message invitations for people to register for free. These messages appear to come from your friends, as they harvest accounts from other friend’s address books. I don’t know if my daughter signed up or not, she says not, but is not known for her memory. There is no mention that future messages will be sent at a furious rate, at a cost of 40 cents each.
They then start sending messages to your phone that anyone would consider spam. My daughter started complaining about receiving these messages and asked how to stop them. I told her to phone Rogers. Never in a million years did I consider that I might be paying 40 cents each for this waste of bandwidth.
So when I phone Rogers to complain they say these bills have nothing to do with them. I point out that this company has a write up on Roger’s web site, collects their money through Roger’s bills (which I’m sure Rogers get a cut of), on a cellular system which Rogers owns.
I am surprised how unsympathetic Rogers is. They seem to think receiving hundreds of text messages with no contract and no authorization other than their assertion that we pushed a button is perfectly reasonable. Rogers evidently put in a form to stop these messages, and on my request gave us $50 towards customer good will. I wanted $200.
As I go to previous bills I see that we have been charged 87, 56, 21 and 8.50 in previous months. I noticed the 87, and had my daughter pay it, but thought it was for things like ring tones and games. No where are the premium services itemized. So we have paid about $400 to sms.ac for spam.
So feel free to tell me how stupid I was for not scrutinizing our bills closer. In my defence these bill are 20 pages long of micro print and the bill in question is on one line.
I know this kind of business practice would never fly in most areas of business. I looked on the Internet and saw some rage against sms.ac and Rogers, but not the ground swell I would have expected. I will probably still write to Rogers, and maybe to the BBB and Gov’t so there is at least a record of this practice.
Any suggestions or similar experiences are welcome. How do I stick it to the man?