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So, am I Naïve or is there a scam going on that NOT everyone knows about yet?

My son has a phone with him, he receives text messages and ignores them, possibly deletes them.  End of the month, I see $50 in charges for I don’t know what.  I call VW and ask for an explanation, not knowing what it was about and assumed my kids did something wrong that I’ll be responsible for.  Apparently, no, they didn’t even need to be involved for someone to enter MY cell phone number on a web site and for one of my phones to start receiving “Premium Services”.  Please check them out but DON’T give them any information.  This is a scam.  Consider this fair warning.

So, whether or not this can be proven, and it can, a few of the sites clearly state text STOP and they will stop billing you for the AUTOMATICALLY renewing monthly charges then get “conveniently” billed to you cell phone.  And, you can get a refund within 30 (or some number of) days after “signing up.”  I was told by VERIZON WIRELESS who was billing me through them, how it was started, how to stop it via texting STOP to the culprits, what web sites were involved and even phone numbers.  I was also told to BLOCK “Premium Services” right after I STOP and verify the STOP took place.

OK, before going too far I needed to get my hands on the cell phone, send STOP to 5 different services, and 2 used the same code.  Then BLOCK all Services that weren’t specifically required.  I can block texting, “Premium Services”, ringtone downloads, etc. but of course I never thought some of these services existed nor would I want them but they are ALLOWED by default apparently.

This is where it gets ugly…

I thought I would be able to rectify by asking my son why he did this AND by calling support for these web sites.  First, he said he never heard of the sites and never accepted any charges.  OK, so I believe him.  If I don’t believe him, at least I know he doesn’t want the services since he certainly doesn’t want to pay for them  So now I call the number on one site and get put on hold for 20 minutes before the automated service finally asks me to leave a bunch of information and they will eventually return my call.  Not happening.  Next number, “We don’t handle service for those companies any longer.”  But, I can give you a number to call and I can even alert all of the other companies that we DON’T support so they can make proper arrangements.  Great, but still nothing solid.  No more phone numbers to call since no one answered.  So then I sent e-mail to each of these companies explaining that the charges were fraudulent and not accepted by me or anyone with authority to do so.  One sent me a reply that I would receive a refund within 3 weeks.  Again, not good enough.  One sent a response that they are aware of the issue and gave me what appears to be a service ticket market Priority: Medium.

Final play

So when I call Verizon Wireless to let them know we’ve been scammed, the response was less than satisfying.  I was told to pay the $50 in FRAUDULENT fees because VW already paid the vendors.  Oops, their bad.  So I ended with a monthly bill about $50 out of whack that won’t get paid.  I explained that I won’t pay and that they can send me a new bill or turn off my service, but they won’t get another dime for their own mistake.  This long conversation brought me to a wall quickly with no alternatives.  No name, no Manager, no resolution, no new bill, no dropped FRAUDULENT charges, no resolution whatsoever.

Have you ever heard of a credit card company doing this???  I don’t use my cell phone as a credit card.  Yes browsing, yes e-mail, yes phone calls, and sometimes, rarely for SMS Text messages.

Are there any good lawyers out there who need something to do?  Trust me, I’m not interested in the money.  I would like to keep mine, pay what I owe, and would have enjoyed my free or work time back, but I would just like VW to learn from there mistakes and make this right.

Now for the culprits and what to avoid:

Don’t visit any of these sites if you can avoid them.  They are all a scam:

NameURLNotes:
SOLOWwww.solow.com 
Deal or No Dealdealornodealchallenge.comMUTE before you visit
mobile funstermobilefunster.com 
Mobile horoscopeswww.themobilehoroscopes.com 

 

Also, look for the MyServices section of your Verizon Wireless account:

Under “I Want To…”  Go to PLAN, then Change Features.  Way down at the bottom select “Service Blocks

It’s all self-explanatory, but ask VW if you don’t know what these mean.  Following this suggestion could save you $$$ and lots of time and aggravation.  If someone can comment on other Fraudulent Sites or how to avoid these scams through other mobile carriers, please do so.