My window to the world


Telecom and Vodafone discontinue services to Funmobile

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Feb-2011 11:34

I found out today that both Telecom New Zealand (1) and Vodafone New Zealand (2) have discontinued their services to Funmobile, a company that provides customers with "entertainment" Premium SMS services.

Premium SMS services are those short codes used to either subscribe to a service, enter a competition, provide feedback, etc.

Funmobile is just one of the services offering "entertainment" over SMS. In theory the interested users visit a website, enters their mobile number, and receives a SMS asking for a reply to confirm the subscription. If you want to stop receiving these Premium SMS you can reply "STOP" to their number.

The "entertainment" can be anything really, such as mobile ringtones, horoscopes, etc. They are recurring, sometimes multiple SMS a week, with prices varying from a few cents each, up to a few dollars. This sure drains some people's account very quickly.

On account customers can see where their money is going to, but prepay customers don't have a bill with detailed description of charges, so most of the times they only see their balance going away every week...

Some people should know better, read the small fineprint, etc.

But then there are those who got involved without knowing, or understanding what was going on. For example people who authorised third party Facebook applications to access their profile when participating of a promotion, or people who got caught by scammers running sites that pretend to be YouTube offering a competition.

I heard some cases of people who bought brand new prepaid SIM cards, and their numbers were already subscribed to these services. Obviously the previous owner got sick of the charges, got a new number, and let the old one lapse. The operators just put the recycled number back in the pool and someone got unlucky.

Regardless, it's something for years people have been posting on Geekzone. While it's all well and legal for mobile operators to put the blame on customers (who should know better), things happen. We know some people won't read the fineprint. And that's where these "entertainment services" make their money. And it's not moral.

I posted about this back in August 2009, asking operators to stop doing business with this companies. It took only a year and half, but now they have done the right thing.

Good job. The mobile operators provide a good service in New Zealand, but they should go beyond the technical side of things, and make sure their infrastructure is not used to take money out of their customers' accounts.Here are some posts about this scam:

Text Message Scam

Rogue SMS Subscription Services and Vodafone

YouTube ripped me off





comments powered by Disqus

freitasm's profile

Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

I'm the Geekzone admin. On Geekzone we publish news, reviews and articles on technology topics. The site also has some busy forums.

Subscribe now to my blog RSS feed or the Geekzone RSS feed.

If you want to contact me, please use this page or email me freitasm@geekzone.co.nz. Note this email is not for technical support. I don't give technical support. You can use our Geekzone Forums for community discussions on technical issues.

Here's is my full disclosure post.

A couple of blog posts you should read:

Social networks presence

View Mauricio Freitas's profile on LinkedIn


My Blog by tags...

Blog...
Entrepreneurship...
Media...
Personal...
State of Browsers...
Technology...
Viral Marketing...
Web Performance Optimization...
Windows...
Windows Phone...

Other recent posts in my blog

Microsoft Ignite New Zealand, ...
If the headlines indicate the ...
Geekzone data analytics with P...
State of browsers Geekzone Mar...
2Cheap Cars discussion...
Now with more fibre...
Unlimited is not unlimited: Vo...
How bad is Vodafone cable at t...
Frustrated with Microsoft Fami...
State of browsers Geekzone Mar...

New posts on Geekzone