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munchieblue
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Premium Texts

After a very long discussion, Virgin Mobile have credited my account for £9.00 for 3 premium texts. They then went onto explain this was a "one and only credit" and any further texts, I would be required to claim back from the company directly?

I requested for a block on all premium texts on my account, as this is not a service I want or need, but was told this was not possible??

  • Why is it allowed for a "marketing" company to find my number and send me texts I have to pay for?
  • Why do Virgin mobile just pass on the charges automatically?
  • Why can't Virgin mobile just block all premium texts?
  • Can this happen again from another "marketing" company?
  • Do other mobile providers have a service for opting out of premium texts?

Although Virgin have credited my account I feel the statement of "a one and only credit" as more of a threat with no real options of stopping further abuse/fraud/harassment of my account.

 

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Superuser
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Message 2 of 10
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Re: Premium Texts

Hi munchieblue,


premium texts are a subscription based service, providing some sort of content such as news, games, competitions etc.

You will at some point have needed to sign up (perhaps you did so accidentally, e.g. not ticking a box or something).

Virgin aren't to know beforehand what you do or do not not want. So allow the service to be provided and pass on the charge accordingly.

Yes, this could happen again.

I don't know whether other mobile providers offer the option of "opting out" of all premium rate text services in your account.

 

AlexKid :-)

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Superuser
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Message 3 of 10
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Re: Premium Texts


munchieblue wrote:

After a very long discussion, Virgin Mobile have credited my account for £9.00 for 3 premium texts. They then went onto explain this was a "one and only credit" and any further texts, I would be required to claim back from the company directly?

I requested for a block on all premium texts on my account, as this is not a service I want or need, but was told this was not possible??

  • Why is it allowed for a "marketing" company to find my number and send me texts I have to pay for?
  • I dont really understand that question. Phone numbers are usually a matter of public record and easy to guess. Dishonest companies can just fire off texts to a couple of hundred numbers at a go. Some will be delivered, some wont. In 99% of those cases they dont KNOW its your number, they dont even know its a number.
  • Why do Virgin mobile just pass on the charges automatically?
  • Because they have to. Under international GSM agreements, the receiving network (in this case VM) pay the originating network automatically.  So then they bill you.
  • Why can't Virgin mobile just block all premium texts?
  • They will cheerfully block outgoing premium services if you ask. Incoming they cant, see answer above.
  • Can this happen again from another "marketing" company?
  • Yes
  • Do other mobile providers have a service for opting out of premium texts?
  • See answer above

Although Virgin have credited my account I feel the statement of "a one and only credit" as more of a threat with no real options of stopping further abuse/fraud/harassment of my account.

This is an area of contention between most consumers who have experienced the issue and ALL mobile phone providers. They can block outgoing premium services, but texts in particular are problematic because of international GSM agreements- the basis of the global network.  They are cheap to send, can be mass sent and difficult for the receiving network to block.  Which is why they are a favourite tool of scammers. Until the GSM agreements are changed to allow some sort of bar on INCOMING messages there is little the receiving networks can do.

You can TRY complaining to phonepayplus, the industry regulator but to be truthful, they seem as powerless as the networks.

 


 


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munchieblue
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Re: Premium Texts

Thank you for you full explanation.

What I still don't understand is why Mobile Companies are not actively campaigning for changes to the rules? 

I see no evidence from Virgin Mobile of keeping a banned list which users could opt for. I know this wouldn't be 100% perfect but this could be easily updated as new numbers are received. The chances of receiving an unwanted text would be dramatically reduced. 

Do Virgin want to reduce this unethical behaviour or put their head in the sand? 

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Enceladus1
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Message 5 of 10
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Re: Premium Texts

The EE forum suggests that EE can block reverse charge/premium rate SMS messages, however you have to phone in and ask. This is known as a "Charge to account bar" and "Premium SMS bar". The below is from the EE help pages. This begs the question why can't or won't Virgin Mobile do the same?

"If you want to stop receiving chargeable text messages from third parties (not Orange), get in touch with us and we can ensure that you stop receiving them. However, by barring these chargeable text messages you may still receive non-chargeable ones."

A quick Google suggests that Three, Vodafone and O2 can also block, if requested. Below is from Vodafone.

"3) Premium rate SMS bar - The Bar will block all incoming Premium Rate charged SMS messages being sent from and coming to your phone, and as such you won’t be able to use any kind of Premium SMS service. Television voting, polls, competitions and any other kind of offers which say “Text EXAMPLE to 00000″ will no longer work on your mobile. Just Text Giving (the charity donation system won't work either). It won’t stop WAP push messages or MMS from reaching your mobile, but these aren’t normally chargeable anyway unless you follow the links within them. To apply the bar contact us here and we'll get it added."

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Superuser
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Message 6 of 10
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Re: Premium Texts

I could well be wrong but I thought that only blocked the ones that abide by the rules and came from on-shore. Kind of like the TPS

The wrinkle the scammers exploit is the fact that texts originating outside the UK come in under GSM rules so are automatically charged. Ones that come from the company's that abide by the rules will be easy to stop, just text "STOP" to the number. They are also fairly easy to get refunded, either by the provider or phonepayplus

Like I say, I could be wrong

 

 

 

 


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Enceladus1
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Message 7 of 10
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Re: Premium Texts

Presumably such offshore origin, or onshore origin but outlaw, messages would be covered by the "Charge to account bar" even if delivered? However the bar seems to be all or nothing, all such chargeable messages are blocked even if they are legitimate.

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munchieblue
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Re: Premium Texts

Not sure how these forums work but I assume Virgin mobile staff do answer some questions.

Why can't Virgin mobile keep a banned list for users to opt into?

After my previous experience I may swap networks to a more forward thinking company.

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munchieblue
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Message 9 of 10
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Re: Premium Texts

Bump

"Why can't Virgin Mobile keep a banned list?"

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Forum Team
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Message 10 of 10
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Re: Premium Texts

Hi munchieblue

Thanks for your message - I'm glad you've now been refunded for the premium SMS texts.

I regret we're not currently able to block premium messages at a network level, however you should only receive these texts after signing up to a subscription either online or via an outbound text.

If you feel you're receiving premium texts that you did not agree to, we'd always recommend contacting the company responsible in the first instance.

Should you not be able to resolve things, you can get some further assistance from the regulator of this type of service PhonepayPlus.

Please let us know if we can offer further assistance with this.

Many thanks

Mark Y
Forum Team

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